Those readers who’ve been redirected to this site from my old blog (Change of Basis), which I maintained fairly regularly on Blogger, are likely familiar with both my background and the history of my internet ramblings on higher education. For the newbies, here’s a quick introduction that should suffice for now:
I’m a mathematician by training, and for the past eleven years I’ve taught at a public liberal arts university in the Southeast United States. In that time, besides conducting a good deal of research in graph theory, group theory, and combinatorics, I’ve developed interest and expertise in composition and rhetoric, with specific emphasis on writing and writing instruction in the quantitative disciplines. I’ve also worked hard to design a number of student-centered courses and pedagogies. I’ve written extensively about all of this on the old blog, a forum originally dedicated to the change in one’s academic “basis” that occurs when one adopts more inquiry-based and writing-intensive teaching practices.
I’ve written less, however, about all that’s gone on since I became director of my university’s honors program, a position that’s given me not only a good deal of experience in academic administration and all of its concomitant responsibilities but also a much broader perspective on higher ed, one which comprises not just instruction but curricular development, admissions, diversity issues, community engagement, faculty recruitment, fundraising, etc. It’s also given me the chance to teach outside, often waaaaaaay outside, of my home discipline. I’ve now taught courses on origami, creative writing, cultivating global citizenship, service learning and community engagement, and nothing in particular (What’s the Big Idea?, an Honors special topics seminar run in Fall 2015), and I’m looking forward to this coming fall’s voting theory course, into which I’ll infuse not only mathematical ideas but also elements of political science and philosophy.
Given all that I’ve been up to the last few years, I’ve had no shortage of stuff to write about, but a continual shortage of time in which to write. However, I very much miss the opportunity for reflection that this blog brings me and the feeling of liberation that comes from the open sharing of my ideas on teaching and the feedback I receive from readers (who are often my students and colleagues).
Thus, I’m getting back in the saddle…but I’m not doing it alone: although I will make every attempt to write here regularly (starting tomorrow with a longish piece I wrote last night in response to an in-class conversation on the future of the Honors Program), I will also be reaching out to colleagues, current and former students, and community partners, inviting them to contribute to this blog as guests. I hope that the diversity of voices that will appear here will make for not only more regular reading but also more refreshing reading: I can’t tell you how easily I get tired of my own voice.
So, please stay tuned, and look forward to future posts on equity, elitism, admission, advising, retention, resources, co-curricular activities, community building, leadership, learning outcomes, diversity, inclusion, interdisciplinarity, service learning and community engagement, autonomy, authorship, undergraduate research, student-centered pedagogy, high-impact practices, economics, endowment, alumni relations, conferences, intersectionality, social institutions, poetry, prose, reflection, meditation, and mindfulness, among many other topics, all as they relate to higher education.
As ever, I am open to any sort of feedback. In particular, if there’s something you’d like to read about, please leave me a comment. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to writing here again, and I thank you for your time and attention.