Mike Blum received an unexpected phone call from President Reveley a few weeks ago. His initial response was skepticism. “I thought it was a prank,” he remembers. After quickly realizing that it was in fact the President of the College on the phone, Blum's subsequent concerns ranged from mundane (“Does he have a Blackboard question?”) to fearful (“Am I in trouble?”).
Turns out he had absolutely nothing to worry about.
Each year, the William & Mary faculty select a staff member they feel demonstrates exemplary service to the College and President Reveley was calling say that Blum, who works in W&M IT as Senior Academic Technology Specialist, was that staff member—this year's recipient of the Duke award.
What’s so special about Mike Blum and the work he’s doing? Well according to him, not much. Referring to the professors he collaborates with in Modern Languages, Blum claims that this honor is “just as much about them and what they are good at.” But we at IT (and the professors that nominated him too, we suspect) believe Mike is downplaying his contributions, which include teaching a one-credit practicum on Russian animation in our Modern Languages department and co-presenting research with Hispanic Studies Professor Arries at a conference in January.
Mike Blum knows firsthand just how much information technology can potentially shape course curriculums and enrich the experiences of students and professors. “I have the best job on campus,” he says.
With that kind of enthusiasm, it’s no wonder our faculty members trust Blum to help them teach and research. They know he’s just as passionate about academics as they are.