I’ve been hinting around about this for quite some time now, but today was my last day as Director of the IST Solutions Institute. It has been an amazing place to be the last six years. I was one of the first people in the door for the School of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State back in 1999 … as a matter of fact, October 1st, 1999 was my first day there. The School was a new thing, built from the group up to address the IT worker shortage in the state of PA and beyond. It is a first rate place and one that I leave with nothing but fond feelings for. The people at the School are wonderful, the administration has been very supportive, and the faculty are thought leaders in their respective spaces.
I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when it came to getting on board. My wife, Kristin, had been hired as the School’s first webmaster — as well as an instructional designer to get the first of many courses online, design a problem based learning curricular approach, and more. One of the first things she did was go directly to the dean and say these plans are too big for a single person. She recommended that he bring some people in to spend a day thinking and talking about the goals … I was lucky enough to be one of those people. That day got me so jacked up about the thought of being part of a second startup that I immediately pressed for a chance to be part of it. So, the next day I was back in the dean’s office getting a job offer.
I spent the first years there building the team, tools, and methodologies that would become the staple of the Institute. We still use the original methods and tools to design courses and other learning environments. The Institute has grown in resources and sophistication, but it still has that start up feel. The thing I am most proud of are the people who have come in and out of the doors at SI … these people have given everything to create the most open and engaging workplace I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. I was talking with Bruce Claflin, CEO of 3Com, once and he said you are lucky if you have the chance to be part of a great team once in your life on a small project … I was lucky enough to create and work with a team like that for six years. Wonderful.
So tomorrow I show up at my new job … Director of Education Technology Services for the whole of the University. It is another one of those amazing opportunities. I am psyched to get the new phase of my life going, but today I am just going to reflect on the last six years and say thank you to everyone who made it the most wonderful time of my life. The time at IST was filled with highs and lows … my daughter was born, I feel like I built a powerful Institute, made the best friends, created outstanding partnerships, and learned so much from so many people. It was a wonderful time and I will miss it. Thank you everyone!