What’s next?

Fork in path - geograph.org.uk - 2523137.

Sometime within the next couple of weeks, I will finish all of the remaining documentation, attend my final set of meetings, and sit down for a long and candid conversation with the incoming STEM Director — and officially transition out of that position. And at the end of the academic year, I will also step down from directing the Summer Science Fellows program, a program I’ve led since 2017.

For the first time in literally years, I will not hold a formal leadership position on campus.

Naturally, the number one question people ask when I run into them on campus is some variation of “So, what’s next?”

My official answer is “I have no idea.” Which is partially true. I don’t have specific plans at this point to pursue a specific type of position, or step immediately onto another path, although I do have plenty of things to fill that space in the interim. I serve on the faculty promotion and tenure committee through 2023-24, which will keep me plenty busy between now and then. I was tapped as a community advisor to the Community of Belonging Task Force for the Carleton 2033 Strategic Plan process. I’m conducting a meta-assessment of all the department assessment we’ve done over the past decade. And I’m slowly re-immersing myself in the NCWIT Academic Alliance community — I’ll be serving as an Ambassador for new members, something that really excites and energizes me. I won’t exactly be sitting around eating bonbons, but I’ll still have a bit of a breather from the intensity involved in directing programs and initiatives.

My unofficial answer is that I plan to use my freed-up mental space to contemplate some bigger, broader questions, with an eye towards advocacy and/or developing some kind of concrete action plans where applicable. Some of the questions I’m contemplating:

  • What would a computer science program centered on ethics, justice, and civic engagement look like?
  • Is there a scalable way to design student assessment, and courses as a whole, that doesn’t explicitly or implicitly favor previous experience?
  • What does a sustainable faculty workload look like? How can we get there as an institution?
  • How can we more effectively, and systematically, mentor mid-career and senior faculty?

I’m also hoping to write more, both as scholarship and for broader audiences. My civic engagement work, and my current research project, lend themselves to wider dissemination beyond academia, and I want to figure out ways to get those stories out to a wider swath of people. Plus, I really, really enjoy writing, and want to find more ways to work that into my workflow.

I’m excited to start this new chapter, and look forward to seeing what roads emerge.

Image credit: Fork in path by michael, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


One thought on “What’s next?

  1. Pingback: Reflecting back on a year without goals | This is what a computer scientist looks like

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