The work I do in committees and collaboratively with my colleagues is very important to me. Though service is often maligned as time-consuming and ultimately unimportant, I take the view that without service, I would not be a good citizen in my department, in my discipline, and in my community. Perhaps it is too much to claim service as "the" most important thing we do as teacher-scholars (after all, it's not teacher-servicers, or service-researchers), but it is important daily, in the thick of things, in ways that matter to the quality and success of my environment, my friends, and my mentors.

Service is also important to me because I learn so much from what I do outside of teaching and scholarship. Often, it is the conversations that I have in and around committee assignments, departmental meetings, community gatherings, and exhibits that move me in one way or another to act, or to propose change, or to engage more deeply in the service itself.

My experiences in the military perhaps have some connection to my advocating service. As a young officer, it was the notion of "national service" that provided the big picture, the overview, the satisfaction behind what we were doing (all in the midst of incredible minutia). Agreement (either philosophically or operationally) simply was not as important as the act of service itself. That formative belief follows me still as I work to serve students, departments, colleges, universities, and disciplines.


Joddy Murray, Ph.D. | Texas Christian University | Fort Worth, TX, 76129 | Updated: 4/3/11