There are times in your life when you want so very desperately for something to happen, that you get caught up in the emotion of the moment. This is one of those times. I’ve been quiet on the social media front the second half of this week and I’m sure that it raises a few eyebrows — after all, I’m not what you would call the quiet type. But I’ve been processing the results of the last several interviews for the social media position for which I’ve been competing. As much as we all wanted it to happen, in the end they don’t believe I’m the right fit for the job.
I’ve always maintained that this position could be approached in several ways. I believe community engagement and buy-in is critical, and can be accomplished through the practical application of technology and community engagement. Clearly, I bring these strengths and the value of experience and authenticity to this position. But there’s also the idea of coming at it from a pedagogical point of view and, while it is something that can be learned, I do not have an instructional design background in my current skill set. As the process moved forward, I believe the committee increasingly felt this was more integral to the success of the position than originally envisioned. In their minds, having the theory in place is essential to the needs of the college and to be able to communicate effectively with faculty, and using technology to then support the pedagogy. In the end, it became clear that my skill sets were not the ones that would be the most successful as they now saw the position.
Interviewing is a funny thing. It reminds me of the scene in Sleepless In Seattle, where the father, Sam, is trying to explain how dating works to his young son, Jonah.
“This is what [single] people do. They try other people on to see how they fit. But everybody’s an adjustment. Nobody’s perfect.”
I think that’s a great explanation for the interview process too. It’s not an easy thing, but we risk so that we can reap greater rewards. I put myself out there because I believe what I have to offer can add to the overall mission of our university. I am, first and foremost, a technologist, and one that specializes in community engagement. I believe technology, and specifically social media, has the power to transform our society in amazing ways. It allows us to collaborate whenever, wherever, and with whomever we want. The fact is that social media allows everyone to have a voice, allows us to engage with each other, and to discuss and debate with each other on equal footing, regardless of our position as student or teacher. I believe these types of technology allow us to create some of the most powerful learning opportunities in which we can engage.
Ultimately, the committee wants to go in a different direction. Although it isn’t the decision I was hoping for, I must remember this isn’t a personal judgment, but a pragmatic response to the question of how can they best ensure the success of a new venture. I continue to applaud Dean Long’s efforts to expand the reach of the College of Liberal Arts and engage the faculty and students as a community, working together to forward the mission of the college. It is difficult to be at the leading edge of a curve, to try to introduce new technologies and attitudes into established traditions. Sometimes it is necessary to retreat, rethink, and reengage from a new perspective. I wish them well, and look forward to seeing where their new direction takes them. I stand at the ready, as always, willing to contribute to the conversation wherever I can help support this ambitious vision.
It’s simply a matter of perspective.