Now that we are into a new year, I thought it might be a good time to look back and share with you some of the highlights of the past year…you’ll have to let me know if you want me to write more about any of these things…a simple listing doesn’t really do justice to some of the transformative aspects of some of the experiences.
It was an unusual year in that it started with me in Physical Therapy following spinal surgery at the end of November. I was on research leave (sabbatical) from the university, so it didn’t affect any students, but it sure wasn’t the way I had planned the sabbatical year to go. I’m grateful that the university allowed me to extend the leave into the Fall 2006 term to make up for the time I was incapacitated.
My research involved examining whether or not a cognitive apprenticeship approach to teaching engineering would improve students’ ability to engage in self-directed learning. The results were inconclusive, but we learned a lot about how to (and how not to) set up the study protocol, and I’m giving it another shot this coming term. Click here if you want to see the summary of a conference paper I gave on last year’s work.
Some fun things I did during the sabbatical:
- Traveled out west with my parents for about 3 weeks (that trip was what brought on the extreme back pain – I got to visit 2 E.R.s on the way back from that trip…)
- Traveled to LePuy, France in April to help set up the website for the Centre International St. Joseph, and then stayed to make a directed retreat in the city of our origin as a congregation. Check out the web pages related to this trip.
- Attended the Sisters of St. Joseph U.S. Federation Event (July, Milwaukee), which turned out to be an international gathering. The theme was “Seized by love: embracing the neighborhood of the universe.”
- Completed a 10-day, 350-mile solo bicycle trip from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC in July, camping along the way. (I really should let the surgeon know what a good job he did to make that possible.) I had done some fairly extensive blogging on this on a previous blog, but alas, that blog is history, because I couldn’t export the content from the Blogger Beta! Perhaps I’ll recreate the trip report at some future time…
- Attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in August.
- Traveled across the U.S. and Canada by train, 10 cities in 30 days (Aug. 15-Sept. 12), visiting friends or staying in hostels. (Again, my blogging about this trip is lost forever, unless I decide to recreate a record of it.)
- Attended some engineering education meetings/conferences in Indianapolis (last October), San Antonio (January), Fort Wayne, IN (March), Tuscaloosa, AL (April), Chicago (June), San Diego (October). Not sure these should be listed under fun, but I do enjoy the networking with others who value teaching. I’m not on the American Society for Engineering Education board of directors anymore, so the January and April meetings are not on my plate for this year.