Twenty-eight years ago, I joined the Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a freshly-minted PhD in Science Education, I was hired to the direct the Biology Computer Resource Center (BCRC) — a small computer lab that was both a computer classroom and drop-in space for undergraduates.

I really enjoyed the educational and technical work I did for the Department and University. The Internet was new and we built a lot of interesting and innovative educational resources. When I was hired, I had no formal teaching responsibilities, but over time I developed a number of face-to-face and online classes which offered unique learning opportunities for students.

During the pandemic, the Department closed the BCRC and my job responsibilities became solely teaching. When I was no longer obligated to spend all of my summers, breaks, and intersessions maintaining computer systems, I decided to repurpose that time for writing fiction. Since then, I’ve published several short stories and two books of fiction. And written a number more that are, as yet, unpublished.

Last year, after a long stay in the local hospital, I was diagnosed with a chronic lung condition that makes it likely I will become very ill from any respiratory infections. I’ve been working remotely since then, and I’m so grateful that the University has provided this accommodation that has allowed me to continue working. But remote work is isolating and difficult. And I’d also like to have even more time for writing fiction.

This evening, I was notified that my application to do a phased retirement over the next two years has been approved. Beginning in Fall 2024, I will teach only half time for two academic years and then fully retire. I’m looking forward to making a gradual transition into retirement and being able to devote myself more to my new creative endeavors.

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