Service

Despite the sense I’ve periodically had over the last few years, that the administrative work I’ve been called upon to do has lessened my ability to give my teaching the kind of attention I’d like, I want to begin this section by acknowledging how enormously rewarding much of that administrative work has been, not least in the degree to which I feel I’ve been able to make a substantive contribution to the life of the college, and to the ability of the institution to position itself as a leader in thinking about the relationship between the traditional liberal arts and the emerging disciplines that are arising in response to the rapid pace of technological change in the early 21st century.

The primary locus of this service has of course been within Media Studies. I formally became coordinator of the Media Studies Program in 2004, after receiving tenure; during that first year as coordinator, I oversaw a ten-year self study and external review of the program. This extensive study resulted in a formalized relationship between Pomona’s Media Studies program and the Intercollegiate Media Studies program of the Claremont Colleges, which I chaired between 2005 and 2008. During that time, I led the development of a common IMS major, bringing together the strengths of the previous Pomona major with those of the Pitzer major, resulting in a much broader set of opportunities for media studies students Claremont-wide, and a much richer curriculum than any one of the colleges could offer alone.

The development of this curriculum and the cooperation resulting from it led to a couple of significant outcomes: first, the expansion of the Media Studies faculty, through the successful proposal to FPAC of two new positions, one of which has been authorized and, following a search I chaired, filled; and second, the successful proposal for and implementation of the conversion of Media Studies to departmental status.

(As a side note, if I can take advantage of this opportunity: Media Studies has ongoing unmet needs that I hope the college will keep among its priorities. These needs include not only the funding and authorization of that second new position in the department — an absolute necessity if we’re going to be able to function without replacing our faculty as we go on sabbatical, and if we’re going to be able to manage the advising load in an equitable way — but also the development of sufficient space for the department to have a permanent, stable home. The college will of course be hearing more from me about these needs in other forms, but I want to be clear here that the successes we’ve had in Media Studies over the last six years do not solve all of the problems we face; there’s much work yet to be done, and I hope that the college will continue to support us as we go forward.)

During much of this time, I was also a full participant in the English department’s work, including serving on a number of search committees, working with the rest of the department to reimagine the curriculum, and during one semester serving as acting chair. I also served as the coordinator of creative writing within the department during the 2006-07 academic year.

In the two years immediately following tenure, I also served as chair of the Executive Committee, and in that capacity as a member of the Intercollegiate Faculty Council, and as the faculty representative to the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee. Since 2006, however, my college-wide service has been restricted to a number of committees to which the coordinator/chair of Media Studies is appointed, ex-officio (the now-defunct Cable Television Committee and the Communications Committee), and a couple of ad-hoc committees, the Dean Search Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Information Technology last year, and the Board of Trustees Information Technology Review Task Force this year. While I feel I’ve been able to do some important work on behalf of the faculty on those latter committees, I look forward to the ability to return to more active participation in college-wide service in the future, when I pass on the responsibilities for chairing Media Studies to one of my colleagues.

I have also in the last few years expanded the service that I am performing for the profession beyond the college; in 2006, I was elected to the executive committee of the Modern Language Association’s Discussion Group on Media and Literature, which I am chairing this year; this year I have also begun a term of service on the MLA’s Program Committee. I’m also a member of the advisory board for both the University of Michigan’s Scholarly Publishing Office and the University of Michigan Press’s new book series in the Digital Humanities, and I serve on the editorial boards of two online journals, the Journal of e-Media Studies and Transformative Works and Cultures. Through this service, as well as through my editorial work on MediaCommons and the interventions that my most recent scholarly work aims to produce, I hope to help facilitate a series of discussions about the future of the profession in a time of both economic crisis and technological possibility. I look forward to continuing these conversations, both here at the college and with my colleagues elsewhere.

[updated 7 January 2010]