Since the early 1980s I have become more and more committed to education as a path to enlightened engagement in our complex and troubling world.
My own path to educational development in higher education, however, has been far from straightforward. In 1981, after five years as a securities analyst covering the chemicals and insurance industries, I quit, disillusioned and unsure what to do next. Over the next three years I finished an MBA at New York University, did some consulting and temporary work to make ends meet, and volunteered as a tutor in an adult literacy program based in a public library in Brooklyn, NY.
Quickly I became intrigued by the challenges posed by my first student, Victor, a parking lot attendant. I began to meet regularly with a small group led by Ira Schor on critical pedagogy and the work of Paolo Freire and his disciples. Over time I deepened my engagement in adult literacy, ultimately training volunteer tutors and teaching a class for adult beginning readers as an adjunct instructor at New York City Technical College.
The years 1983 to 1991 brought more change within a broadly defined commitment to education. I served as an administrator for the American Montessori Society and New York City Outward Bound Center, separated by a two-year term in Peace Corps – Sri Lanka. Finally, tired of living in New York City and yearning to be more directly engaged in educational programming, I moved to North Carolina to begin a doctorate in educational psychology at the University of North Carolina –Chapel Hill.
Since 1991 my professional life has become increasingly focused. Doctoral work in educational psychology provided a firm foundation in the theory and research literature of learning and development and its relationship to educational practice that underpins my work today. I have come to feel that the seemingly disparate strands of my earlier career all strengthen and support one another in my evolving work as an educational developer in higher education.