Thursday, April 28, 2011

Into the Academy

I am set to join the faculty of a small private university this summer, as an assistant professor within the institution's School of Communications and Information Systems. I will share more information about this position and its duties in coming weeks. This blog post focuses on why I am accepting an academic appointment and how it might help me as a writer.

The decision to accept and embrace a university position is not financial, political, ideological, or idealistic. The pay is, well, academic. I've never been a "classroom radical" with a political agenda. As for idealism, I'm generally considered a curmudgeonly cynic.

No, this is a selfish choice made for a desire to improve myself.

For the last six months, I have peen pondering if I should alter my career path. After considering a return to the corporate life, I have decided to remain focused on my first passion: writing. Currently, I am a freelance writer, often exploring the relationship between technology and society in essays and creative works. I enjoy sitting and writing for hours; I thought I could do nothing else and be satisfied with life. But something was missing that I couldn't explain. When I talk to groups about writing, I get excited and energized. After most public appearances, which necessarily means time away from my desk, I find I write more than I did before the appearance (but following a little bit of physical rest).

There was only one logical path for me: return to teaching and embrace it as a foundation for writing.

My motivation for pursuing the doctoral degree was curiosity. I am interested in how technology affects the writing and production / publishing processes. Writing has evolved with publishing technologies, which means we are in the midst of yet another major shift in writing methods thanks to social media. The doctorate was also meant to be a safety net, allowing me to teach part-time while writing. Now, it appears teaching and writing should be closer to equal in my life because they are interconnected.

I love writing. I am fascinated by technology. I enjoy teaching. Accepting a university post that will allow me to mix and match my passions was too great an opportunity to decline.

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