So I came in today with a vague sense that I should blog more. I think, in part, it was seeing that “August 1” by my last post. Which itself was only a conference session recap post.
It’s odd – I used to get into periods where I wasn’t blogging and feel stressed and guilty for reasons that don’t really apply anymore. I don’t have to worry so much about dropping out of people’s regular reading rotation; nowadays, I can post every three months and thanks to the magic of twitter or Facebook or tumblr still be pretty sure people will see it.
But I’ve never really liked it when every post becomes a Thing. It puts a lot of pressure on each post to be a Thing, for one, and that’s not really something I can live up to. But most of all, I’ve always felt that when I am not writing here, it means I’m not reading enough or, more to the point, not thinking enough, and there’s a real danger of that this term.
My Instapaper is already at ridiculous levels, and looking forward I’m heading into that kind of period where I’m so busy getting things done that I don’t take the time to think about them. And I don’t know about you, but that never works out too well for me. So somehow I have to figure out a way to balance the thinking and the reading and the creating all together — and I have a vague feeling that that all works better when I use this platform to share.
So here’s what I’ll be thinking about for the next several months:
January – I’m chairing a search committee because a deeply cherished colleague has retired. We’ll be doing interviews this month. I’m also serving as an internal reviewer for a program review as a representative of the university’s curriculum committee. It’s my first time doing that, and I think it will be interesting, but time consuming.
February — At the start of February I’ll be at the 34th Annual Conference on the First Year Experience in Dallas. I really enjoy this conference — the content and the other participants. This is my third, and final, trip to this conference as the ACRL liaison to the NRCFYE.
I’m facilitating a discussion on threshold concepts and the new IL framework. This has me a little stressed out, because I haven’t been very active in the larger discussions on that topic to date. This post comes closest, and it’s pretty tangental. I don’t work in an environment where external learning goals or standards get a lot of university-wide traction. The old Standards didn’t shape my work here very directly, and I don’t expect that the new Framework will either. I know this is very different at other institutions — and within many, many FYE programs. So I fully expect an interesting discussion, but I’m not at all sure where it will go.
This conference also presents a prep-dilemma because while many librarians attend and present, and while it offers the potential for a truly diverse audience made up of faculty, librarians, administrators and more — that potential isn’t always realized. Lots of librarian-presented sessions end up with librarian-heavy audiences. And faculty- or administrator-led sessions that could easily be tied to information literacy, which really are about information literacy, rarely make that connection. So because my session specifically invokes infolit and the Framework AND is scheduled for 8 am on the last day of the conference — I have some concerns :)
March — At the end of February and the beginning of March I’m going to England to prep a short-term study abroad course I’d like to teach as part of our FYE program here. I’ve been on the planning group for the FYE seminars since their inception here at OSU, and it’s really grown into a great program that I love being a part of. As I’ve been attending FYE conferences for the last three years, I’ve made a point to go to sessions about FY study abroad programs (like this one at DePaul, or this one at The College of Charleston) and I’m excited to pilot something for us here at OSU. Our International Programs office was just charged with significantly increasing the amount of faculty-led study abroad programs, which connects with some of our instruction program and library strategic goals. So I’m excited to think about this more.
And then, of course, later in March is ACRL in Portland. Which isn’t really a “trip” because I live here, but is something to prepare. I’m doing a panel on evaluation and infolit with Meredith Farkas and Sara Seely, which is a topic I love to think about, but which is still very much in planning mode right now.
April – In April I’m heading back to the University of San Francisco to do workshops with faculty and students in their FYE program. USF librarians and faculty have created a faculty learning community around information literacy that sounds really amazing. This is building on a similar trip last year.
One of the really unique things about this trip last year was the fact that they wanted me to teach student workshops as well as faculty workshops — so that was new and uncertain. And really freaked me out in that “they have great librarians at USF – what could I possibly add?” kind of way. We did sessions on curiosity and exploration that were really awesome and exciting — and which have continued to influence my daily teaching. It was a really wonderful experience.
May — Speaking of freaked out, in early May I’ll be doing a keynote at LOEX. Expect to see many, many thinking sessions on this one worked out here. At this point, I am still skewing hard to the OMG SCARY side about this.
At the end of May, I’ll be going to do a workshop with teaching librarians at the AMICAL conference in Bulgaria. This is a little far out to be thinking about concretely, but something I’m really looking forward to, and which I think will pull together many of the threads from the previous trips and the rest of the year’s thinking.
June — And then finally, I’ll be co-facilitating a pre-conference workshop with Wendy Holliday at ALA. This one is about reflective practice, which is a topic I’m never tired of thinking about. And I couldn’t be more excited to work with Wendy.