Yesterday was the first day of classes at Arizona State, and the start of my second year here. For the most part, my job has been as expected, with the bonus surprise of an incredible supporting group of staff and academic professionals. In addition to orienting myself to a large college as quickly as I could, a good chunk of my time last year went to supporting colleagues who were reorganizing our EdD program for entirely-online students. While the program before this year had a number of elective options, an online program required a more cohesive curriculum sequence, and we used the opportunity to fill in some holes to make connections tighter between courses and the broader program goals. That new organization began rolling out with the summer entry cohort in downtown Phoenix, and I taught the first new course (great experience, time crunch kicking my posterior, and I would not have had it any other way). We have our first online EdD cohort admitted now, ready for classes starting in October.
This year, my division has a number of initiatives, including the conversion of an existing face-to-face masters program to online status, the start of two new masters programs, and some other plans that would only make sense to insiders. I started some research projects with grad students in the summer, which led to a few conference proposals by the end of the summer along with future possibilities in various directions. And I have some other responsibilities that go along with the role of a division director (or department chair or school director, take your pick of title), in the sense of everyone being responsible for the success of the college as a whole.
This week, Dean Mari Koerner announced that she plans to step down as dean at the end of the current year, her tenth at ASU. I will have more to say about Dean Koerner at a future point, but for now I will just say that she led a nationally-recognized reform of teacher education when many programs elsewhere were in a defending-the-ramparts mode and persuaded me I would have a fulfilling role here. Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is a dynamic college filled with great colleagues, in large part because of her.