When I was finishing my PhD and starting to think about post-school plans, I made a list of my favorite university departments. At the top of the list was New York University’s “Media, Culture, and Communication” (MCC) department. I am in awe of their faculty and greatly admire the students who I know who graduated from there. I decided that MCC was my dream department.
When I joined Microsoft Research, I had a bit of a pang of sadness over the fact that I was opting out of the formal academic job market before it opened, in part because I was really hoping that MCC would have a job opening. But I also realized that I’d be a fool not to take the MSR job. Working at Microsoft Research is a complete dream come true. I have enormous freedom, unbelievable support, and the opportunity to really create a community of researchers.
But then I started wondering… would there be any way to do both? Yes, this is a twisted thought coming from a workaholic, but it kept nagging at the back of my brain. Countless Microsoft Research faculty in Redmond have joint appointments at University of Washington. And I’m already splitting time between New York and Boston for personal reasons and will be spending more time in New York in the future. So, maybe I could have my cake and eat it too…
One day, hanging out with Helen Nissenbaum, I mentioned that I lurved her department from the bottom of my heart. And, in an off-hand comment, I said something about how I would love love love to have a joint position at MCC. And somehow, what began as a side comment, slowly blossomed into a flower when Marita Sturken – the MCC Chair – told me that she thought that this was a great idea. We started talking and negotiating and plotting and imagining. And, to my surprise and delight, Marita called to say that it was possible to create a joint position for me between MSR and MCC.
So, I am tickled pink to announce that I now have a joint appointment at NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication department. I am joining the faculty as a Research Assistant Professor. I won’t be teaching any formal classes this year, although I’m looking forward to teaching in the future. In the meantime, I will be advising students and collaborating on research and getting involved in the department life. I will not be leaving Microsoft Research – I still don’t see why anyone would leave MSR. My primary affiliation will still be MSR and MSR will continue to be my academic home. But I’m also excited to have a joint appointment at NYU’s MCC that allows me to engage with the scholarly community and with students in new ways. And I’m really really really excited about this!