Texas Addendum 1

I learned something else in Texas, but also on the way there and back.  The other NIC faculty members that received awards and that are featured in this NIC  Press Release, are people who can be justly proud of their achievements.  I was honoured to stand among them during the Awards Ceremonies and to share meals and time with them when we weren’t involved in ‘official awards business.’  I worked (and travelled lately) with a bunch of dedicated, caring, hardworking and quirky people.  Quirkiness is a very positive character attribute in my mind.  To be quirky means to leave the rules of the game on the sidelines when it’s appropriate.  It means doing things tangentially sometimes or obliquely, avoiding the frontal, rulebook approach to practice and behaviour.  Rules are made to be broken as long as a greater ‘care’ is to be achieved.  I can say that many of my colleagues put students first.  If that makes them quirky, well, we need to celebrate that.  The NISOD celebration of excellence and the conference in Austin are a celebration of quirkiness.  I shared a room with 1200 other quirky people last week.  I’m happy to be counted among them.

Texas here we come

So, an award was bestowed upon me.  I will be attending the NISOD conference (http://www.nisod.org/conference/) to receive an Excellence award.  I was chosen along with four other members of North Island College’s staff and faculty for this distinguished award.  I first thought of it as a teaching award, but it’s for more than my classroom activity.  I’ve been very active over the years in community organizations and in community-based research.  I also sat on the college board for seven years, chaired my department for several years, was part of the dean’s advisory committee and I spent some time on the Education Management Committee (when it existed).  Wherever you looked, I was there.  Frankly, I wasn’t always welcome where I was.  I was also the first president of the NIC faculty association.  It was very tense when we organized in the early 90s, and the president at that time was eventually gracious in accepting our presence on campus.  Still, there was no shortage of controversy.  One thing that always rankled the administration was the fact that there was a faculty member on the Board.  It was a source of constant conflict as the administration and community members of the board insisted that I was always in conflict of interest.  Nasty things were said, the tension was palpable at times,  but I survived.  And now I’m retiring.

I am honoured to receive this award.  It means some recognition for the work I’ve put into my classroom, online and interactive television teaching over the past 30 odd years as well as for my other activities at the college and in the community.  I know it’s a bit of a cliché to say so, but many other faculty members at NIC are deserving of this award.  There are some excellent young teachers at the college who should be in line for this award.  As I said, I am honoured to receive this award, but it would be nice if younger faculty members got the award and were able to attend the annual conference in Austin, Texas.  They could then share some of their new-found knowledge with other members of the college community.  There should be an award for old farts like me, but more like the one they give out at the Oscars for lifelong contribution to filmmaking.

So, we’re off to Texas.  I’ll try to get a blog post out while I’m there, maybe a commentary on the city and the conference.  Why not?