2011 was a big, big year for me. I’m set up for an exciting 2012, both personally and professionally. But it all started with a tweet (or, perhaps more accurately, a little over 30K tweets).
My (old) blog broke 10,000 hits in one month over the summer, fueled largely from traffic from Twitter. My teaching continues to improve and evolve because of #FYCchat (a weekly Twitter chat for those teaching Freshman Writing/First-Year Composition). I gain strength from my twitter community of writers, teachers, researchers, parents, and just generally interesting and good people.
I took chances professionally, agreeing to mentor high school teachers who were teaching in our university’s dual-credit program. It was a rewarding experience, but it also allowed me to travel to Toronto for a conference this past fall. I was able to reconnect with my dissertation research as well as learn about what was going on in the field of Digital Humanities in my “home” country. I reconnected with people that I had met in graduate school, and people that I should have met but never did. It lead me to put myself out there and declare that I did, indeed, want to move towards being a Digital Humanist.
I also declared that I was ready to do more to advocate for non-tenure-track faculty. The response to my posts on the topic (a topic I wrote about at my old blog, too) was mixed, but I put myself out there, declaring that this year, I would work to actually try and bring about change, instead of just writing about it (although this is an important activity, too). I was at a loss as to what to do next, but I figured that since I had put it out there on my blog and announced it to the Twitter-verse, I’d have to follow through.
And now, two wonderful things have happened: I have been invited to participate in the New Faculty Majority Summit “Reclaiming Academic Democracy: Facing the Consequences of Contingent Employment in Higher Education.” I’ll be live blogging/tweeting the event (#NewFac12) as well as meeting people like myself who are working to change higher education for the better. This isn’t just about the working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty, it’s about the learning conditions for our students and the research/working environment for all of us.
Secondly, I have connected with the Editing Modernism in Canada (or EMiC) group back in Canada. I’m going to be integrating my dissertation research n their larger project of sharing archival and other materials connected with the Canadian Modernist period, creating my own “commons” around a number of anthologies and other collections of poetry in translation. I’ve also signed on to be part of the Emergent Scholars Group over at the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (which EMiC is a part of). I’m also going to be attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute with other EMiC members.
It remains to be seen exactly what this means, but moving forward into 2012, I am setting myself up to be a part of some pretty exciting things. I’m looking forward to the challenges and the opportunities, which of course I’ll be sharing with you here (along with the usual trials and triumphs of teaching writing). 2012 is shaping up to be a good year for me
And to think, it started with a blog and some tweets.