Administrative opportunities had been coming my way in various forms in the years before 2007. In addition to being the coordinator for the English H-i-D program, I was the Department of English's Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Studies. When the unfortunate death of Dr. Jay Boland, previous Director of the University and Midway programs, occurred in December 2006, I made the decision to apply for the position. I knew many of the students through my teaching of Quest, and I wanted to help insure that those students had as good an academic experience at ETSU as possible. I felt as if this would be a good opportunity to learn whether or not I wanted to pursue administration as a career shift. I got the job and began that summer of 2007.
I committed, mostly in my own mind, that I would give it five years. That would allow me to recruit a first class of University Honors Scholars, which I did in spring 2008, and see them through graduation. These students graduated in May 2012. Sometime in the middle of their junior year I became fairly certain that I didn't want to continue in administration, that I wasn't ready to leave my own teaching, research and writing on the back burner. So roughly a year later I submitted my resignation to Dr. Rebecca Pyles, Dean of the Honors College.
Today was my last official day as Director of the University and Midway Honors Scholars Programs. Working with the programs was a great mid-career experience for me. I've learned a lot about the workings of the university. I've had a lot of great opportunities, not the least of which was the opportunity to attend the Presidential Inauguration in January 2009. Most importantly, I've worked closely with and become friends with many many fantastic students. (See part of the latest group above!)
I left the Department of English in 2007. I return to the Department of Literature and Language in 2012. I'm excited about this return that leads forward!