I'm currently working for Syracuse University as an Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies. My research areas include the intersection of gaming and libraries and bibliomining, which is the measurement and evaluation of digital library services through bibliomining, or data mining for libraries. My secondary research interests are Web search tools (a.k.a. search engines) and distance education (particularly Web-based asynchronous education).
I'm also the program director for the Master of Science in Library and Information Science program at Syracuse. This means I develop the course lists, locate adjuncts, work on admissions, get the program re-accredited, and guide the curricular changes in the program. You can see me talking about the program at http://youtube.com/watch?v=RWr4X0evrQc
My Past Lives
So, how did I get to this point? Well, it's an obvious progression from someone who mucks out horse stalls to professor. But I'll be glad to elaborate...
I grew up on a horse farm in a rural Oklahoma town. There, my chores involved such fun activities as cleaning out horse stalls and then driving a manure spreader to spread the fresh fertilizer onto the hay fields. Now, you know the line from the Oklahoma song - "where the wind comes whippin' down the plains?" Well, let's assume you are driving a tractor with a device that throws hay and the associated stuff with it out onto the field and said wind comes whipping down said plains. . .we'll let your mind fill in the messy conclusion. However, this led me to getting a part-time job as soon as I turned 16.
I worked a number of part-time jobs as I grew up and went into college - Braum's (an ice cream/hamburger fast food joint in the south half of the US), Waldenbooks, a quick-stop, a scholarship telephone solicitor, and a secretary. Once I became a secretary for a department at the University of Oklahoma, I stayed there until I graduated from college.
I then took a programming job which I hated; I realized that I am a "people person" (as compared to an asparagus person) and needed to do more than write code for eight hours a day. I moved back to Norman and landed a job as the "Computer Guy" as the same department I had worked as a student. I did this for 3 years, and learned much about hardware, networks, training, desktop publishing, and anything else dealing with computers and a 10-person network. These skills still serve me, as I build my own systems and know that if I can't reach the tech support people, I can probably fix the problem myself. (whether or not they like my solution is another matter)
I did this for a few years, and started pursuing a Masters in Library and Information Science. When I graduated from that program, I moved to the Dallas area and took a job as a reference librarian at Texas Christian University. I did this for one year, and then was awarded a fellowship to pursue a PhD at the University of North Texas.
I moved up to Denton and began teaching while working on my PhD. I enjoyed teaching and was quite good at it. By the time I had completed my PhD, I had taught both undergraduate and master's level courses in three different departments (library science, business comping, and decision sciences).
I took a job at a small consulting firm in Dallas under the promise that statistical work would be coming in 60 days. I met with clients to lay out Web projects and did Web site design while trying to convince people that an animated GIF is not the best thing to put on your home page and that having actual text is a better idea than nothing but pictures. However, problems due to the company being a start-up on top of other issues broke the camel's back, so I moved on.
I then went to The Associates, a large financial services firm. I started in the marketing department doing statistical work, and quickly moved over to Decision Science, where I now work. I'm a Modeler, which means I create equations that model human behavior. However, the company is now being acquired by Citigroup and jobs were questionable again. I grew weary of the chaoticness of corporate life, and missed my research areas.
So, I went on a job hunt and ended up being caught by Ray von Dran, dean of the School of Information Studies. I'm very happy in my career as a professor, and look forward to many more years of making this world a better place.