Scaling back

It’s tough to know when to scale back. We have causes and people that we’re committed to, responsibilities that we want to fulfill, teams that we want to support, and workloads that we want to share.


However, there are times when one must step away. For example, despite three valiant years of trying, I have discovered that I simply cannot do all of the following:

  • Coordinate and grow the ISU Educational Administration program;
  • Direct and grow a national center (CASTLE);
  • Be a national thought leader on the topic of technology leadership;
  • Be a thought leader in Iowa on the topics of technology leadership, 1:1 computing, 21st century skills, and online learning;
  • Be a national thought leader in educational administration academe regarding technology-related issues;
  • Be an active learner and participant in the world of social media;
  • Serve as primary advisor to 38 doctoral students;
  • Effectively teach two courses per semester, including summers;
  • Engage in scholarly research and writing at a level sufficient for an AAU research institution;
  • Coordinate multiple external grants and contracts worth over $250,000;
  • Fulfill all of the service and committee requirements that accompany being the sole tenured faculty member in my program;
  • Be a good colleague to my academic and other professional peers; and
  • Be an excellent husband and father of three young children.
  • Heaven knows I’ve tried. But there are not enough hours in the week to do it all. I don’t have any down time. Ever. No time to breathe, no time for my brain to wander in unknown but needed directions, no time to stay up with current trends and my personal learning network. It’s just a constant press. All the time. My student advising has suffered, my previously-excellent teaching has suffered, my ability to stay on top of my administrative and scholarly work has suffered. I’m juggling too many balls and dropping them left and right.

    So I’m scaling back. I have resigned my position as program coordinator of the Educational Administration program effective immediately. I’m only teaching one online course this summer and am on sabbatical in the fall, which means I won’t be teaching any courses or doing any institutional service work. I will find other ways to reduce my time commitments and better target my efforts.

    Things I will be catching up on:

    • Teaching. Our School Technology Leadership coursework is long overdue. I have had to push back our start dates four times now. I desperately want and need to get that going.
    • Writing. I’ve got 10 books in my head. I’d like to get at least 3 of them (1 authored, 2 edited) out the door by the end of this fall.
    • Program development. Our preservice principal preparation program needs a major overhaul to meet the current and future demands of the principalship.
    • CASTLE. We’ve got some amazing opportunities ahead for CASTLE if we can get them up and running.
    • Thinking. I need down time to read and reflect, rinse and repeat.
    • I am looking forward to recalibrating my life. I am looking forward to dedicating more time to things I love and less to things I don’t. How about you? Do you need to take the difficult step of saying no to some things? Do you need to scale back too?

      Photo credits: Reset

      'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

      Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

      Sponsored by Northwell Health
      • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
      • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
      • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
      Keep reading Show less

      Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

      A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

      Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
      Politics & Current Affairs
      • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
      • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
      • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
      Keep reading Show less

      Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

      A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

      Surprising Science
      • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
      • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
      • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
      Keep reading Show less

      Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

      In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

      (Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
      Politics & Current Affairs
      • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
      • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
      • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
      Keep reading Show less