I’m what is called an Alternate Academic, which I understand to mean someone with a Ph.D. or other terminal degree who has chosen a different path in Higher Education rather than a traditional faculty position. My Ph.D. (University of Virginia, 1998) is in German Languages and Literatures. I enjoyed teaching German language and literature — one really rewarding course was the production of a play in German for majors — for over a dozen years.
While in graduate school I became interested in instructional technology specific to language learning. Upon completing my Ph.D., I took a hybrid position as Assistant Director of Foreign Language Media Services and as German faculty at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Subsequently I became Coordinator of the Language Resource Center and (sometimes) adjunct faculty in German at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. These positions provided me with unique opportunities to have one foot in the classroom and one in instructional technology. Later I went on to become more of a generalist in instructional technology, and I am currently the Senior Director of Instructional Technology and User Services in University Technology at Drew University. (Please see my cv for more details.)
In January 2013, I received a Graduate Certificate in Training and Educational Technology in the Educational Training and Leadership Program at George Washington University. I recommend this program, its excellent faculty and the high quality of courses. Each of the six courses in the program fit almost perfectly with what I was doing at my day job at the time. The synergy of spending these hours outside of work-time on this coursework brought my expertise and understanding of my job to a higher level.
A fundamental principle in my work – and my life outside of work – is to make intentional choices about how, when, and why I spend time in front of a computer or other device. I encourage others to do the same. Technology is a great set of tools that should be chosen wisely for the benefit of teaching, learning and academic research, as well as our lives in general, and I believe these tools are best chosen mindfully.