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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Monday, January 30, 2006

AECT DLD Board Member

About three weeks ago, I was asked to let my name stand for the AECT Distance Learning Division Representative to the Board. As someone who has only been a member of AECT for two years, I was a little honored at being asked. I note that the call for elections is now up at DDL elections underway!

Inspire by Nate Lowell and his run for AECT Board Member-at-Large, I would like to follow suit and provide more information about myself using Nate's template.

1. Describe your involvement with AECT, past and present.

I have been involved with AECT for two years now, having been a proposal reviewer for the DLD for the past two annual meetings (i.e., 2004 and 2005), as well as being one of a half dozen students at UGA who helped put together the Teacher Ed division's program for the 2005 annual meeting. At the actual conferences, I was a volunteer for the 2004 annual meeting in Chicago and was the Chair of a joint UGA/VT effort to host the Graduate Student Lounge at the 2005 annual meeting in Orlando.

Up until last month, I spend ten months as the primary contributor to The Program - the AECT blog for graduate students and put my name forward as a board member within the Distance Learning Division this past October.

At the last annual meeting in Orlando, I was one of five graduate students who acted as invited discussants for the International Division's Socratic Seminar and I was also awards the ECT Mentor Scholarship.

2. Describe your education, career and other experience including leadership roles in other professional organizations.

At present I am a third year Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia. Prior to coming to UGA, I completed a Master's in Literacy and Language Arts - with a concentration in Technology in Education from Memorial Uiversity of Newfoundland. I also received my Bachelor of Education (Intermediate and Secondary) from Memorial and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) with a major in Political Science and a minor in History from Carleto University.

Outside of my educational background, I worked as a professional political organizer for four years before going into education. After a year of substitute teaching, I secured a full-time secondary social studies position at Discovery Collegiate in Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada.

In terms of leadership roles, I have been active in many different organizations. In addition to my involvement with AECT thus far, I have also been responsible for leading the student association in my department for the past two years, I have taken a leadership role in the Rural Education SIG of AERA, and I have been active in community groups as well - such as the Royal Canadian Legion and various minor hockey associations.

3. In 500 words or less, describe your vision for AECT?

AECT is supposed to be an organization representing professionals in the field of communications and technology. However, I feel the organization has not been reflective of those they claim to represent in these two areas: communications and technology. I see the potential for AECT to become an organization that is using cutting edge technology to facilitate communications between its members. This will that AECT is more to the membership than simple a couple of publications and an annual meeting. We need to find ways to talk to each other to ensure that our field moves into the future with its members, instead of holding them back because it has become outdated.

4. What would be your agenda be and/or what should the agenda be for moving AECT forward in the next 3-5 years?

I think that the first thing that must happen is that AECT must come to grip with its own technology needs and find ways to manage those technologies. It should not take years to make changes to the AECT website, the aect-members.org domain should not expire when it is the most dynamic and fastest growing source of AECT content, the newsletter can't remain an outdated PDF file that gets uploaded to the website months after its content is actually published.

Aect.org needs to be better managed and it needs to become a dynamic site. The list of division executive members can't be two years old. And if the group currently managing the website can't do it, we need to find someone who can.

AECT needs to promote communication between its members, and provide technologies and support for them to actually do it. It can't remain a group of contrarians using blogs and RSS feeds to preach to the converted and yell into the wind. We need to encourage others to join the conversations and give them the tools to do so (both technology and technical support).

This organization will only get better when we work together to make it better. As an organization, AECT has to put thigs in place to allow this to happen - not hinder it from even starting. This is what I would like to push for over the next three to five years.

5. Why do you think you would make a good candidate? Also, please reflect briefly on your leadership style and group facilitation style.

I believe that I bring a fresh set of ideas to the table - ideas that are shared by a number of other AECT members who have been involved longer than I have. These are ideas that I hve discussed with them, that we have blogged about, argued over, and because of these interactions these ideas have improved.

In addition to these ideas, I believe that I bring a co-operative process to the table. A process that allows new ideas to not only be considered, but to really be hashed out to ensure that they are moved forward in the best possible format or discarded only after they have bee thoroughly reviewed.

I also think that I have proven over the years that I have the ability to both work well within a group setting, but when needed take the bull by the horns and lead by example. This year's Graduate Student Lounge is a good example of this trait. In Chicago in 2004, I made the suggestion in a meeting of graduate students that the GSL should become a bid process where students and/or student associations actually made proposals to host the GSL. From April to June of this past year, when no other groups came forward to host the GSL, I organized and chaired a successful proposal from a team at two universities. Throughout the process I delegated a great deal of the work to the othr members of the committee at both institutions, however, at the annual meeting I took the responsibility of ensuring that things went smoothly. I believe that, within AECT, this is probably the best example of my ability to be able to work with the other board members (should I be elected), but when needed take a leadership role to ensure the job gets done.

Thank you for your consideration for this position, and to Nate for the idea.

Tags: AECT, blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

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