Monday, July 25, 2005

Why is blogging harder in the summer?

I'm not exactly sure why finding time to blog in the summer is harder, but it seems to be. There is plenty to write about - most recently a family reunion in New Hampshire - but seems to be less time to write. Possibly it is because I am trying to end the workday earlier, getting out of the office by 9 PM,

Here is a tribute I wrote to AU Professor Lyn Stallings, who recently concluded a three year tenure as Associate Director for Teaching Learning Services of the Center for Teaching Excellence. As my comments suggest, she is the math teacher every student would love to have.

When the time came to appoint a faculty administrator as Associate CTE Director, three years ago, there was one obvious choice, Lyn Stallings. She was, very simply, the best mathematics teacher I had ever encountered, and remains so. Her skills as an administrator were respected throughout the university. She was beginning to stake out a position of national leadership in the field of assessment, which was at the heart of new initiatives in accreditation standards and the measurement of teaching-learning performance.

Lyn brought a wealth of experience, maturity and wisdom, plus ‘outside the box’ creativity to our three year CTE partnership. She organized CTE’s Teaching and Learning Resources Group. She created a context of faculty ownership that revitalized the Ann Ferren Teaching Conference and the Greenberg Seminar Program. She oversaw the growth in Blackboard utilization from 25 per-cent to more than 80 per-cent. She deftly orchestrated a year-long collegial process that produced a new Student Evaluation of Teaching instrument and won Faculty Senate approval for its pilot testing. She helped manage the nearly seamless upgrade from Blackboard version 5.7 to version 6.2. She ensured that faculty points of view were always fully represented in CTE decision making. She effectively presented CTE and her own scholarly research to a wide scholarly community outside of AU.

Throughout her tenure, however, Lyn remained a quintessential faculty-administrator. While actively participating in CTE and its agendas, she continued to sustain an active role in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the College of Arts and Sciences and University-wide activities. She played a key leadership role in an important University priority, the Task Force on Assessment. She remained a forceful advocate not only for her department but for the College of Arts and Sciences, reminding me periodically of its centrality to AU, when my professional school background appeared to be leading me astray.

I always knew that at some point, Lyn would return to her first love: full-time teaching and scholarly research. Her deep understanding of what it means to be a teacher-scholar and her commitment to that role as a lifetime calling provided the rock-solid foundation for her contributions as CTE Associate Director. And they meant that our partnership would be, alas, too short.

We celebrate Lyn’s return to a full time faculty role, but the customary “Lyn will be missed” falls far short of conveying how much her CTE colleagues will miss her.



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