I have enjoyed seeing various members of the higher education community write about what has happened in their lives over the course of this last decade. I'm inspired to share some of what has transpired in my life these past ten years.
ACADEMIC PROMOTION. I received tenure early in the decade, as well as promotion to associate professor. As we near the end of this ten-year period, I'm applying for full professor. Those of us who submitted our portfolios won't find out until 2020 the results of our applications.
CHILDREN. After more seasons than I feel like counting, we finally were able to have our first child in 2012 – and then two years later, had a second. Our children are one of the absolute joys of my life.
PODCAST. In June of 2014, I started the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, thanks to a lot of nudging from Dave. Nothing has shaped my teaching more than these opportunities to speak to amazing educators from around the world.
LOSSES. Three of my colleagues passed away from cancer during this period. I can still feel the weight of the grief ever-present in our community. Mary Wilson (librarian) introduced me to writers and thinkers who helped me be able to better integrate my politics with my religious beliefs. Sheri Benvenuti had such a powerful blend of humor, grace, and strength. Elizabeth Leonard had a tremendous capacity to find interdisciplinary ways to extend her research on women who had been incarcerated for defending themselves against abusive husbands. She wouldn't hold back in sharing her perspectives on things, but would transition the conversations back to action with her use of the word: nevertheless… Yes, these are the challenges we face, but nevertheless… Then, we would get back to the work.
CHANGE OF FOCUS. I took on an administrative faculty role a few years back: director of teaching excellence and digital pedagogy. Leadership at the time had wanted me to become the institution's director of online learning, but I wasn't interested in a role that targeted only one way of facilitating learning. However, when I shared a broader vision for what role I would like to play at the institution, they decided to change the focus.
PARTNERSHIP. Dave and I have had our relationship continued to grow and evolve. I love watching him as a parent and how well he cares for our kids. I also enjoy that even after almost 15 years of marriage, I still look forward to talking with him about things we're passionate about. Some of those conversations even get recorded on his podcast – Coaching for Leaders Q&A episodes.
SPEAKING. I started doing more keynote speaking and workshops in 2017. I'm thankful for each organization that has trusted me to come in and share stories and inspiration toward better teaching. I even drove through a snowstorm in Nebraska and learned that there are not-one-but-two convention centers in Miami.
WRITING. I also was paid for the first time to write something. EdSurge launched my monthly advice column in 2018. Toward Better Teaching: Office Hours with Bonni Stachowiak helps me connect what I've learned through hosting the podcast and in my own higher ed teaching these past 15 years with my goal of serving others and giving back. I'm also thankful for the opportunity to be guided through all of this by the ever-capable Jeffrey R. Young, senior editor at EdSurge.
PROMOTION. In August of 2019, I became the dean of teaching and learning at Vanguard University. I continue to lead our Institute for Faculty Development, but I am also overseeing the people who lead our library, student success initiatives, and academic resource center. We are just starting to dream together about possibilities, but I can say that there are great things in store as we work to serve our students and faculty even better than we do today.
BOOK. It looks like it probably isn't quite going to happen in this decade, but in early 2020, The Productive Online and Offline Professor will be released. The work that we do as professors is essential, yet there can often be the sense that there just isn't enough time to do all we want to accomplish. This book seeks to identify those areas where we can identify our priorities and focus on the most essential areas to focus on. I also share ways to save time on the seemingly small stuff, to give us greater freedom to be more fully present for our students and other people who are important to us.
Please consider pre-ordering your copy today, so it gets to you right away once it gets released early in the year.
Thanks for joining me in revisiting this past decade with me.
These past few months have brought some fun speaking engagements and presentation opportunities. Here are just a few links to resources from those talks that may be of interest to you:
- Leverage Social Media to Extend and Express Your Teaching and Learning Center's Values, Katie Linder + Bonni Stachowiak at the POD Annual Conference
- Igniting Our Collective Imagination at Sam Houston State University's Teaching and Learning Conference
- Productive Productivity at Sam Houston State University's Teaching and Learning Conference
If any of you have tweeted, blogged, or otherwise shared about what has transpired for you over the last decade, I would love to read your reflections.