Sunday, September 21, 2008

Travelblogging from Atlanta 1.0

Arrived here in Georgia after an uneventful flight. I've had some great conversations so far about curriculum development and collaborating across disciplines, and what kinds of teaching strategies my colleagues have employed over the years.

Also had a great conversation with the Director of Academic Affairs at my school about teaching full time the last 7 years with 6 of those engaged in doctoral study. I taught 5 classes each day, and two nights a week (with the exception of 1 semester) took graduate seminars.

Some background: I finished an MA in history in May 2001, and began teaching full time in August 2001. I spent 2002-05 taking courses and then essentially writing the dissertation since March 2007, when I took my final research excursion to New England.

The short of it is that it has been an amazingly rich time of interplay between teaching and research/writing. In the conversation earlier today I recounted how I bring teaching questions now to my archival research (or participant-observation)--essentially thinking about how I could teach using primary documents--and while I think of course about content, argument, structure, etc. with my writing, I also think deeply about communicating ideas--in other words, does my writing pass the muster of the scholarly guild and can one of my sophomore students pick it up, read it, and at least get the main arguments and structure? And of course the use of technology has been an ever present tool in the mix of it all. Such a schedule--teaching and going to school in the midst of a growing family--is insanely busy (how thankful I am for a patient and understanding wife!), but has been profoundly transforming and intellectually stimulating.

All these thoughts and observations come flooding back amidst the course of the conversations I had today. I anticipate it will continue tomorrow during the PLP seminar.

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