Jade Did Drumbeat: A Field Journal

It's Interactive and Ethnographic

Meet the Prof

Cathy, Professor of Future Class

I have been back and forth trying to determine if “the prof” needed a separate section.  She does.  This class wouldn’t have happened without a blog post.  We wouldn’t have gone to drumbeat if it weren’t for her.  Further, as one of the co-founders of HASTAC, we can also thank her for that.

You can read all of the stuff she is thinking about at her HASTAC blog.

For the purposes of future class, drumbeat and this site, “Meet the Prof” is more about the role she played in the class.

Why is This Separate from “Meet the Class“?

The role the Professor played in Future Class has been, like most other roles, undefined.  While the professor does attend most  of the class meetings at least part of the time, based on interviews with the class and my own observations, this is probably the most independent of independent studies we have all gone through in perception.

Rather than explaining what she does in a narrative, I will provide some bullet points on her role.

The Role of the Professor in Future Class

  • To trust the students to be self guided
  • To ensure that if things seem to be veering to far out of the realm of okay that they get brought back in
  • To be an advocate for the students
  • To serve as a mentor rather than an instructor
  • To observe from a distance when necessary
  • To take the lead when the time is right
  • To step in at times of conflict and confusion
  • To always have the big picture in mind
  • To get to know the students and their strengths and weakness
  • To use the knowledge of the students to challenge them and push them in their work
  • To allow the students the freedom to try new things and fail without penalty
  • To listen and hear

I’m sure there are more, but those are the main patterns of behavior I’ve observed.   What do we call professors who do not profess?  Do we go back to them being teachers?

From the student point of view Cathy has been involved in bullet points.  She gave us the freedom to do what we wanted and forced us to work out any issues or tensions we had as a group.  It must be acknowledged that there is always  more behind the scenes.

I have spent more actual hours on this class than on any other I’ve ever “taught”–or not taught.   I’m on line with one or another student virtually 24/7 and the behind-the-scenes required to get everyone some kind of scholarship funding to Barcelona and to process all the paperwork, including for the one student who was a minor, was endless […] In terms of a time commitment, in a semester where I have no extra time whatsoever, FutureClass has been an incredible investment of my time, more than I’ve spent getting my book ready for press, but worth every second.

Cathy, Private Email, Reproduce with permission

In addition to Cathy, none of this would have been possible without the help of the HASTAC Staff, a group of amazing women that stayed hidden in the background even more than Cathy and her bullet point roles (they have their own bullet points).

One Response to “Meet the Prof”

  1. […] This was the first day of the actual festival component of Drumbeat in my head.  I suppose the Science Fair was to some degree, but this was when things really started.  I was one of the two people from Future Class who was able to go and see the opening speeches and activity pitches (the other members manned the tent while we were gone).  I was able to see Cathy and Mitchell Baker open up the event.  I remain in awe that two amazing women opened up this event.  I am humbled to be in a class “taught” by Cathy. […]

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