Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I'm walking out of my house this morning, looking to the sky for anvils (call me Wile E. Coyote) and speeding trucks. A few weeks ago, when I learned I was receiving the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Award I celebrated, but knew I would be punished (because I understand everything is in balance). Soon after, my basement flooded and it took out my hot water heater. I had it coming.

Today is a big day - a BIG day, and that is why I'm extra cautious as I depart my Stratford home. Out of the blue, totally unexpected, and totally shock-inducing, I received the following letter,

Dear Bryan, 
On behalf of the Faculty Welfare Executive Committee and the CT State Conference Executive Committee, I am writing to tell you that you have been selected to receive the 2016-17 George E. Lang, Jr. Award! Congratulations! 
This award is presented to you by the CT State Conference of the American Association of University Professors. The Conference asks the FWC/AAUP Executive Committee to choose a Fairfield faculty member who, early in his or her career, has shown awareness and appreciation of fundamental AAUP principles including academic freedom, tenure and shared governance. The award is presented at the CSC-AAUP Annual Spring Meeting which will be held at The Graduate Club in New Haven on May 12. (All details are in the attached flyer). I am unable to attend the Annual Spring Meeting this year, but FWC/AAUP Vice President Jocelyn Boryczka (the recipient of the very first Lang Award in 2008) will present the award in my absence. 
I hope you are able to attend the CSC meeting on May 12, and I’m especially sorry to miss it, but I have a son getting a Ph.D. in Illinois this year, and I haven’t yet figured out how to be in two places at once. I am copying Flo Hatcher on this email. Flo is the Executive Director of the CSC-AAUP and she will want to know your entrĂ©e choice :) 
Sincerely, and mucho congratulations! 
FWC/AAUP President
Um. Okay. Me? I didn't see this one coming and I'm totally honored that they would recognize the vision I have at Fairfield University and see my work with K-12 schools as valuable to the welfare of the entire faculty. To be honest, I'm the lucky one. I've learned so much, SO MUCH, from my role as the assistant professor who sits on the faculty salary committee and negotiates with administration. The individuals, my colleagues, who have mentored me and showed me passion, drive, institutional knowledge, and excellence far surpasses anything I've been able to contribute.

Even so, I am thankful and completely honored. I have so many role models on our campus who have led the way. I follow in their foot steps.

And today, I'm looking out for meteors, tsunamis, tornados and copperheads. I hate to be superstitious but my life (and that one episode of Seinfeld) has kept me superstitious about good news. In short, I'm just touched.

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