In the Moment

As we come to the close of this academic year, it is time to pause and reflect on this year of "new faces and new spaces.” We end the year having added 36 new faculty over a span of 18 months and a sparkling new media center that nurtures the birth of new ideas every day. It is indeed a greenhouse where ideas sprout and take a life of their own.

It is important to remember that new ideas sprout from seeds, many of which were sown by professors like Bob Albers and Darcy Greene, who will retire this year. Bob is a legendary figure among our broadcasting students. Three decades ago, he was given a difficult challenge of creating a broadcasting program with limited resources. Like the engine that chanted "I think I can,” he has mentored generations of broadcasting students. At a recent alumni event in Los Angeles, I was touched by the genuine outpouring of goodwill from those who have benefitted from his mentorship and gone on to successful careers.

Bob is also one of the architects of the Media Sandbox, a signature program in our college. Bob’s definition of the Sandbox as a curriculum and creative community has stuck with me. And the new faces and spaces in our college are a manifestation of this creative community he envisioned. Generations of undergraduate students with a yen for making movies will remember Bob through the Albie awards that were created in his honor.

Darcy Greene was one of the first professors in the college to teach interactive media. From designing websites to e-books, Darcy’s skills evolved with changes in technology, media and journalism. Although she has won numerous awards for her photography and design, she prides herself on the awards her students have won and her face lit up when we talked about her students who have gone on to stellar careers. Darcy will be recognized this year with a lifetime achievement award from the Society for Newspaper Design.

In Bob and Darcy, we find the inspiration, values, intellect and dedication required to build something new. They have served as pillars of broadcasting and visual communication in the college and their legacy has now evolved into the Media Sandbox.

Bob likes to day, "The Sandbox is both curriculum and creative community." My hope is that the Sandbox is a space that fosters creativity, community and collaboration in the media arts, where work is play.

Too often these days, we worry about results and awards. In doing so, we lose the joy of the process - the process of creating and the process of teaching. When focused obsessively on outcomes, we become oblivious to moments of "being in the zone” and finding joy in everyday experiences.

Bob and Darcy can retire with satisfaction, knowing that they have instilled in their students and colleagues the notion that the journey is as important as the destination. There is more joy in the process than in the reward. Let’s be intentional about enjoying the process because work is play.