Day job/career: Dean of the Isaacson School of Communication, Arts & Media at Colorado Mountain College, where I oversee diverse and vibrant programs that deal with communication at the intersection of Technology and the Arts. I’ve been in education since 1995 formally, but I’ve always been somewhat involved in training. Communication and the interactions between people is the foundation for all society, and I hope to teach students to tell lasting stories that help to move the needle on social issues.
How did you become involved with OCL? My wife took an OCL class as part of the Aspen School District, and invited me to the celebration dinner. I was stunned at the affect the class had on people, and also talked to Bob and Cynthia Chapman a bit that night as well. I could clearly see a connection between learning this and the role of students, staff and faculty in the community. After taking the class I was profoundly affected, and even thought of creating art projects about these ideas. Then Shara Brice invited me to apply for Professor training.
What is your hope for OCL? That it continues to expand in response to a societal need for the kinds of learning found in these classes. A mentor of mine once stated that the goal of teachers is to “ignite a flame of passion that expands into a wildfire of learning”, and I hope that for OCL. Learning how to treat each other is a complex task, and needs to be incorporated into the very fabric of our communities.
How do you most often find yourself using what you learned in CST? As a teacher I use many of the techniques in my classes very often. Critique and discussion often tread into personal territory, and teaching students how to navigate the waters of communicating their idea is tremendously important. As a leader and supervisor though, the tools from OCL are used on a daily basis, helping me structure clear communication lines and empathetic work relationships. Of course, the training has been invaluable at home, helping me raise children who value kindness and helping my wife and I navigate the complex waters of close personal relationships.
Three things that make you smile. When students begin to believe in themselves; being above treeline; taking my family camping, climbing or traveling and seeing them develop wonder for the world.
Your favorite book and why. Skinny Dipping by Janet Lembke. Janet had a profound love of the links between literature and living; in this book, her use of words generates a nearly physical response. I’ve revisited this book hundreds of times to find wisdom about navigating the complex interweaving of myth, history and our desire to be part of nature.