August 2011

Print this page ›

August 2011

News From Joe Aldridge, USITT President

My Summer 'Vacation'

Friends, I hope that your summer is going well for you. If this is the time you are usually busy because that is what you want, then I hope that you are busy. If you use this time to re-charge your batteries, I hope that you are successfully doing so. I thought that I would change the format a bit and share my experiences for the summer.

President Joe Aldridge at the computer, where he has spent most of the summer. Even when he escapes the heat of Las Vegas, his coursework is always close at hand.

Photo/Barbara E.R. Lucas

For the past six summers, I have spent July at a high school Shakespeare camp in the hill country of central Texas, not too far from either Austin or San Antonio. This summer, however, the economy hit the organization pretty hard and they didn’t receive the anticipated funding, so, I am spending my time in Las Vegas, mostly.

It is hot here, but, then again, it is supposed to be hot. It is the desert, and it is summer, for crying out loud! I do, crazy as this may sound, enjoy the heat. That is why my wife and I chose to move here 37 years ago this August. At least this summer it is a dry heat (saying that out loud in Las Vegas is punishable by imprisonment in solitary confinement with a loop of Wayne Newton’s Danke Schoen playing at a very loud volume for as long as you are imprisoned!) as opposed to the humidity in central Texas.

I am doing something that I haven’t done since 1979; I am spending my time studying, reading assignments and writing papers for a couple of classes that I am taking. I got the urge to go back to school and get another couple of degrees in a totally unrelated field and so that is what I have done. This is probably due to heat stress!

I am really enjoying the online classes and the interaction with the other “adult” learners. I will tell you, however, that this may take a bit longer than I had originally planned. It seems that I have spent the past 40+ years on the other side of the blackboard, and this being a formal student again is kicking my backside!

Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

I am mingling with folks who have little or no college education. Folks who have decided to go to college because they want to try to change their lives. Unlike some of the students that I encounter in my classroom, these folks want to learn. They are eager to read the next chapter and submit their work for peers to review and critique. It is refreshing to be back in this setting once again.

In some sense, this excitement for learning is renewing my excitement for teaching. It is also re-invigorating my commitment for volunteering with USITT. This experience reminds me of the excitement that I see from our volunteers.

As if this weren’t enough, I attended several classes at the National Labor College and have become an authorized OSHA trainer. It looks as though, once my stint in a leadership role with USITT has come to an end, I will be able to give back in another, rewarding way.

This stretch of time which looked “empty,” when it started has filled in quite nicely, and in ways which bring personal and professional growth. Not bad for a summer in “dry” Las Vegas.

Joe Aldridge

We'd like to hear your comments on this story.
Please e-mail Joe at