Just when I was getting used to being a tenured, associate professor…
I have agreed to serve my current university, Virginia Commonwealth University, as the Director of Online Academic Programs.1 This is an interim, one year appointment, and I begin, officially, July 25.
As I’ve been talking about this professional move with friends and colleagues, the word that comes up repeatedly is “opportunity.” This is effectively a new position and a new office2 for the university. So, there’s an office and a staff to build. Also, I spent a considerable amount of time in the Spring 2013 semester working as a member of the Strategic Plan Task Force for Online Education. That task force sent a report to the provost that I was proud of and that the provost told me personally was one of the best reports she has read since becoming provost. There are a set of general and strategic recommendations in that report that will need to be implemented, and I will have an opportunity (there’s that word) to work across the university to implement those recommendations.
The most exciting aspect of this position for me is that I will have the opportunity (*ahem*) to work with some incredible people3. I will be working side-by-side with Jeff Nugent who has become a friend and trusted colleague in recent years. Jeff’s leadership of the Strategic Plan Task Force for Online Education was masterful. I have joked that in his capacity as special advisor to the provost, Jeff has become a cat herder and an alligator wrestler. What’s not a joke is how he has done that work with uncommon grace and skill. I really look forward to working with Jeff and in partnership with his colleagues in the Center for Teaching Excellence.
Additionally, Jeff and I will get to work with/for our new Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success, Gardner Campbell. I’ve long admired Gardner’s work as an academic and a technologist. If you haven’t seen Gardner’s keynote presentation from OpenEd this past fall, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Jeff, Gardner and I have already had a few forward-thinking conversations and I’ve walked away from each of those with an extra hop in my step.
Though I haven’t been able to find the actual source, the quote “Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity” is attributed to Henry Hartman. I feel like I have been preparing for this leadership position for a long time and there is lots of support for the Office of Online Education at every level of the university administration. Preparation meets opportunity. Onward.
- Yes, that’s correct, I’ll be the DOAP of VCU. [↩]
- Physically, the office is brand-spanking new. The Office of Online Education is located inside VCU’s newest academic building which formally opens this fall. [↩]
- I should note that I’ve been very fortunate to work with some fantastic colleagues in the Department of Educational Leadership at VCU for the last 6 years. Truly, I will miss working with those folks on a daily basis moving forward. [↩]