2014 has been a pretty good year for me personally. You can probably read this post as a brag list, but for me it’s a chance to take stock and record what’s been achieved. Achieved is an important word – because this year I got to see effort yield results. The last couple of years have been a pretty hard slog in terms of work, being a new dad and attempting to maintain some semblance of sanity as well as a sense of vitality and purpose. Life is one of those beautiful yet destructive things – so it’s great to be able to pause and look at the balance sheet and realise I’ve come out on top this time.
Vice Chancellors Award
I managed to win my first major award since school by picking up the individual award for Leadership Excellence. It was actually quite unexpected – I was glad to be nominated but never gave winning a second thought. There was a ceremony, an intro video, a handshake and photos allow with quite a large mounted certificate. Getting rewarded was nice, but getting your good work exposed to a broader cross section of the institution is a great side effect. I think sometimes you tend to feel a little isolated working on smallish pilots and project so this was nice to have that effort recognised.
Graduate Certificate + Deans List
I signed up and managed to complete my first proper study since graduation. It was a professional development opportunity to complete a Grad Cert in University Leadership and Management and I got a lot out of the programs reflexive approach. I was able to channel a lot of what I was working on into the assessments which had the added benefit of giving time for some critical review.
This year I co-facilitated a great workshop with two amazing people at this years Ascilite Conference – and we organised it all online! I was looking for an opportunity to work collaboratively with people outside the university and I happened to stumble into a Twitter conversation with Kim and Joyce and the workshop was born. I’d never done a workshop like this before but we managed to put together a really interesting proposal which got accepted. I put together this website which I’m going to expand on in the new year. I want to thank Kim and Joyce as it was an absolute pleasure to work with two such amazing and talented women!
Trip to Vanuatu
The in-laws gave us a special treat in a trip to Vanuatu. It was an extremely welcome trip after a fairly long, wet and cold winter. I loved exploring Port Vila and the surrounding island full of magic little places and friendly people. It was a great test for Alise and how well she would cope with the flights etc – and she passed with flying colours! I’m hoping we can go back sometime soon.
Home life has been amazing this year. I’m still enraptured by my wife as she amazes me with her grace under fire, patience and empathy. She keeps us as a family together and functioning.
Although I think what’s made my year is the distinct transition of my daughter from baby to little girl. She has hair now – plus a penchant for pigtails and dresses. Her speech is astounding for her age and she continues to surprise us with the depth of language and understanding she displays. She’s also grown into her own person – independent, strong and sweet – no longer the cute generic mush that babies tend to be. Every now and then she’s bought me to tears – but tears of joy at her kindness, affection and love that she shares with us.
On to 2015
I’m really looking forward to the year ahead. One of the main reasons is that I’m taking up a new role at the university. For the next two years I’ll be working as an Online Learning Technology Leader in the uImagine innovation hub. I’ve been working on setting up the initiative during 2014 but in the new year I’m going full time. It’s going to be a great opportunity to explore and experiment with a variety of new technologies and to reimagine how and why we use the ones we have. I’m particularly interested in looking at distributed systems and tools for education and using them in ways that empower students. I’m keen to start digging into WordPress a little more and start using it’s CMS capabilities to build some experimental and proof of concept applications. I’m also keen to look into developing some API capabilities within the university to help improve our capacity to innovate more quickly. There’s also the opportunity to develop a new physical space that could provide some exciting potential and improve our capacity to collaborate.
There is a bit of a milestone also coming up this year – 15 years together with Clare. It’s quite an achievement to have such a long term and close relationship with someone and it’s one that’s greatly improved me as a person and my life as a whole. We’re hoping to celebrate by making our way to the US sometime in the year for a family road trip. At the moment looking at the Pacific Northwest as a destination – and maybe some beach time in Hawaii.
I’m going into 2015r openly. Open to change and challenges, trials and tribulations, joys and sadnesses that are bound to come in the days and weeks ahead.