I’m a professional writing and rhetoric professor at Elon University dabbling in design thinking and innovation pedagogies, a Certified Scrum Master through Scrum dot org, and the author of Agile Faculty: Practical Strategies for Managing Research, Service, and Teaching (available from the University of Chicago Press). My students (and lots of other people at this point) just call me RPR. I help faculty members in higher education maximize their work using strategies adapted from the Scrum project management framework. I believe that personal and professional vitality is more important than productivity, but also that producing our most meaningful work helps keep us vital.
When I’m not teaching, writing, or updating my Scrum board, you can find me curled up with a good book about creativity or space travel, adding motivational stickers to my paper planner, or at the barn learning dressage on a 17hh warmblood/thoroughbred/draft horse mix named Cody.
When I started our as a new faculty member, I initially struggled to manage my work and, more importantly, my priorities, so I spent much of my time chasing the immediate rather than the most valuable work. Serendipitously, while searching for a way to help my students to collaborate more effectively in my upper-level professional writing and rhetoric courses, I learned about the Scrum approach used in software development to manage complex, long-range, dynamic projects. Scrum changed not only the way I teach project-based courses but also the entire way I approach my work as a faculty member. In Agile Faculty, I share those approaches with you.
I have studied and practiced Scrum in a variety of ways over the last eight years and am a Certified Professional Scrum Master I through Scrum.org. Believing in the value of this framework, I have published peer-reviewed articles, given numerous keynotes and workshops for both faculty and students across the United States, and taken over 75 hours of training and professional development in Scrum practices and leadership. I’m also deeply interested in project-based learning, service learning, design thinking pedagogies, and the rhetorical counterparts techne and metis. Click here to view a sampling of my publications and projects.
My most recent work combines my interest in Agile and Scrum, project-based and service learning pedagogies, team teaching, “breaking” higher education, and design thinking. In the Design Thinking Studio in Social Innovation pilot program at Elon University, students take one combined immersive semester experience rather than four separate courses. After a three-week design thinking and social innovation “boot camp,” students work with an interdisciplinary team of faculty members and peers in collaboration with community partners interested in wellness in our local community to apply design thinking and Scrum to local issues. Learn more about this unique program on our website and look for future published scholarship coming soon.
The book, Agile Faculty: Practical Strategies for Managing Research, Service, and Teaching, is available from University of Chicago Press and Amazon. I am available for keynotes, workshops, and individual consultations. Please visit the Consulting page for more information, and reach out using the Contact form or emailing me at agilefaculty dot rpr at gmail dot com.