I have accepted a job at Saint Joseph’s University, to be chair of a new department focusing on digital media. So in the fall I will be an Associate Professor and Chair of the Communications Department at Saint Joseph’s University. I am really excited about this job opportunity, as the “next thing I want to do.” SJU is building a Communications major focused on digital media and social engagement. For me this hits the intersection of two of the things that I am professionally most interested in, coupled with the chance to help build and develop this program this job turns out to be an exciting next move. In many respects I just feel honored that the existing faculty at SJU thought I was the right person for the job. Although making a move to something new can be a bit intimidating, I am really excited to work in this program.
When I was considering taking the job a few people I talked to thought I was crazy, asking why I would want the responsibilities of a chair, why I would want to leave a TT track job at a research institution (where I was just getting tenure) for a smaller institution. Maybe they are right, but I think there is a lot of upside to taking the job as a chair, especially at a liberal arts school that values teaching. More importantly though I really like helping to build things. And while I was weighing whether or not to take this job I looked at academics that I really admire, like Kathleen Fitzpatrick or Dan Cohen, folks who gave up secure tenure track jobs to pursue doing something new and I realized this wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to pass up (to be sure I am not giving up tenure this job comes with tenure). This is a chance to do something new, and focus down on what I really value about higher education: working with students, and empowering them to build a better world.
And so as much as I appreciate the chances and opportunities I had here in EMAC, and as much as I will miss working with the students, in the fall I will be moving to Philly . . .
P.S. That’s actually a photo of the building where my office will be (I think).