The academic career is broken  — from chronicle.com by Hannah Leffingwell

Excerpt:

We are in the midst of a crisis in academe, to be sure, but it’s not an economic crisis. It’s a crisis of faith. The question is not just whether our institutions pay faculty fairly, but whether any wage is worth the subservience and sacrifice that modern higher ed requires. Too often, colleges perceive themselves as voluntary, meritocratic institutions dedicated to a “higher” moral purpose. Or, as one of the characters in Babel puts it: “The professors like to pretend that the tower is a refuge for pure knowledge, that it sits above the mundane concerns of business and commerce, but it does not.”

Have these strikes solved the central paradox of academe: a capitalist institution that claims it is above capitalism while exploiting students, faculty, and staff for financial gain? No, they have not.

It gives me no pleasure to say that the system I have dedicated my entire life to is broken — that it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Also related to careers and higher education, see:

36% of higher ed supervisors are looking for other work, study finds — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak

Excerpt:

Over a third of higher education supervisors, 36%, are likely to look for a new job in the next year, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, CUPA-HR. And only 40% said they were interested in finding employment opportunities at their current institution.

 

What factors help active learning classrooms succeed? — from rtalbert.org Robert Talbert

Excerpt:

The idea that the space in which you do something, affects the thing you do is the basic premise behind active learning classrooms (ALCs).

The biggest message I get from this study is that in order to have success with active learning classrooms, you can’t just build them — they have to be introduced as part of an ecosystem that touches almost all parts of the daily function of a university: faculty teaching, faculty development and support, facilities, and the Registrar’s Office to name a few. Without that ecosystem before you build an ALC, it seems hard to have success with students after it’s built. You’re more likely to have an expensive showcase that looks good but ultimately does not fulfill its main purpose: Promoting and amplifying active learning, and moving the culture of a campus toward active engagement in the classroom.

From DSC:
Thank you Robert for your article/posting here! And thank you for being one of the few faculty members who:

  • Regularly share information out on LinkedIn, Twitter, and your blog (something that is all too rare for faculty members throughout higher education)
  • Took a sabbatical to go work at a company that designs and develops numerous options for implementing active learning setups throughout the worlds of higher education, K12 education, and the corporate world as well. You are taking your skills to help contribute to the corporate world, while learning things out in the corporate world, and then  taking these learnings back into the world of higher education.

This presupposes something controversial: That the institution will take a stand on the issue that there is a preferred way to teach, namely active learning, and that the institution will be moving toward making active learning the default pedagogy at the institution. Putting this stake in the ground, and then investing not only in facilities but in professional development and faculty incentives to make it happen, again calls for vigorous, sustained leadership — at the top, and especially by the teaching/learning center director.

Robert Talbert


 

Five Ways to Strengthen the Employee-Employer Relationship in 2023 — from sloanreview.mit.edu by Ally MacDonald; with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource
Organizational experts offer insights on how to make meaningful changes to engage employees in the coming year.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Before 2020, the structure of jobs evolved sluggishly and unimaginatively, despite evidence that traditional ways of working often harmed employee well-being. The past two years have provided leaders with an opportunity to rethink how their employees work. Those seizing this chance are applying an R&D mindset to how jobs are designed, with the goal of structuring work in ways that allow their employees to thrive while on the job and in their nonwork lives as well. It is these forward-thinking leaders who will make 2023 the most innovative year ever when it comes to how people work.

From DSC:
I like the idea of an R&D mindset. Very nice.

 

From DSC:
How to retain talented staff members should be high on every administrator’s 2023 agenda.” This highlight from a recent email from The Chronicle of Higher Education linked to:

Unfortunately, this important item wasn’t high on the agenda in the majority of the years that I was working in higher education. I often thought that folks in higher education could have learned from the corporate world in this regard. Although even the corporate world hasn’t been doing a good job these days about treating their people well. But that wasn’t the case in my experience at Baxter Healthcare, Kraft Foods, and Wells Fargo from years ago.

