Week One in the Books
It was 11:59am on Monday, June 3 and I was anxiously looking at my phone. Marcy Reedy and I had read up on “hosting” a twitter chat, the promo had been consistent, and we had a set of interactive questions. But would anyone come? At 12:00 on the dot, the first question went live, “When/where was your first UCEA Convention & what do you remember?” I responded quickly (Kansas City 2004 and a fabulous salsa band) and then waited … and waited … and waited …
Suddenly – and thankfully – we were off! Responses started coming fast: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Detroit, Denver. The second question about research interests sparked more sharing, then the third question, and the fourth … until the two hours were over and we were done! Lamar Foster, University of Washington and GSC representative, may have had the best tweet of the chat: “I’m probably having the most fun on twitter I’ve had in a while.” And, it was!!
The hashtag we created was #UCEAStory (if you search for that, you’ll find some of the chat) because everyone has a “UCEA story” and all those make UCEA’s story. And from the Twitter chat it’s easy to see that our stories are about friendship, research, mentoring, support, intellectual development, common purpose, community, and A LOT about dancing (as a researcher I’ll code that as “joy”). Like all things that are good and important, these must be carefully tended to and given opportunities to grow.
That’s my job – our job – in the coming year. The transition in the Executive Director role and the continued search for a new host institution, might be too much for some organizations but not for us. We are a community of researchers who know what it takes to lead an educational organization through change, what it takes to honor – and build – on the past even while creating a new and shared vision for the future. We know that it takes a community willing to engage, contribute, and learn. We are that community and it’s our turn now!
So please, continue to share your #UCEAStory! We will keep using that hashtag and will be collecting those memories leading up to and during the Convention. And given the enthusiasm during this first Twitter chat, we will be planning more.
It is such an honor to lead this organization. Thanks again to the Search Committee, the Executive Committee, and our former leader, Michelle Young, for their belief in me. I have been humbled and inspired by the kind words, emails, tweets, and just the outpouring of support.
This is going to be a good year! #UCEAwesome
by Mónica Byrne-Jiménez