I’m just finally starting to decompress and unpack some of this year’s Faculty Academy, which was honestly a total blur of amazing people, presentations, and experiences wrapped into a few short days. For me it was really a special time because this time last year I was actually interviewing for my position here at the University of Mary Washington. What struck me last year was that even though I had already known what an amazing group DTLT was, I had little idea at the time just how awesome the faculty at UMW were. It really was incredible to get to meet and converse with folks like Jeff McClurken, Zach Whalen, Steve Greenlaw, and others at UMW who helped me see that the ideas DTLT hatches can only be fostered by a community of academics willing to engage in those ideas and push the boundaries of what we know to be possible.
This year’s conference was for me perfectly illustrated in the convergence of art and technology. Giulia Forsythe’s plenary on visual literacy and the power of images to evoke emotion and unwrap intricate thought was an absolute highlight. The Makerbots saw a lot of action and I had no less than 4 different departments asking me how quickly they could get one and start using it for their various disciplines. Not only that but as the final day was coming to a close I found myself hanging out with David Darts and Grant Potter printing guitar picks on the Makerbot and talking about 3D Printing as a revolutionary way to expose liberal arts students to the ideas of maker culture.
Faculty Academy continues to shine for me as the absolute best and most worthwhile conference I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend and it’s humbling to be playing the role of facilitating and promoting the conference further as a member of DTLT. The fact that it’s completely free is just icing on the cake! If you weren’t able to attend and missed the livestream we’ve got a few of the archived presentations up at the UMW New Media’s Faculty Academy Channel. Andy is working on some better quality copies (we had some flaky issues with the software so we’re running to the tape backups) that should be released in the coming few weeks. And of course several folks including Alan Levine captured some excellent photos that are now on Flickr. I also want to give kudos to Lisa Ames for working with catering to provide some amazing food, Jim who did a great job of serving as host and coordinator during the conference as well as the afterparties and none of this would remotely be possible without all of the background work Martha does year in and year out. She fell ill the day before the conference this year and luckily was feeling well enough to come for Day 2, but she’s done so much leading up to the conference as well as guiding the rest of us this year that it was a guaranteed success.