Perhaps we should have more people “crossing over” between the silos that we seem to have established. That is, a person could work within higher education for 2-3 years, move over to a corporate environment/government/vocational space/other, and then works a few years there before coming back to higher education in a different capacity. Perhaps more pathways and tighter collaboration could exist in this manner.

Hmmm…design thinking…there’s got to be something here…

 

How the University of California Strike Could Reshape Higher Education — from news.yahoo.com by Katie Reilly

Excerpts:

“To have this many workers on strike is really something new in higher education,” says Rebecca Givan, an associate professor of labor studies at Rutgers, who is also president of the union for graduate workers and faculty at her university. “The willingness of these workers to bring their campuses to a standstill is demonstrating that the current model of higher education can’t continue, and that the current system really rests on extremely underpaid labor.”

The striking workers argue that their current pay makes it challenging to afford housing near their universities, in a state with one of the highest costs of living in the country. Jaime, the Ph.D. candidate, says he makes $27,000 per year as a teaching fellow and pays $1,200 in monthly rent for an apartment he shares with two roommates. (Median rent in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is about $3,000, according to Realtor.com.) “We are the ones who do the majority of teaching and research,” he says. “But nevertheless, the university doesn’t pay us enough to live where we work.”

Also relevant/see:

Hundreds of UC Faculty Members Stop Teaching as Strike Continues — from chronicle.com by  Grace Mayer

Excerpt:

The strike is shining a spotlight on a longstanding problem within higher education: Today, tenured, full-time faculty members make up a smaller percentage of university employees than they did 50 years ago, in part due to the financial pressures facing universities amid funding cuts. The proportion of other university employees, who receive less job security and lower pay, “has grown tremendously,” says Tim Cain, an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, who studies campus activism and unionization.

“There’s such stratification between the tenured full professor and a graduate student employee or a postdoc or a tutor,” says Cain. “They’re doing a great deal of the work, and the work that they’re doing in the classroom is often very similar to the work of others who are getting paid substantially more.”


Speaking of schools in California, also see:


 

I Never Wanted to Be a School Administrator. Here’s Why I Changed My Mind. — from edsurge.com by Patrick Harris II

Excerpt:

What made him so unique? Maybe it was his humility. He didn’t claim to have all the answers. Maybe it was the trust he put in me as a new teacher on his team. When I asked him which curriculum we used, he said, “I trust you to collaborate with the team and build it. I have some resources here to help us ensure that we create a scope-and-sequence for the literacy skills our students need. But we have to create it.” Maybe it was how frequently he said “we.”

Principal Williams had to answer to the school board, to our school’s executive director and to parents, but when it came down to decision-making, everything was up for discussion. I could walk into his office for anything. I felt motivated to become more involved in the school community because he made room for me.

He was flattening the hierarchy.

Cultivating a culture where every voice matters is not the quickest solution, nor is it the easiest, but my hope is that it will have a long-lasting impact at our school. The more that we flatten the hierarchy, focus our attention on building trust and talk more with one another, the better chance we have of creating schools that teachers want to stay at and that students want to learn in.

 

It’s time to redesign organized learning — from chieflearningofficer.com by Eric Albertini

Excerpt:

Organizations will need to think about three layers of learning content and access methods:

  • Thoughtfully curated by the organization for business fit.
  • Semi-curated with the learner having some control of what they learn.
  • Open for all, where the learner makes all the choices of what and how they learn.

Employee-centric learning approach. There must be a match of learning to organizational objectives as well. Non-curated, open content on platforms is great for focused and deeply aware employees but may not work for everyone, especially in cultures where self-direction is not very strong. Moreover, too much open, non-curated content, driven by non-contextual algorithms, is as detrimental to choice-making for the learner as is too little quality content.

To enable effective learning, technology must be part of a more systemic learning eco-system that includes things such as rewards (the “what’s in it for me”), building blocks from one intervention to the next and post-learning support.  

