Entering the professorate

While in Hong Kong for the Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2011) conference, I received a job offer to become Assistant Professor in E-Learning in the Faculty of Education at University of Windsor, in Windsor, Ontario. This was an exciting moment for me, as I was able to announce this appointment the next day in the last six seconds of my three minute fire hose presentation to mentors and colleagues in the Early Career and Postdoc Workshop (ECW) on 4 July, 2011!

Although I am really enjoying my postdoctoral research on Prof. Reimann’s large scale EC-funded ICT (FP 7) project called NEXT-TELL , I could not pass up this opportunity to return to Canada and work in a Faculty of Education at a research university in Ontario. As I learned in the ECW, there are many talented learning scientists with PhDs on the market. The current job market is a tough one. I feel very fortunate to have landed this job that allows me to continue to extend research in my area of expertise.

This means, however, that my family and I have to move yet once again! This represents the ninth move in the past three years for my partner, daughter, dog, and I. We’ve moved three times in the last six months in Copenhagen alone, as we shuffled around various temporary faculty residences. We’ve lived in three different countries during this time–Canada, France, and Denmark. We’ve traveled a lot for work, too. We’ve most recently braved long flights with a two year old to Hong Kong and back, but we’ve been to Finland, Switzerland, France, Norway, Germany, U.S., and to the West Coast of Canada. Before we leave Denmark, we’ll probably head over to Sweden. When I began my journey into academia, I had no idea that I would be jet-setting around the globe with a partner who is another academic (and a leader in the same field, to boot), a child and a dog! So much for the envisioned quiet life in the ivory tower with summers off. I also didn’t expect to live in foreign countries where I could not make sense of the language. My French was passable enough for Parisiens to think I was a local albeit with an English accent, but Danish is a very difficult language to learn. I’m looking forward to living in a country where I can actually understand the street signs or packaging on products.

We’re still looking for a place to live in Windsor, but we’re now working with a real estate agent who will hopefully find us a more permanent home. It’s been a number of years in the making since I began my doctoral journey, but I’m now living the dream of becoming a professor and educational researcher. Many people have characterized me as being “goal-oriented” or “driven.” I guess they were right. It’s always been my goal to be a professor who conducts leading-edge research, teaches preservice and graduate students, and contributes to the community, academic and otherwise!


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