Friday, February 28, 2014

Visiting the Realm of Conjecture

Many of you know that I lost my friend, mentor, collaborator, boss - true north guide - last month. Debra Friedman passed away from a very short battle with lung cancer. I hear her voice in my ear in so many moments, and if you knew her or would like to hear her voice (in a text fashion, but still we're academics here), her last publication came out posthumously this week.

Conjecture, Tension and Online Learning is something we worked on for much of the time we've been together at UWT - two years! - as we sipped local wines, ate in "Grit City" speakeasy joints, cafes, wine bars and pubs of our Tacoma Theater District neighborhood, walked Max in the park of our new city. 

We loved our new campus, loved its urban-serving mission, its "new traditional" students, its historic warehouse architecture. We loved it all and worked hard to create a learner-focused, urban-serving university for the 21st century. Debra was a visionary and a tireless advocate for education as social justice. This piece, her idea,  was a struggle to understand why the faculty we admired would so often fight change, fight innovation, fight doing the right thing. Or, as Debra used to say, to "just do the work." Here, our last finished project together and her last publication, is what we learned.