In 2002, I started my first job in Higher Education. At that time, I was a programmer analyst in the Division of Finance for Texas A&M University. I worked with an awesome group of guys. On the garden level of the Coke Building, we worked tireless to develop new web applications for our users in Accounting, Student Financial Services, Payroll, etc. It was great. I loved learning new things. I loved the challenge and the impact.
In 2004, I decided I could have a greater impact on the front lines of education if I taught in the classroom. That adventure lasted a very long 6 months. I was not cut out for the frontlines of K12. I knew then I was more suited for support or administration.
In 2005, I enrolled in my doctoral program. At that time, I knew I did not want to teach. I was not interested in the tenure track or research or teaching 100+ students a semester. The question was community college administration or K12 support. I opted for administration. On April 30th 2018, I walked away from my career as a higher education administrator.
As that chapter ended many have asked how do I feel about leaving academia. Truth is my love affair with academia slowly died during my career. Don’t get me wrong I value education and learning; my driving force is growth and development. Unfortunately, the heart solutions, the paradigm shifts, or just the possibility to explore is no longer a part of higher education.
Good teachers, supportive administrations, and best practices are stymied by external pressures. Those who have the power and/or authority to shape, or perhaps bend, the external requirements are often ill-prepared, over-worked, or “yet holding on”. So, students and families who still see a degree as the best answer end up with credentials that prepare them for mediocrity, debt that enslaves them to new masters, and deep wounds inflicted by well-intentions.
While the heart of many who work in higher education is still committed to the work, I believe the fabric that is the public higher education system will dampen their impact. They will undoubtedly help a few but I am sure they did not sign up hoping for saving a few. Because many were like me. I signed up to inspire and release the potential of generations.
My hope is that my new adventure in entrepreneurship will allow me to have cross-generational impact on multiple legacies.