Tag: farewells


So, I guess this is goodbye– for now at least, for a while.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be officially joining the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been going through AAAS orientation, a program designed to introduce scientists to Washington.

This fellowship process has been quite the experience. I’m in a class of over 180 fellows–all Ph.D.’s in the sciences–who will be joining various agencies of the federal government as well as Congressional offices. There are a few social scientists, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only “political scientist” in the group. Most of my fellow fellows come from bench science, and are learning how Washington “works.” I as a political science type ostensibly already know this. The irony is rich, though, as our discipline teaches “politics” and then doesn’t understand why politicians tend to ignore our “scientific” policy advice. My week has been quite the clash of two syllabi: Intro to Political Behavior meets Intro to Research Methods.

For any of you looking for a fantastic way to spend a year (or two!) in government, I’d highly recommend checking this fellowship. While Dan’s is the one that gets all the accolades in our field (and Dan certainly deserves accolades for it), the AAAS fellowship does essentially the same thing. We’re in need of some more social scientists in the program! AAAS is tremendously supportive of its fellows, and the mission of this fellowship is to better connect science and policy. Its a goal I support, even as a “scientist” who studies policy.

As I depart the blogosphere for a prolonged hiatus, I’d like to thank everyone here at the Duck for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful community. When I started blogging, it was at the suggestion of my then teaching assistant (who I am proud to now call a colleague) who told me blogging was much cooler than discussion boards on Blackboard. As it turns out, I really like blogging. But, I think, one of the reasons that I enjoy it so much is this site and this community–a fantastic group of readers and commenters.

As for me, my future is a lot less clear. For the next year I’ll be at State. AAAS Fellowships come with an option to renew for a second year, and that is a very real possibility for me. As loyal readers know, I have mixed feelings about our field and profession. I loved my time as a scholar and professor. But, I did so from a non-tenure track position, working on yearly contracts and picking up an administrative job to maintain my position. I enter the policy world without a spot in the academy waiting for me to return. At this point, I can honestly say that I have no idea where I will go once this fellowship ends. That’s scary, but also exciting.

So, goodbye. For now at least.


SIgning off

For reasons I noted when I introduced our new bloggers, I will be suspending blogging activities for about a year. I just signed the forms that indicate my agreement to take a one-year position with the powers-that-be, so it seems like the right time to cease blogging.

Before I go, I’d like to thank our readers and my co-bloggers for making writing here so much fun. I don’t have anything profound or insightful to impart, but I feel like I should write a few more words before I go on (hopefully) long-term hiatus.

I started the Duck of Minerva in May of 2005. I’d been blogging anonymously, largely out of fear motivated by all the discussion of blogging as a net negative on one’s academic career. But I ultimately decided that if Georgetown would deny me tenure for blogging, then I didn’t want to be at Georgetown. Besides, if anyone wanted to paint me as an unserious academic, I already had a big fat targetfor them under production.

I consider the Duck of Minerva a success. It has never joined the “big leagues” of academic blogging, but we’ve developed what I hope others view as a quality niche blog. We even occasionally get called up from the minors.

But regardless of its reputation, the Duck has provided me with a community of virtual friends and sparring partners, most of whom I never would have connected with otherwise. I consider this the most rewarding aspect of blogging. That community expands and contracts over time; some ties fray while others go stronger. But those ties exist at all only by virtue of the activity.

Before I sign off for what may prove a very long time, I’d like to extend special appreciation to those who supported the Duck in its early days, including Henry Farrell (who seems to take all new academic bloggers under his wing), Daniel Drezner, Marc Lynch, Rob Farley of LGM, Mark of Zenpundit, the guys at Coming Anarchy (who re-designed our banner), and any number of people I’ve left out due to an inconsistent memory and a desire to just get this over with.

Bye all. Even if things work out and I don’t post again until next September, I’ll be hanging around hoping to get a contact buzz.


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