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Big Move #2: Does a faculty member need to live near his university?

I said in my previous post that I had a second big move to announce. Well, it’s now official. Starting in August I will be a faculty member at the University of Kentucky (UK). Here’s the quick back story (and why you should care about this move of mine).

November 2010. I get a phone call from UK. My colleague, Dr. John Nash, and I are officially targeted by the UK President, Provost, and Dean of the College of Education to be faculty members at UK. Not an open search; a targeted search (i.e., they want us and only us). Wow. Wasn’t expecting that!

December 2010. We go to Lexington with our wives to check out the university and the community. We’re given the red carpet treatment throughout by the Department of Educational Leadership Studies, including meeting with all of the aforementioned folks and the state Commissioner of Education (who happens to be a LeaderTalk blogger!). We’re suitably impressed with the support and vision these folks have around P-12 technology leadership. Plus we’ll get to work with Drs. Justin Bathon and Jayson Richardson, 2 of the other 6 to 8 faculty nationwide that care about technology leadership issues. Four of us in one place? Incredible!

January 2011. Lots of mental anguish in the McLeod household. The job may be the best professional setup I’ll ever get. But it’s not the right time to move our family from Ames, Iowa. What to do, what to do? Think outside the box! Pitch UK a ‘global worker’ proposal. 90% of my work is online / electronic anyway. Can I remain in Ames and fly to Lexington a few days a month to take care of the rest? We wait anxiously, fingers and toes crossed. UK says YES!

February 2011. A few logistical and contract things to work out. The job offer is signed; John signs his too. It’s official. We “See Blue!

Okay, why do you care about this?

Well, for one thing, I’m walking my talk. This is an unusual setup for a tenured faculty member at a traditional (i.e., not wholly online) university. I’ve repeatedly said that knowledge workers are increasingly able to work for anyone from anywhere. Apparently I now get to live that statement.

More important, however, is this: For the first time ever, we’ve now got a critical mass of faculty in one place who care about the leadership side of school technology. The biggest limit to CASTLE’s impact and expansion has been the small numbers of people associated with the center. We now have four (4! I can’t believe it!) full-time faculty, all at the same institution, all focused in the same direction. We’re going to be the Skunk Works of tech leadership! With the support and vision that we have from the folks above us at UK and in the state department, the possibilities are nearly limitless.

The first beneficiary of the move? Our School Technology Leadership classes. Up and running in Spring 2012 (hopefully). 15 credits of wholly online awesomeness, aligned to the NETS-A, available to anyone who cares about technology leadership. Possibilities for a graduate certificate, Master’s, and/or Ph.D. in School Tech Leadership. Interested? Sign up here.

So that’s the story. More to come in the months ahead. Until then, it’s time for me to actually start writing for BigThink about technology, leadership, and schools rather than myself.

Let the games begin!

Image credit:University of Kentucky


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