Cristián Opazo

13 Feb

As we all know, the term “innovator” is a hopelessly relative label, and therefore being characterized as one (or calling yourself one) is an invitation to navigate very treacherous waters. Sometimes, people’s reactions to something I have worked on tell me that I have made an impact on somebody’s learning, and on those happy days I come home to enjoy an entire bottle of wine in celebratory fashion. The fact that I don’t have a drinking problem proves that the days when some evidence exists that my work has been innovative or transformative are few and far between, but they have become the reason that I do what I do for a living. In other words, I don’t think of myself as an innovator, but I strive to be part of innovative educational practices as often as possible.

And how do I get involved in innovative educational practices? By collecting hats, of course, like all of you. At Vassar, I have one that says “educational technologist”, which I wear when I perform curricular design work with faculty across academic departments. Another, labeled “project manager” encourages me to create and implement educational projects such as Environmental Risks and Breast Cancer and DutchessWatersheds.org. Along with my two colleagues in Academic Computing, I organize our annual flagship event, the Faculty Forum for Teaching with Technology, which this year will take place on April 12 at the Vassar campus (you are hereby invited!) Yet another hat, one that says “adjunct faculty”, allows me to teach undergraduates the latest developments in the field of computational modeling and simulation. Recently, I also started wearing one labeled “Wikipedia Campus Ambassador”, which entitles me to work on curricular projects that involve the creation and editing of Wikipedia articles. Now, as an “Innovation Scholar” I aim to lead a broad effort in integrating the field of information visualization into the liberal arts education. I am thrilled to be part of this collective effort.

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One Response to “Cristián Opazo”

  1. Lisa Spiro February 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Great to have you in the Studio, Cristián! I like your metaphor of being called to wear different hats (reminds me of the creativity tool Six Thinking Hats), as well as your suggestion that practice–what one does– is most important in defining innovation. I’m curious how those different roles/hats inform each other.

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