I have been dancing between academic work and entrepreneurship for the past several years. It has been exhilarating and exhausting. On the one hand, I have done some of my best and innovative work as a “lone wolf”, acting as an expert consultant to several world-class institutions. On the other hand it has been a tremendously isolating experience: working solo is tough!
I recently learned of an initiative launched at the University of Michigan called the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG). I was immediately intrigued by its mission, which is to take educational technology innovations developed by researchers within the institution and grow them to scale for widespread adoption. James DeVaney, the assistant vice provost in charge of the Office of Digital Education and Innovation (DEI), spoke about the DIG as well as the other labs associated with DEI in a recent interview with Campus Technology.
Earlier this month I accepted an offer to join the DIG team as one of the Lead Developers and I will be starting next week. This is truly a dream job for me. It allows me to capitalize of virtually all of my experiences to date: I can draw on my experiences as a student, a faculty member, a systems engineer, a software developer, a learning analytics researcher, and an entrepreneur.
For now we will continue to live in Windsor, which will allow my partner to continue her work as a faculty member in the Office of Open Learning at the University of Windsor and will allow us at least the temporary facade of stability. The commute is an easy one and actually consumes less time than my commuting life in Toronto. There will be some significant changes in the home life routine: I won’t be on daddy duty quite as much any more (thankfully we have found a most excellent French nanny to help out with child care).
The next few years will, no doubt, bring many challenges and rewards. I am very excited about this next chapter in my life!