In my last post, I quoted Frederick Buechner’s thoughts on calling—that it’s “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
And then I asked, “At what point do we acknowledge that the world’s deep hunger has met our deep gladness in a way that is unsustainable, that exhausts us?”
As I said, I’ve been thinking about this exhaustion in the context of teaching, advising, and mentoring. I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before that I have a very low teaching load—a 2/1 (meaning I teach two courses in the fall, one in the spring), and that’s technically an overload because of various pilot programs in which I’ve participated, and because I coordinate the department’s internship program. There have been many times when I haven’t taken course releases, or I could technically have been on a 0/-1. I didn’t think it would look good to have such a low teaching load pre-tenure, so I taught extra courses.
I also had been cautioned by my mentoring committee that I needed to cut back on my service responsibilities. I was, we all acknowledged, headed toward burnout with too much service and overload teaching–and not enough time for research and writing. My calendar was full. Plus, my take-home pay hasn’t been enough to make ends meet. It’s been very stressful. Because I’m an exceptionally high-functioning depressive with a perhaps overdeveloped sense of commitment to others, it’s likely very few of my colleagues or friends noticed I spent much of 2014 in a depressive fog.
Fang knows otherwise.
As longtime readers know, I’ve gone through several rounds of interviews for excellent opportunities in California—program coordinator and director jobs—but none of them worked out. So when a similar position opened up here at Boise State back in September, I applied for it.
Today I signed the offer letter.
On February 2, I’ll be the director of the university’s Instructional Design and Educational Assessment (IDEA) Shop and associate director of its Center for Teaching and Learning. According to the job ad, my primary responsibilities include:
- Providing strategic direction and management for the IDEA Shop, inclusive of both instructional design support and the campus online testing center.
- Coordinating and supporting the professional development of instructors to increase digital fluency and further the pedagogically valuable uses of educational technology
- Advocating for and contributing to a campus vision for excellence in teaching and learning (with a special focus on the integration of technological tools and strategies), moving institutional educational technology projects and initiatives forward.
- Building and sustaining relationships with faculty, department chairs, and deans to facilitate curricular innovation and advocate for research-based practices.
- Partnering with other campus units (for example, Office of Information Technology and e-Campus Center) to explore and support new technologies for educational applications and to provide faculty development for a variety of technology-enabled pedagogies.
I’ll manage a terrific team of instructional designers who help faculty teach more thoughtfully, often with technology. I’m looking forward to being part of a regular team again.
The job pays more than an assistant professorship does, and it’s a 12-month position, so I’ll finally be bringing in a salary on which we can live. And if my tenure application goes through—it’s with the provost now, having passed departmental and college-level reviews—I get to keep tenure and can exercise retreat rights into the History department or into a comparable professional position, depending on circumstances at the time.
I’m excited to get started.