Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

Off My Chair

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!

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4 Comments

  1. August 31, 2011    

    Well, Terry –
    It’s a bit of a milestone to share for certain! I’ve always thought you had the best job in the country and it sounds like you still will in many ways. Your commitment to all things distance, online, distributed and open education continues to be remarkable! Congrats on a great ten years in a chair! Cheers, Tricia

  2. August 31, 2011    

    Good luck in the future. I hope you still will be posting your insightful reflections on the web.

  3. Kendall Johnson Kendall Johnson
    August 31, 2011    

    Terry

    Lending perspective from the periphery of distance education, I want to express my appreciation for your leadership in this new field. You’ve obviously invested a huge amount of time, energy, and expertise in making the future come alive in a considered, integral manner. A great many of us now and many, many more to come are the beneficiaries of your efforts.

    Thank you,
    Kendall Johnson
    Associate Professor
    Emergency Services Administration
    California State University, Long Beach

  4. October 8, 2011    

    Good luck with the next chapter, I am sure it will prove just as worthwhile.

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