I’ve been there only the past two, but what an amazing ten years CMS has had. For the past few months, I’ve been putting together a history of the program, which is available at cms.mit.edu and on Scribd:
On Friday we held an all-day symposium, featuring about 40 alums, this year’s ten graduate students, and dozens of guests from around MIT. But the highlight by far was on Thursday, when we welcomed back former CMS director Henry Jenkins for a Communications Forum, where he spoke of a career at MIT. I happened to be sitting directly behind the Dean, who briefly shrank to almost nothing when Henry’s first words were, “I hate this fucking place!”, not realizing he was citing the old MIT student slogan (since adopted by other institutions, including the military service academies).
Among the basic good things about my new job–decent pay, very good health care, challenging work–I keep having totally random connections to people around me. Today’s is that it turns out the woman who works in the office across the hall from mine lives in the same building as me (she teaches in the writing program, so she really only comes in when she has to meet with students). My neighborhood isn’t as tight-knit as my friend Nancy’s in the Bronx–you know, how she shares DNA with everyone on her block–so it’s really great to have a social connection to someone else in the building that I’d see in another context.
It’s been an awesomely hectic first four days at MIT. I’ve spent a total of maybe two hours at my desk, while the rest has been spent with the new Comparative Media Studies students at their orientation and getting a walk-through about CMS’s and the C4 (Center for Future Civic Media) communications efforts.
CMS’s co-director Henry Jenkins had everyone over for dinner last night, and I even got a chance to bring my fiancee along to meet folks. Turns out that, like, half of everyone there had a public television connection, so she had as much a blast as I did.
It’s a big step in the right direction—lots more web and design work with a larger group of people, including undergrad and graduate students—but it’s about as easy leaving Tufts as it was leaving Houghton Mifflin, i.e., not very. Both set me up for seizing really good opportunities, and that is, after all, why I’m leaving for MIT now.
My last day at Tufts is August 22nd, so I’m keeping myself under the gun to finish a revamped website for the Feinstein Center before then. I start right back up at MIT on Monday the 25th.
And while I’m really excited to focus on web-based work, I will miss getting to edit and design lovely reports like this: