After being chair of UWTC for 11 years, it would seem like Judy Ramey would prefer her year-long sabbatical to be filled with relaxation and hard-earned quiet time. Ramey, however, doesn’t seem to be able to slow down. “My term ended July 31st, and August 1st I was on an airplane to England,” she said. During her sabbatical, Ramey traveled through England, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, and Peru.
After visiting friends and historical sites in England, Ramey went to Enschede in The Netherlands, where she spent two months visiting HCDE’s sister department at the University of Twente. “I had a great time. I talked to students and visited with all the faculty,” she said. She also had the opportunity to give a couple of presentations. At the University of Twente, she talked about the mobile user experience, and in Utrecht, for STIC (the national Dutch chapter of the Society of Technical Communication), she talked about the future of technical communication. She also went to the University of Antwerp in Belgium, where she talked about usability testing.
In September, Ramey attended the Mobile Human Computer Interaction (HCI) conference in Amsterdam and took the opportunity to visit friends in nearby cities. Even with friends, she kept busy. “I went on an all-day bicycle trip. Enschede is close enough to Germany that we set off in Holland, had lunch in Germany, and ended the afternoon back in Holland. That was great,” said Ramey. While there, Ramey also had the chance to take a few Dutch lessons.
After Holland, Ramey continued traveling through several cities along the west coast of France and toured chateaus including one, she pointed out, that was the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci.
While in Bordeaux, Ramey watched the 2008 presidential elections over the Internet. She continued down to Spain, studying some Spanish in Madrid and visiting several other cities including Seville. “I came back on December 15th, just in time for the Seattle blizzard,” Ramey recalled. She has been busy ever since. In early April, she attended the CHI conference in Boston, where she was able to attend a mobile user experience workshop. “I had a great time. It was a really good conference,” she said.
In April, Ramey went to Peru for two weeks on a trip organized by Global Partnerships, a Seattle organization that funds micro-finance organizations. While in Peru, she was able to meet management teams of two different micro-finance organizations, as well as some micro-loan recipients. During her trip, Ramey also visited Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
Beyond her extensive travels, Ramey also has been working on several projects. She worked with two former students on an article about mobile HCI, specifically focusing on mobile web. The article will be published in the International Journal of Mobile HCI in October 2009. Ramey also authored workshop papers with former students for both the Mobile HCI conference and the CHI conference. Currently, she is working with colleague Dennis Wixon of Microsoft on a book about usability engineering.
Ramey’s sabbatical ends September 15th, and she plans to remain busy. In addition to working on her book and preparing for next year’s classes, she is planning to put some time into her garden at home and do some cooking.
Next year, Ramey will teach usability testing while also managing several components of the HCDE program including the speaker series, the internship program, and LUTE. Speaking about her sabbatical, Ramey says she feels renewed and excited. “It’s been very stimulating. It’s been very busy but a different kind of busy…." --by Sophia Fong