Steven W. Gilbert
July, 2003 - Updated May, 2005, 1-1-2006
I’m Steve Gilbert, Assistant Cook for at least one week each summer at a Quaker camp, father of 3, husband of one, father-in-law (as of July 4, 2003!), President of the TLT Group. I live in Takoma Park, Md. – just off 2nd base in right field, if you think of Wash. DC as a baseball diamond. We have 2 cats. I don’t really like cats.
In the first week of July, 2003, our family was privileged to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday and our middle son's wedding in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In October, 2003, my wife Sally and I got to watch our oldest son "test" for his black belt in Aikido and meet some of his friends in the Boulder Aikido community. [See: Proud, Grateful Parents for a description of this - one of the most satisfying events of our lives.] One of my most enjoyable and relaxing activities in the fall and spring was watching my daughter play soccer with a local team. But then she went to finish her last two years of high school at a boarding school in Switzerland. I cannot watch her soccer games there, because she does not think it appropriate for her parents to move into her "dorm" (we offered). We missed her very much, especially during the Thanksgiving weeks of 2002 & 2003 -- the first time in 27 years that one of our children was not with us. But now she has begun college in the U. S. and we saw and heard much more of her this past year.
That school in Switzerland has a longstanding commitment to sustainability and building community. It is also located in the most beautiful place I've ever been - Hasliberg-Goldern, about halfway up one of the alps.
In her 2nd year of college, unfortunately/fortunately, she spent the fall term in Munich. She visited at least seven different countries during that term. The high point of our Christmas dinner this year was the slideshow in which she described many of the places she had visited and some of the activities she could report to family members. Sally and I spent a long weekend just before Thanksgiving in Munich visiting her. We were able to attend the opera our first evening (Falstaff, sung in Italian with German translation projected above the stage so that we could understand what was going on). Jet lag kept me from my usual state of alertness in such events. We also visited the Dachau concentration camp, which was a disturbing experience (learned how complex and well-developed the system of camps was in 1945, and how visible the camp was to the surrounding town of Dachau), but not so immediately powerful as visiting the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam which we had done in August.
It was fun to hear our daughter speaking German with local people, including the kind family that was hosting her and her friend from college during this fall term. Her experience going to secondary school in Switzerland and spending this time in Germany and surrounding countries has both made our entire family much more conscious of international issues and has made international travel a real passion for our daughter.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. See: <http://www.tltgroup.org/Thanksgiving2003.htm> where you will find some nice quotes, some thoughts about community, and several people's favorite stuffing recipes. Our family holds an Annual Extra Thanksgiving Feast on the weekend after Thanksgiving because we need an extra time to get together and share thanks and food with some good friends and extended family -- and try more of those stuffing recipes than we can fit into our official Thanksgiving on Thursday.
I worked for ten years at EDUCOM (now Educause), where I was generally considered the least technologically capable person in the entire organization. I then moved to One Dupont Circle, where I was introduced as a “computer genius.” Technology misfires can get me more upset, angrier than anything else in my entire life – except for my middle son when he was between the ages of 11 and 16 (he’s now much older and I enjoy him thoroughly. He's the one who got married, and his wife is also quite wonderful).
I’ve had a very long roller coaster of a week, and am now ready for at least one full day off this weekend. [This sentence can apply on any day of any week. Friday always arrives too late.]
On January 1, 2003 the TLT Group was five years old, and we moved our offices to a building much closer to some of our homes (me, Steve Ehrmann, and Sally Gilbert) in Takoma Park, where we have windows that we can open. Of course, we miss the closer contact with many of the friends and conveniences available at One Dupont Circle - especially AAHE - but we're only a 20 minute Metro ride away. We were saddened to learn of the termination of AAHE this month!
I'm very proud that we've managed to survive and grow during this turbulent period. Now we almost know what we're doing!
2006 is the year when I look forward to figuring out how to work with many of you and with information technology to convert "Dangerous Discussions" into realistic solutions and to our new "Clothing the Emperor" online series. I'll continue wondering about and exploring "Education, Technology, and the Human Spirit" and "Building Community and Connectedness Online and On Campus." What do those phrases mean to you?
I’m very grateful for the opportunities I have for working with hundreds of wonderful people – the “Compassionate Pioneers” -- in higher education and elsewhere who share my commitment to building more “nurturing communities.” Wherever we can. When possible, through improving teaching and learning with technology. I'm especially grateful for the continuing support and patience of Steve Ehrmann and Sally Gilbert - who know better than anyone how my deep commitment to collaboration is based in part on how difficult I find to do it myself!