Agile Evolution

TL;DR: I’m excited about 2020 – I have a great job and am loving my new city! I got a book contract! I’m starting coaching training! I’m taking a hiatus from regular blogging, but I’ll be posting the occasional worksheet here and sharing my project progress on Twitter.

Happy new year, Agile Faculty. I hope that you are well and had a restful winter break – and that you took the time to actually be on break!

I’ve been studiously avoiding the end-of-decade reflections I see on Twitter and Instagram – not because nothing happened in ten years, but because the last two years of my life feel like a decade in and of themselves. 2018 was hell, seeing myself descend into the lowest points of my burnout and depression. But 2019 was about rising again, putting myself back together, and running toward the person I wanted to be rather than away from who I was. After a semester on medical leave, I left my tenured position to move to a pretty townhouse in Atlanta and started a new chapter as a faculty teaching and learning specialist in the Center for Teaching and Learning at Georgia Tech, a place I never imagined I would be but in the role I’ve wanted for quite a while now.

And I find myself incredibly excited about 2020, and not just because I can finally feel things like excitement and joy again. But instead because I am fully and passionately committed to two major efforts this year:

  1. I’m writing a book…again! My proposal for a book on faculty burnout was accepted, and I am now under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press for Professor Burnout: Identifying, Addressing, and Destigmatizing Faculty Burnout in Higher Education. JHUP is also publishing a collection I co-edited called Redesigning Liberal Education this spring. The burnout book will be a mashup of memoir, peer narrative, primary and secondary research, advice columns, and reflective activities. After unsuccessfully pitching it to two previous publishers, Professor Burnout found a home with a press and editorial director who see the vision and potential power of this work. I’m already working with possible contributors and writing the memoir aspects of the book. Since the organization of the content is so non-traditional, I’ll be jumping around as I go rather than writing each chapter in order which will challenge my typical linear writing process. My submission deadline is December 1st, so I’ll be working on the book for most of 2020.
  2. I’m starting coaching training! I’ve been thinking about doing a Scrum or other type coach certification program for several years now, since I took a three-day Agile coaching mini-training in 2014. I already have a coaching mindset in my work with faculty and Scrum as well as in my day job. I never made the leap because there was no program that made sense for someone who wants to work with faculty – to earn an Agile coaching certification, you have to work in software development and other programs tend toward life coaching which is too woo-woo for me. And then, Dr. Katie Linder, who I consider to be an important mentor in my life, developed the exact training program that I have been looking for. I start on January 21st with the first class.

With those two exciting projects taking priority for me this year, I’m going to be stepping back from blogging regularly here. I’ll still post worksheets on the second Wednesday of every month and possibly some updates on my writing and training. Mostly I’ll be doing that on Twitter, so if you want to follow along (and maybe get some free coaching!), I’m @RPR_Agile.

Thank you for following, Agile Faculty. May you have a 2020 full of productivity, vitality, wellness, and transformation (foreshadowing changes to come…).


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