I’ve now been an Assistant Vice President and Deputy CIO for just over a month. In some ways, it feels like no time has passed at all. In other ways, it feels like it’s been forever. Continue reading The first month
I have just a few weeks left at Drew. One of the things I keep realizing about this transition is that it’s something I’ve never done before:
Firmly in uncharted territory now.
— Mike Richichi (@chairthrower) February 22, 2016
But I had forgotten something when I tweeted this: As a child, I moved three times before I graduated high school, and my parents moved an additional time right after my graduation, and another time 2 years later while I was in college. As an adult I have moved to a new domicile 4 or 5 times as well. So I do have some experience with transitions, they’re just more personal than professional.
Every time I’ve moved, there would always come a point in the move–usually when the movers had packed everything up and the house was filled with nothing but the clutter of the move–when I didn’t want to be there anymore. There was something about that trigger that made my mind say “Yes, now, it’s time.”
I’m starting to feel that, but it’s not because I’ve physically packed up my office (I’m going to start that soon) but because I’m “packing up” my job. I’m making sure I’m giving things to other people to take on, deliberately not taking on most new things, watching as the organization makes the first steps into doing things without me. Soon, my job itself will be nothing but a cluttered house, empty except for the pieces that are too unimportant to deal with.
And that is when I will be completely ready to go.
None of this means I won’t miss the place or the people. Of course I will, and it will be very hard. But I’m reminded that there’s something about the nature of transitions that readies you for the next step, just in time for when you need it.
I’ve accepted the position of Assistant Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Officer at CUNY Baruch College. I start in April.
I’ve just passed my 23rd anniversary of working at Drew. At this point working at Drew will likely be more than half of my professional career, which was one of the many reasons I think I realized I had to take on a new position, so I could understand all the things you can only understand if you have worked in multiple places.
My new position will provide me a higher profile role, a larger staff to manage, a place at the table making institution-wide decisions, a chance to be an important part of a larger organization (not just Baruch but the entire CUNY system). I’m already digging into some of the new challenges and opportunities I will have. Sure, the commute will be a little more intense, but I’m hoping my “train time” will be productive–whether it’s a little extra sleep, a chance to do work, or even time spent recreationally on the computer so I can focus on my home life when I do get home. And I get a built in hour or so of walking every day, which means even on days I don’t get to the gym or out for a run (and I’ll be able to run along the East River Greenway) I’ll still be getting my daily exercise.
Of course, I will miss my friends and colleagues at Drew very much. However, as an alumnus of the institution, I will be around. I’m also still a 10-minute drive away, so hopefully I’ll get to visit frequently enough. In fact, it will be great to be connected to Drew “just” as an alumnus instead of “an alumnus and administrator.”
I’m looking forward to my new adventure. I’m going to learn so much and grow a lot as a person. Most importantly, I think I’m really going to be able to make a difference at my new institution.
Here’s to the future!
I’ve been in higher education for nearly 25 years now, and I’m finally doing something I’ve never done before.
Teaching a college course.
One thing I forgot to mention about Wednesday is that a few weeks before the conference I got an email from a video producer for EdTech Magazine (published by CDW) asking if I wanted to be interviewed for videos they were making about EDUCAUSE. I figured the only right answer to that question was “sure!” so I said yes. I got a call sheet with several questions on it and a warning that they would not have hair and makeup on site so to arrive camera ready. A few extra brushes of the hair, and a good shave were thus necessities in the morning.
I’ve been home for a while now and it’s a good time to collect my thoughts and musings about the conference. Continue reading EDUCAUSE 2015–Part 1
You’ll hear people talk about them a lot. People should be mentors. People should have mentors. People should both have and be a mentor.
I not only have a mentor, I have several people who I think of as mentors. Some are people I’ve worked with in one fashion or another. Some are colleagues I’ve known for a long time. Some are in the same phase of their career that I am; some are one or two steps ahead of me. All are people whose opinions I respect and value; and have been more than gracious with their time. In some cases, I’d like to think we’ve mentored each other. While I have a lot of professional relationships, not all of those people are ones I consider mentors. My mentors have given me professional advice, not just on a technical topic, but on the nuances of leadership. They’ve allowed me to speak confidentially. They’ve helped keep my career on track.
If I only had one mentor, I’d be missing out on a world of benefit. Here’s some reasons why you want to have many mentors:
I wrote an article on my more personal blog (which I’ve used in fits and starts over the years) about how the gadgets my dad brought into the house growing up shaped my sensibilities about technology. I link to it here because it’s a bit of an “origin story” for my professional career, and it’s an interesting journey into some older computing and electronics technology (which especially for people younger than me will seem irresistibly foreign and exotic).
I think we are shaped by the technologies we’re exposed to in ways we don’t fully understand. It’s probably valuable to reflect upon the tools you have used, and how they affect how you attack problems these days. Both to take stock of what your experience brings to you, and what you might perhaps need to discard to move forward.
I’m inspired today by an offhand comment by the famous (in our circles) Bryan Alexander, who is a frequent keynote and guest speaker at conferences all over the world, and has a lot of stunning and evocative things to say about not just higher education information technology, but the state and future of higher education in general. If you’re not familiar with his work go check out his blogs and articles. Even if you don’t agree with them he will get your brain moving.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that an offhand comment on his Facebook got me thinking:
“I’m fascinated by how conference A/V is still flawed and failure-prone, everywhere.“
In my previous post about EDUCAUSE, I mentioned that I needed a new bag instead of my very heavy and unwieldy Samsonite leather laptop attache I’d been using, and that I was down to either a Tom Bihn bag and a Timbuk2 bag.
Well, I ended up getting a Timbuk2 Command Messenger TSA Laptop bag in black. Medium.
It’s really good. I’m still finding pockets in it. I just noticed a few days ago a zipper that led to a pocket near the bottom of the bag–would probably work well for a compact umbrella. It’s got tons of organizer pockets but they somehow don’t get in the way either. The main big compartment seems almost big enough to put a weekend’s worth of clothes in, for the right weekend. The shoulder strap is super comfortable and wearing it messenger style works.
The laptop compartment is basically awesome. It has a large part which can easily fit a 15″ laptop, and fits my 12.1″ ThinkPad Yoga very well. The compartment also has another pocket for a tablet, which I use to put my Nexus 10 (and sometimes Nexus 7) into as well. The whole thing unzips from the main case to lie flat for TSA purposes, which I got to check on our trip back from Oklahoma this Christmas (oddly, on the way down they didn’t have us take anything out of our bags or lie them flat–they didn’t have any bins at the TSA checkpoint and were just running things through intact.) It’s filled with this cool foam that is more like webbing, lined with nylon mesh. It is super cushy and super comfortable. There’s also the Napoleon pocket which you can jam all the stuff from your pockets into when going through airport security, which is great because then you can just pull it all back out as well and it doesn’t get mixed in with your other stuff.
The bag is at least 3 pounds lighter than my old leather attache and is so much more comfortable to carry it’s not even funny (I think I messed up my knee carrying my old bag around EDUCAUSE and it’s just getting better.)
I’m sure a Tom Bihn would also have been a great choice. My only complaint about the Timbuk2 is is’t not an elegant bag. I mean , it looks good, but it’s decidedly geeky. I almost got the Proof bag but I decided to save the money in the end.
At any rate, I’ve been using it for work and for air travel at this point and I keep being impressed with its capabilities, so I can recommend it. I’ll have some more travel this year and I’ll check back in on its performance and capabilities then.