My first writing assignment for the Tambellini Group is to introduce myself to the member community. I wanted to avoid writing a standard, linear narrative about my credentials, professional experience, accomplishments, and interests. Those things are documented on LinkedIn and Twitter. My colleague, Laura Gogia, suggested that I have some fun with the assignment. So, we came up with the idea for me to share things that I have learned over the years. One of those things is that long introductions can drive readers away. So, without further ado…
“I don’t know” is one of the most powerful statements you can make. It tells others that you respect them enough not to make something up, recognizes the limitations of expertise, and creates learning, discovery, and speculation opportunities.
The older I get, the more I appreciate having grown up on a farm.
Learning opportunities are everywhere, even in routines. On my daily walks with the dog, I observe the subtle ways the natural world changes over time.
We devalue the importance of the liberal arts at our peril.
My blue-collar work ethic is both a blessing and a curse. I take considerable pride in my work and always do my best, but I often work too hard, have a tough time saying no, and struggle to quit things that aren’t working out.
I don’t spend time regretting decisions. Every mistake is a learning opportunity that can lead to personal (or professional) growth; indeed, learning requires making mistakes.
I maintain a healthy skepticism and openness to changing my mind. I may contradict myself over time, but I am large and contain multitudes.
I have learned more from living abroad than any other experience. Total immersion in a foreign culture not only teaches you about that culture, but it also teaches you a lot about yourself.
Don’t believe the hype. Always question assumptions, seek evidence of impact, and follow the money.
Technology is only a tool. It is what we do with the technology that makes a difference and foments change.
Trust students. They know more about their lived experiences, what they need, and (more often than not) what works for them better than we do.
My favorite teaching experiences were the riskiest ones. Faculty need to be empowered to take risks and to innovate with technology in the classroom.
I love being on stage. I credit my high school speech and debate coaches for this.
Students should be at the center of every technology decision we make. Educating students is the core mission of higher education. Technology choices need to support and enhance the entire student experience.
I am a political scientist by training, but I have been researching information technology in higher education for most of my career. These two things are not unrelated.
I tend to process information and ideas out loud. I have found that this can unnerve some people, especially if they are expecting fully formed ideas.
Pedagogy before technology. Always.
Do things that you enjoy even if you aren’t particularly good at them. I am an average runner, a mediocre curler, and a decent photographer. I will never be great at these things, and that’s okay.
Never forget where you come from. And surround yourself with friends and family who will remind you when you do.
Burning bridges is never a good idea, except for when it is.
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