As academics, we often find ourselves marooned in ivory towers–not surrounded by pleasantries and thumbing our noses at the rabble below but, rather like the Lady of Shalott, staring with long-suffering angst through the mirrored peephole at life beyond our labors. We pour out. We give of time and energy. We answer those bloody 2am emails about the online-forum lest our students suffer apoplexy. Given the extraordinary output, we must now and then drag weary bones to the watering hole. For me, the place to be refilled–to slake that desperate thirst for fellow-feeling–is the College English Association’s annual meeting.
A union of teacher-scholars, a place for professional development and mentoring, the CEA provides room to re-connect with colleagues and to remember why we signed up for this job: intellectual growth, pedagogical purpose and the sweet sensation of being among friends.
I heard brilliant papers. I took copious notes. I have a re-energized sense of how to approach the classroom, fed by designers, historians, rhetoricians, literary scholars and all the blessed milieu of CEA’s broad-minded focus. I left nourished–better yet, I left validated. I always do. To those who make this association great–my heartfelt thanks. You walked me through my graduate years, you support me in my new position as a professor, you continue to mentor me in all my endeavors of research and teaching.
If you have not heard of the CEA–I encourage you to make it your professional home, too. Visit the website. Visit both the publications–the Forum and the Critic. Come be part of the best scholar family I’ve ever encountered.
…In Savannah, GA (next year’s locale). We hope to see you there.