I’m celebrating today, in my last day sitting on a Canada Research Chair (virtually of course!). I doubt if chairless tomorrow will be much different than today, but it is the passing of a personal academic era.
I came to Athabasca University 10 years ago as the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Distance Education. The CRC program is funded by the Canadian federal government to support scholarship – in a very backward country that does not have any federal educational mandate nor initaitves. The feds are however constitutionally allowed to participate in research. They choose to do so through the funding for up to 2,000 chairs in all disciplines in 2000. Each University was allocated Chairs based on the amount of federal research council funding they are awarded – and Athabasca got three. The catch is however, that the Chairs come in two funding levels – Tier 2 for newer academics, with a 5 year term, renewable once and Tier 1 for all scholars, for 7 years, renewable indefinitely. Unfortunately for me, Atahabacsa was not awarded any Tier 1 Chairs, and thus 5 years after my renewal in 2006, it is out of the chair for me – as of tomorrow!
All in all, I have enjoyed the expereince and the prestige. I had a slightly lower teaching load than my colleagues and commensurate higher expectation for research output. A quick look at the old CV shows output over the past 10 years (authored or co-authored) of 5 books, 25 book chapters, 44 peer reviewed articles and more presentations, keynotes and rubber chicken, than I can accurately count. So a great opportunity!
Life, post CRC, carries on pretty much same as before – without a chair to sit in! I continue as a tenured Prof here at Athabasca where I teach in the Centre for Distance Education (mostly in our EdD program this year), advise students, edit IRRODL and keep our SSHRC funded research agenda on social networking in self-paced courses afloat.
Thanks to all my colleagues for the visits, correspondence, critique, collaboration and good times over the past decade!