A New Beginning

I am pleased to announce that I have accepted a position as Chairperson and Professor in the Department of English at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, starting on July 1, 2019.

This marks the end of a fruitful career at the University of Puerto Rico: Mayagüez Campus. Here are a few milestones from my journey that began over 30 years ago.

  • 1988-1992 – My undergraduate studies at UPRM, during which I served as EDSA president and Student Representative for 2 years and earned the Mellowes Award.
  • 1992-1994 – I received a UPR Presidential Scholarship for my MA studies at Bowling Green State University.
  • 1994-1999 – I joined the English Department as an instructor, at the end of which I was granted a promotion to Assistant Professor, Tenure, and a Study Leave.
  • 1999-2003 – I studied at University of Maryland, supported by UPRM with a Study Leave with Financial Aid.
  • 2003-2008 – I returned and served as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to Associate Professor.
  • 2008-2012 – I served the College of Arts & Sciences as Associate Dean of Assessment and Educational Technologies.
  • 2012-2013 – I became a Fulbright Scholar in Digital Culture at the University of Bergen, receiving 25% sabbatical support from UPRM.
  • 2013-2017 – I returned to UPRM and received seed money and research release time to develop I ❤️ E-Poetry, the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 3, and other publications, and was promoted to Full Professor.
  • 2017-2019 – I have served the English Department as Interim Director.

I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to my alma mater which has contributed to my academic and professional formation. And that includes the faculty that taught and mentored me, my colleagues and friends who I’ve collaborated with, administrators who saw my potential and invested in me and my projects, and last (but not least) my students, who have taught me more than I could possibly teach them. My Curriculum Vitae and other accomplishments have been built upon this institutional context.

I also owe it all to my dear family. My parents gave me the gift of a stable loving childhood, an excellent education, and modeled professionalism. My brother and sister (and cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews!), all of whom have been inspirations as they have succeeded in other career paths. My North Carolina family has been so loving, and helpful, and supporting all along the way since Kara and I joined paths. My children Olivia and Blake have allowed me to look at electronic literature and digital media through fresh eyes, seeing its importance, potential, and areas for future development. And my dear wife Kara, who has given so much of herself to build a life and family with me, has been foundational to my academic, professional, and personal success in more ways that I can say. I quite literally owe this success to her.

No really. Even before becoming a Proposal Development Specialist at UPRM, Kara has been the secret weapon behind every successful proposal I have ever written. It was she who took one look at my cover letter for Appalachian State (which I had unsuccessfully applied for the year before, not even getting an interview) and noted that my approach was flawed. I was presenting myself as a scholar, not as someone with the leadership skills needed to direct their English Department. And so, I rewrote my letter from the ground up, leading to this moment. If you’re curious or interested in the story of my development as a leader, here’s a copy of my letter.

I’m also grateful for my scholarly community. We who are fascinated by what happens to literature when created in conversation with electronic and digital media are many, but we are spread thin around the world. So when we come together in our conferences, festivals, and social media spaces we celebrate and help build our field, our scholarship, and our craft. Beyond these moments, we support each other through collaboration, peer review, sharing ideas and resources, invitations, writing letters of support, and being references for each other. We grow strong together.

Two institutions in the field have helped shape me as a scholar. The Digital Culture program at the University of Bergen is a special place that I joined as a Fulbright Scholar in 2012-2013. They were instrumental in helping me launch my research and have honored me with invitations to join them for dissertation defenses, public lectures, and other scholarly activities. The Electronic Literature Organization has also been a nurturing space for my scholarship, and I am honored that its Board of Directors has increasingly entrusted me with projects and leadership roles within the organization.

Finally, I want to thank the peers I will be joining at Appalachian State University, particularly the members of the Search Committee, the faculty and staff of the English Department, and the Dean of Arts and Sciences. You have made this a very constructive and welcoming process, and I am honored by the trust you have placed in me. I’m looking forward to joining you this coming academic year and getting to know you all through collaboration and fellowship.

Thank you for this new beginning.