Tuesday, July 2, 2019

“Returning” to Western Massachusetts

It’s been a bit of a roadtrip back but…… it is official…… I’m back! In 2014 I took an early retirement from Springfield Technical CommunityCollege and signed on as a part-time consulting Co Director for NationalScience Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) funded NationalCenter for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC). OP-TEC with a main office in Waco, Texas and funded via University of Central Florida, had five years left before sunsetting. I ended up staying with OP-TEC as a consultant for about 3.5 years. Most of my work was done out of my home office in Massachusetts with monthly trips to Waco and the occasional trip to UCF in Orlando. The work was interesting and I enjoyed it but the Center was in the last year of funding - something referred to as "sunsetting" in the grant world and my time there was to be ending soon. I knew I needed to find a replacement, with a preference for something a little closer to home....

In November 2017 I applied for and was offered a visiting professor position at the University of Hartford College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture. I spent the last three amazing semesters there teaching a variety of electronics, electrical engineering and engineering design courses. The admins, faculty and especially the students were incredible and it felt so good being back in the classroom – teaching. So much fun to connect with students again after almost 20 years of academic and NSF grant administrative work. I am so impressed with the University of Hartford community – the way everyone pulls together to help each other out - respectful, hard working committed….. amazing. I had left teaching traditional age college students in 1998 and was not sure what to expect in 2018 – to say I was pleasantly surprised at Hartford is a huge understatement!

But those visiting professor gigs are temporary and don’t last long. This past spring I sadly realized my time at Hartford was coming to an end and I needed to start looking around again. So…. I applied for an Engineering Professor position at Holyoke Community College, interviewed and….. was offered the position. I start in September…. a little closer to home and also a lot closer to my parents home.

Leaving Hartford is breaking my heart - I’m really going to miss everyone there, especially the incredible students I had the opportunity to work with in my classes. No names because I’m sure I would end up leaving some out. Thanks to all of you who worked so hard in my classes – I’m jealous of you all with your work ethic and commitment to excellence along with the internship, career and academic opportunities you have already had or will have. If any of you are reading this please keep working hard and stay in touch. I look forward to following your careers.

Took the long way back to Western Mass via Waco, Orlando and Hartford but I’m back. Looking forward to reestablishing some of those past regional business and industry connections and working with the admins, faculty and especially students at HCC. And yes - you bet I’m hoping to establish some sort of a formal transfer/articulation agreement between HCC and Hartford.

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