Life Before Paradise

I grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut (home of Holyland USA, the Playmates, Annie Leibovitz, Rosalind Russell and George Metesky), a once-great industrial city that was slowly rusting away in the '60s. I tunnelled my way to freedom with a scholarship to WPI and never moved back. By my senior year, I knew for sure that Electrical Engineering wasn't for me. So, after graduation, I joined the Peace Corps and taught math on Bonthe, Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone for two years.

On my return, I landed a position as a very junior administrator working on a unique curricular change effort at my alma mater, WPI. Our mission was to develop projects and programs designed to broaden the experience of engineering undergraduates -- to "humanize" technologists. We set up a satellite center in Washington, D.C. and organized projects in which students worked with agencies like EPA and HUD to analyze the societal effects of various technologies. It was probably at this point that I became intrigued with the systematic design of instruction. I wanted to know why some of the things we tried worked and others didn't. That led me to IDD&E Department at Syracuse University, and directly from there to San Diego in 1980.