Thank you Arizona State University

Leigh in front of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers CollegeOn August 15th I started my position as a Clinical Associate Faculty member with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.  I am very thankful that I’m able to continue living in Michigan as a “remote” employee.  Having taught online previously, I’m very comfortable “living online” but, I know that there is still value in a physical presence and grounding. I feel very lucky that as part of my employment, I’m able to visit ASU a few times a semester. I returned from my first visit just under a week ago – and I came back energized and excited by the possibilities this new position will offer. My primary responsibility will be teaching with the Educational Leadership and Innovation EdD program.  I also serve on the program committee.  This fall I’m teaching TEL 703- Innovation in Teaching and Learning , TEL 707 – Reading the Research, and TEL 713 – Advanced Qualitative Methods. The curriculum for the program was developed collaboratively and I’m beyond elated to be returning to teaching.  The minute I opened up the course and with every email received, assignment submitted and zoom session completed my heart is filling with passion and joy. In addition to my work in the EdD program, I’m also a faculty fellow with the Office of Scholarship and Innovation – where I get to collaborate with some familiar faces :)

I started out the semester with a 2 week immersive onsite visit to ASU which gave me tremendous insight into the culture and landscape of my new academic home. (And, as I’ve found out upon my return, completely changed my body chemistry and I love the desert heat more than I thought I would!)  I stayed close to the Tempe campus and was able to take advantage of the tremendous campus shuttles. My meetings were spread across the Tempe, Downtown and West campuses and never once did I have to worry about having a car.

ASU #1 in Innovaton Everywhere you go, you’re reminded that ASU is #1 in innovation.  Those who work in universities are no stranger to the rankings game and we usually take these lists with a grain of salt (and a roll of the eye.) But, it does mean something – and experiencing the physical campus along with the online campus has given me solid evidence to support this accolade.  I was so impressed with the level of student services (in person and online) with the physical accommodations in the buildings and student and community centeredness of what I experienced.   I also experienced this passion as I met my new colleagues and as we were welcomed and challenged by Dr. Crow in his Fall 2018 Faculty and Staff Welcome message, and echoed by Dean Basile, who in her welcome message challenged us to “take beautiful risks, through principled innovation.”

ASU’s charter is as follows:

ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.

Leigh in front of ASU CharterI know this post skews positive, and one could say tinted with rose (or maroon) colored glasses – but I honestly had (and still have) my critical lenses on.  Starting somewhere new after 20 years of experience behind my belt gives me a different (hopefully more experienced and nuanced) outlook on things.  I’m excited to dig in and do the difficult work, to become a member of the ASU community, find ways to improve our service to the communities we serve, to learn more about myself, and to continue to grow as a teacher-scholar.