Before I begin this reflection, I just want to say that anyone can be a champion of innovation without the job title. In fact, that is how my husband talked me out of applying for a job that called my name but has a vague description and many unknowns. As I found a place to sit in the gym at my daughter’s school dance, I located a plugin, which ironically was beside a former student. We discussed the reasons I had decided not to apply for the position and she encouraged me to give it a try. That serendipitous encounter, along with the shocked faces of my colleagues when I tell them that I am not going to apply, has me thinking I should apply.
Not innovative enough. Innovation is at the core of who I am as an educator. The job posting is written for me, as well as many other educators I know at Cambrian. One of the things holding me back is the feeling that I am not innovative enough compared to everyone else that I would love to see in the position. No matter who the successful candidate is, the Cambrian Hub will be lucky to have them join the team. In fact, I forwarded the job posting to some people who I would love to see in the position, hoping they could help me be more innovative in my teaching if they are successful. So, should I avoid applying just because I think others may be better suited? A friend talked me out of that reason. My husband thinks this is a foolish reason not to apply. He is right.
Giving up my innovations. This coming year I have several innovations of my own planned. If successful in being named as the Innovation Champion, I would need to give some of that up. I still get to teach, but I would need to teach less. Since I am planning to try different things in different classes I could not do it all. I could, however, help others try more things and see how that works out.
Timing. In the past four years, I have been on maternity leave twice. Being in a work one year, off one year, work one year, off one year pattern has been difficult as I lost the courses I wanted to teach. Every course I taught this past year was new. At first, I thought that since I have started reestablishing myself in the stream I want to be in maybe I should keep doing what I am doing. The timing seemed poor since I have a plan to improve for next year that I am excited about. I am excited about changes that I have planned for next year, but ultimately I am not teaching what I want to teach in the end. Instead, maybe I can mentor a new educator, who will likely be part-time since workloads have already been assigned. I would love the opportunity to work more closely with the part-timers I have met.
I love teaching. My career is extremely well suited to me. I enjoy (almost) every aspect of my job. Thankfully, I would not need to give it all up as I still get to teach. However, it is hard to give up any of it.
Too many innovative ideas. The position requires that faculty “Explore and develop innovative projects that would enhance the student learning experience at Cambrian.” There are so many things I want to do that fits this broad description, but some of which may be too specific to my program. I looked at my project board in my office and thought that I would need to abandon my research agenda if I took this position. All of my research is student-centered. The issue is that I am a “scholarship of discovery” kind of professor. In the past, more applied projects seem to be viewed more favorably. However, on further reflection, some of it fits with what they want. Finishing ongoing projects is something I could probably negotiate. Much of the future projects I want to work on may even be able to have both a research and application component. In this position, I could facilitate both a research team (which I already have started for gamification) and application. I could probably run a larger, more interprofessional project in this new role than I could with my current workload. Obtaining funding, proposal development, knowledge dissemination, and collaboration are all aspects of my career I enjoy. This aspect of the job is actually very exciting.
Workload. I am honestly scared that because I am a perfectionist I will take on too many projects. Also, I am worried that Cambrian will have expectations that are too high as this is a brand new (innovative) position. Today, I was told that workload, projects etc can be negotiated.
Hours. Not knowing what hours I would need to be physically in the Hub or how flexible they would be is another concern. The course I would be keeping is heavier than the typical three-hour course that the typical Innovation Champion would be teaching. Again, that is something that can likely be negotiated.
My office. I would need to negotiate to keep my office space so I can meet with students.
YouTube. The lines between my role as a Cambrian Professor and YouTuber are in discussion (which is why I keep everything so separate right now). If I enter this new role I have no idea how that will impact my freedom to create videos. Maybe I can work towards clarification of the policies that impact academic freedom, intellectual property and working outside the College. Working towards clarification of these policies would be a timely and interesting endeavor. However, since I would be signing up to have a new boss I would need to discuss these boundaries in advance.
Unknowns. My boss is amazing. The boss of the Hub is amazing. However, the boss at the Hub is returning to a faculty position. Not knowing who my boss will be is probably the biggest concern I have. I just have to trust that Cambrian will hire someone who is amazing. Another concern is that the agreement that I negotiate if they want to select me may not remain the same with a new boss.
The dance is ending. Please let me know what you think. I am undecided, but I have until Monday to decide … and I am leaning towards applying.
If you work at Cambrian and are considering this position, you should apply. I think there are many of us that would be good for the position and I want to work with all of you – as Either a Hub or a Faculty member. We should make it a difficult decision for them by giving them too many good options.
PS: This post focuses on a lot of the reasons not to apply but there are so many reasons to apply! The biggest one is working with the amazing Hub team.