The light of Spring, that is. The academic year ends in five weeks. Summer brings gardening, biking to Coffee Beanery to spend entire days writing, and a conspicuous lack of meetings. I'm teaching two sections of first-year writing during the first summer session in hopes of socking away some money for the 2010 Italy trip.
I'm also happy to be part of the U-Michigan Roads Scholars program this summer. Clever pun, right? The scholars program is a "five-day traveling seminar on the state of Michigan." About thirty faculty from across the curriculum visit the state legislature, a slew of social service agencies, businesses, and schools to learn about economy, politics, geography, and culture in the state. I can't wait.
This year's itinerary hasn't been finalized, but I learned at last night's orientation session that we're going to dairy and wind farms in the U.P., several assembly plants, the State Capital, the Sault Tribe, Focus:HOPE, Belle Isle, Mackinaw Island, a prison, a semi-conductor plant, and many other sites. Apparently, each site provides a chance to meet folks and go behind the proverbial scenes. A lot of the faculty who've been chosen are doing community-based or place-based research of various types. Part of the goal is to provide a venue for doing outreach and networking. Most of all, it's a week or intense learning.
The program is a big part of why the end of the year looks so bright.