This new academic year is even more fantastic than previous ones for me in that Al Akhawayn University has just promoted me to full professor.
When I first joined this institution, fresh out of a PhD, I envisioned a long-term commitment to it. Teaching geography in Morocco placed me inside my field of study, Muslim Africa (Morocco was the closest I could get to Senegal and still have a job), and I already had cultural roots in this marvelous country. I was certainly hoping things would work out well for me here, and work out well they have. Hired as assistant professor in 1998, I was promoted to associate professor in 2006, and now this ultimate stage in my academic career. Hard work, teaching, service, research, publication and collegiality have all played a role. But, what the self assessments and peer evaluations in the promotion process don’t take into account is the sheer fun and excitement of this life. Whatever else the experience has been, it has certainly never been boring. In particular, constantly working with young adults heading into working lives of their own maintains my enthusiasm for what I do. At the very least, teaching to 20 year-olds has kept me from suffering generational disconnect; over the years I have had to update my in-class pop culture references from Madonna and the Y2K bug to Lady Gaga and Pokemon Go.
I am very happy to have been promoted to tweedy old professor. While I get the feeling that it will be all down hill from here, I have been assured by those who have preceded me that this is not the case. I will let you know.