En los Estados Unidos, el Presidente Obama quiere hacer más asequible las oportunidades para atender el colegio. Especialmente por la clase medio. Yo espero que sea verdad. ¡Este sería una cosa fantástico!
As I was exiting the Ramsey Fitness Center Parking lot I began to reflect on my first days as a brand new late 40-something student starting a new life, in a new state, in a new Ph.D. program, and moreover a new chapter in my academic odyssey. I chuckled this evening when I remembered how I had gotten lost trying to exit the Ramsey Center parking deck 4 years ago. I seemed to be in a never ending maze of circling around and around and around the deck with no exit in sight. I was trapped and didn’t know how I was going to ever get out of that deck as the signs, sounds, and bright lights, left me unsure of myself and anxious. I felt so helpless and inadequate at that time.
I almost turned into the “do no enter” portion of the deck trying to escape this seeming Twilight Zone nightmare. Tears literally swelled in my eyes as I resisted the urge to call my daughter in Ohio for help. I thought to myself, “Call Bridjette, she’ll know what to do!” My daughter at that point, was a freshly minted graduate of Wake Forest University and would be most certainly familiar with this foreign land I had come to know as 21st Century University life. I eventually calmed myself and asked what appeared to be a parking lot attendant for help and subsequently was able to finally locate the exit gate (shown above) and free myself from the “A Mazing” experiences.
As I am now just 12 days shy of my first ever trip outside of the United States, I am humbled and feel incredibly blessed. I am so grateful for how God has guided me in what I think would be appropriate to describe as the “second act” of my life. Not only do I have the chance to do what every Ph.D. student dreams of doing, which is to pursue a dissertation research topic that is interesting, potentially ground breaking, and be a positive source for new knowledge; I also have the opportunity to serve as a Visiting Scholar at the Universidad Católico del Maule in Talca, Chile. I will be able to engage in meaning relationships and learning that has implication for enhanced international adult learning. I find that to be very cool. 🙂
So now in hindsight, I have come to cherish that maze experience in the Ramsey Center parking lot some 4 years ago. It has become a valuable piece of what is now an “A Mazing” ride, as I stand at the dawn of continuing my academic odyssey in Chile, South America.
This summer I had the good pleasure of being invited to participate in the National Issues Forum’s Deliberative Democracy Exchange (DDEx). Scholars, Educators, and Community Activists from around the world converged in Dayton, Ohio. It was a week of engagement, actions planning, and policy discussions surrounding the preservation and promotion of democracy within diverse cultural, political, and economic contexts. I had the chance to develop new networks with folks from around the country, as well as those coming from the middle east, who are fighting for liberation and democracy. Many traveled from Africa, Central and South America, and parts of Europe where we all became profoundly impacted and connected during the week of engagement.
As a result of our participation we were given extraordinary access to the Kettering Foundation resources in the form of online PDFs and a great number of books (as shown above) . These will go a long way in helping me to establish my academic library as part of my goal to enter the Professoriate upon completion of my Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. At this point, I would also like to give a special”shoutout” and words of thanks and gratitude to Dr. William V. Muse, President of the National Issues Forum (NIF) and my former boss at the University of Akron. It was his extending an invitation to me that allow for my participation in the DDEX. This was a wonderful experience and scholarly opportunity. I will forever be grateful for having been invited to participate and contribute to the deliberative democracy1 activities.
Note: 1The NIF and Kettering Foundation define this process as moving beyond the theoretical statement stage of democracy work, to the action or working phase stages of deliberative democracy.
The Kettering Foundation. (n.d.) Deliberative Democracy and Accountability. Retrieved from retrieved from http://kettering.org/videos/deliberative-democracy-and-accountability/