Now I'm taking a breath (no financial pressure to get right back to full-time work) and considering three main options for what I might do next:
- Return to being a program officer, something I did pretty well for almost 20 years with FIPSE and with Annenberg/CPB. I like spotting great ideas, and nurturing them. You can advance lots more good ideas and people as a program officer than if you're doing just your own projects. I'm especially interested in strategies for major increases in the use of proven educational practices and innovations. Gladwell's The Tipping Point is analogous to the kind of research-based approach to dissemination and adaptation that I'd like to seek out and support.
- Do just my own projects: research on dissemination and adaptation of academic innovations, building perhaps on my recent research on how faculty adopted open source software from iCampus; evaluation of grant-funded projects; evaluation consulting and training; continuing to teach perhaps one course at a time, online. Continue to write about patterns that I see in innovations and problems across institutions. Work with an association? Prof. at an institution?
- Get a position in a teaching center or faculty support unit on a campus. I'd like to help engage much larger numbers of faculty and promote incremental, continual improvements in teaching. For example, I'm working on a set of ideas for teaching diverse classes in ways made possible, or made easier, with technology. As my recent article describes, I'd also like to help focus institutional support for those degree programs that are unusually motivated to make well-documented, influential improvements in their learning outcomes.
Obviously, I can't do all these things. There are two other things I know that should help me figure things out:
- I want to be part of a team, and the character, wisdom, and good humor of those people matter to me more than almost anything else.
- I don't intend to move from Silver Spring, MD, but I like travel and am willing to spend lots of time on the road, either visiting places or, if my institution or association is distant from DC, staying in that city several nights a week.
So my friends, and friends of my friends, any pointers?