NY/NJ Sakai Visits

Wow, what a week. I have a new appreciation of Chuck’s ability to stay as cheerful and energetic as he always seemed to be given the vagaries associated with getting from here to there. I visited Columbia, NYU, Rutgers, Wimba, Marist College, LaGuardia Community College and the Fluid Summit (too briefly, but still a separate entry coming next week). I also spent a little time with Jonathan Markow from JA-SIG.

There are so many things to share about this trip it is hard to pick out a single theme. What stands out most, upon reflection, was the diversity of schools in the Sakai Community and how much we all can learn (and have already learned) from each other. In my experience, it is not that often that major research institutions, small liberal arts colleges, community colleges, large companies (IBM was present at the Marist meeting) and small companies all work together as they do in Sakai. As peers. While we could certainly do more in the Sakai community to bring everyone together, the existing degree of collaboration is remarkable and something we definitely need to continue to leverage.

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My First Sakai Board Meeting

The Sakai Foundation Board met on September 12th (via phone conference), which was my first board meeting since officially becoming Executive Director. It was an excellent meeting, efficient but not perfunctory, and extremely professional. In additional to the typical business of a board meeting, approving minutes and reviewing finances, there were two significant decisions I’d like to relay to the Sakai community.

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You can’t teach an old dog…French

Those who know me (or read my last post), know that I don’t have much of a “personal” presence online. I’m going to make an exception today as it is the first week of school for my kids and their education is on my mind.

In the city of Berkeley, at least, schools are a complicated topic. To address economic/social diversity issues, there are not neighborhood schools in Berkeley. Instead, the city is divided into three zones, each of which has 3 or 4 elementary schools. There is a lottery system that determines which school you get into. As you can imagine, this generates a great deal of angst and conversation “at the playground.” If you’re fortunate enough to have the resources to consider private school, you can add the approximately 40 independent schools in the immediate area to your consideration. All of these schools are pretty good, in my unprofessional view, so we’re really talking about high-class headaches, especially relative to some areas of the country and the world. The point of this is not to evoke sympathy for the decisions we had to make but to simply point out that thought goes into this process.

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