Friday, August 26, 2011

Life Changes

The Electronic Girl has been on extended hiatus as I experienced the most hectic and crazy and rewarding and wonderful few months of my life.

The biggest of all these events (if you exclude Brian and I getting married on June 4th) is that I was offered and accepted a position at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. I am now an Assistant Professor of Fiction and New Media, teaching 3 classes each semester at a small liberal arts college whose students are high-testing, high-achieving, very ambitious go-getters, or so say the stats and my first impression of them (as of today I've completed one week of teaching).

For six years I was an Instructor of English at Florida Atlantic University, an enormous state school that still has a large population of non-traditional and commuter students despite the administration's "strategic plan" to chase those students away and replace them with the supple-of-skin and carefree sort that live for football rivalries and Greek weeks.

I'm not a big supporter of that kind of "strateegery," because I believe the mission of public higher eduction should be meritocratically inclusive. After a hospitable environment and nutritious food, education is the key to individual and societal success, and the smart and capable but underserved and non-traditional students need a good place to go to learn without feeling like they're unwelcome.

But one of my life changes seems to be that while I still believe in that mission, I'm no longer a part of it. 12 years ago, when I was first applying to graduate school, my favorite professor warned me: you don't go into academia to choose where you live, or work, or really anything, actually. And he was speaking the absolute truth: we go into this profession knowing that we end up where we end up by the spin of a wheel. Right now I feel like the luckiest woman in the world, because I'm living in a great city, working at a great school, and my first impressions of everything are as positive as can be, even though I could never have predicted landing here.

Look for lots of new work in the coming months, especially to Forking Paths, my branching blog, which will be growing, expanding, and interlinking quite a bit more than in the past year.

It's an exciting time, and now that I'm (mostly) unpacked, I'm ready to jump into it. :)

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