Making time for service

I recently read a great blog post by ProfHacker called On Being Busy that essentially says we faculty members should try to make time to serve on various committees, and not rely on the old excuse of being “too busy”.  He argues that participating in university governance is really of service to both the university and ourselves.  Coincidentally, shortly after that my dept. chair asked if I would serve on the Arts and Science Council for the remainder of the school year, to fill in for a colleague.  I was happy to oblige, and have just returned from my first meeting. It was short, and not too contentious, but I can tell already that my participation will be quite a learning experience.  There are discussions on budgets, curriculum, new programs, and many other topics that concern a large number of faculty and students (Arts and Science has over 21,000 full-time undergraduate students, over 3,600 graduate students, and 930 faculty), and I find it quite interesting.  I also serve on the teaching stream committee for our university’s faculty association, as well as several departmental committees, and have learned a lot from them as well.  Yes, there are times when I really do feel like I am “too busy” and yes, I continually struggle with balancing the demands of my job with making sure I make time to enjoy the other parts of my life, but I encourage all faculty to consider getting involved in governance.  It’s too easy (as I admit I have done in the past) to focus on more immediate priorities.  Try to make time for some of the bigger picture issues, as well all need to contribute to governance at various levels, and I have a feeling you’ll find it rewarding.

Starting a conversation on GIS and teaching

I have been thinking about starting a blog for a long time and have finally taken the plunge.  Why?  I’m sure like many other bloggers, I have gotten to a point where I feel like I might have something useful to say, and want to reach out to others who have similar interests.  What interests, you may ask?  Mainly, I want this to be a place where I can share my passion for teaching geographic information systems (GIS).  Topics may include how I teach a particular GIS topic, how I use technology in my job, and issues related to higher education in general.  I also plan to add content this site to help those interested in learning about GIS.   I hope you find this interesting and useful, and look forward to many lively conversations!