This edition of Bridges might just as appropriately be titled Transitions.
My name is Eric Spielvogel, and in November of this past year, I joined the American Philatelic Society as its new director of education and digital content.
I join the APS after almost 20 years at Penn State as a learning designer and media specialist, serving a number of its centers, departments and colleges. These include the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the Center for Sustainability (formerly within the College of Engineering, now part of the Sustainability Institute), and most recently, World in Conversation, a NATO-supported center within the College of Liberal Arts.
In these capacities, I worked directly with faculty and academic researchers to share their knowledge, research, and stories by producing educational video and multimedia, creating and implementing effective and engaging online courses and programs, and supporting their students and learning communities, both resident and online, through classroom technologies, video conferencing, and online learning management systems (like C3a).
My path to the APS has not come through a life of philately, per se. A few months after meeting Scott English and having a brief conversation with him about the future of APS’ educational offerings, I took Scott up on his invitation to get a glimpse into the world of philately by attending the Aerophilately show held in November at the American Philatelic Center.
I recall with great clarity how, within a few minutes of entering the building, I felt as if I’d been transported to another world; a world where stamps were much, much more than just postage and pretty pictures, as I and most people I know perceive them.
The world I’d stepped into was so much more than that – stamps, and covers (not envelopes!), and all other manner of philatelic materials I’d never heard of before. And when the dealer I was chatting with randomly dipped her hand into a box of European advertising covers, and pulled out one from the town of my birth – Nuremberg, Germany – featuring one of the great things Nuremberg is known for – Lebkuchen (gingerbread) – the hook had been set!
I follow in the footsteps of the very accomplished and highly regarded Cathy Brachbill, who served the APS for five years, and whose considerable talents and energies as an educator and manager led to substantial growth in the APS’ offerings in philately-based education, teacher-training, classroom-based learning, and online education.
Cathy accomplished much by serving and balancing the needs of two quite different audiences: the very detailed and sophisticated learning needs of APS’ community of experts and deeply rooted philatelists; and the broader, topical and advocacy-driven needs of those just beginning their explorations into the hobby, both young and old.
I also feel compelled to acknowledge the contributions of Ross Jones, who took over for Cathy this past fall, while also maintaining his normal duties as head of web application and online systems. His leadership in the development of systems for data collection and analysis, media creation and distribution, and social media activity continued to help transform the APS into the more modern information and online learning-oriented organization we have today.
So, here I am, becoming acquainted with the vast resources and network of people dedicated to philately, eager to learn, and eager to serve the APS staff, membership, and potential hobbyists and enthusiasts, in continuing to grow and develop APS’ educational offerings.
I’m excited, here and now, to announce that Summer Seminar will once again return to Bellefonte this summer as a live, in-person event, from June 12 to 16 16 (see page 163). So please save the date, and look for additional information in coming months.
I really look forward to meeting as many of you as I can in the next few months, and whenever possible, collaborating with you to continue in the advancement of APS’ educational mission. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime you have questions or ideas that can help us meet this objective.