Also from chieflearningofficer.com, see:

 

Future Today Institute's 2022 Tech and Science Trends Report is now available

The Future Today Institute’s 15th Anniversary Tech Trends Report

Excerpt:

Future Today Institute’s 2022 Tech and Science Trends Report is now available. Downloaded more than 1 million times each year, FTI’s annual Tech Trends Report is a must-read for every industry. Learn the key trends impacting finance, insurance, transportation, healthcare, sports, logistics, telecom, work, government and policy, security, privacy, education, agriculture, entertainment, music, CPG, hospitality and dining, ESGs, climate, space and more. Discover critical insights. See what strategic action you can take on the futures, today.

 

From DSC:
I’m very proud of our sister Sue Ellen — who worked hard to bring this idea/vision/exhibit to reality.

Sue Ellen Christian


Kalamazoo Valley Museum explores media & its messages — from woodtv.com by Jessica Jurczak

Excerpt:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – We are constantly on the lookout for fun ideas that also involve learning and one of our go-to spots is the Kalamazoo Valley Museum! There’s a big exhibition there now called “Wonder Media: Ask the Questions!” As we all know, we’re bombarded everyday with messages from all types of media: TV, movies, social media and this exhibit encourages us to stop and evaluate some of those messages. The Kalamazoo Valley Museum also has a planetarium, and vast science and history galleries and today, we’re taking you inside!

 

Great leaders ask great questions: Here are 3 steps to up your questioning game. — from bigthink.com by Christopher J. Frank, Oded Netzer, and Paul F. Magnone; with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource
Questioning isn’t just a way to get the right answer — it’s also a means for sustaining relationships and creative thinking.

Excerpt:

Building an inquisitive team
One of the best LinkedIn profiles starts with “I am insatiably curious.” What would it take to build a team of insatiably curious, truly inquisitive people? Building an inquisitive culture involves a combination of what and how. The what is a combination of the types of questions previously outlined, and the how is the environment you create. Great leaders create great cultures. There are three basic steps to building an inquisitive culture:

  1. Start with an open-ended question.
  2. Respond, don’t react. Embrace silence.
  3. Ask a stream of questions.

Also relevant/see:

 

 


Addendum on 10/29/22:

Innovation starts with the quality of your questions — from edte.ch by Tom Barrett
In the final publication of the October throughline we explore how to build a culture of innovation one question at a time.

Snapshot
A quick synthesis of this issue to share

  • Innovation starts with the quality of your questions. Asking the right questions leads to new possibilities and innovative solutions.
  • We are often drawn to ideas because we want to fix problems; starting with an idea feels safe and more fun than starting with a problem.
  • If we want an innovative culture in our teams, we need to start with questions instead of ideas.
  • Trust and psychological safety create the culture for collective negative capability, which John Keats coined as “the ability to live with ambiguity and uncertainty.”
  • Commit to action by being aware of your need for certainty, make space for ambiguity and uncertainty in development work, and build trust by encouraging questions.

 

Higher Education in Motion: The Digital and Cultural Transformations Ahead — from er.educause.edu by John O’Brien

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

In 2015 when Janet Napolitano, then president of the University of California, responded to what she saw as a steadily growing “chorus of doom” predicting the demise of higher education, she did so with a turn of phrase that captured my imagination and still does. She said that higher education is not in crisis. “Instead, it is in motion, and it always has been.”

A brief insert by DSC:
Yes. In other words, it’s a learning ecosystem — with constant morphing & changing going on.

“We insisted then, and we continue to insist now, that digital transformation amounts to deep and coordinated change that substantially reshapes the operations, strategic directions, and value propositions of colleges and universities and that this change is enabled by culture, workforce, and technology shifts.

The tidal movement to digital transformation is linked to a demonstrably broader recognition of the strategic role and value of technology professionals and leaders on campus, another area of long-standing EDUCAUSE advocacy. For longer than we have talked about digital transformation, we have insisted that technology must be understood as a strategic asset, not a utility, and that senior IT leaders must be part of the campus strategic decision-making. But the idea of a strategic role for technology had disappointing traction among senior campus leaders before 2020.

From DSC:
The Presidents, Provosts, CIO’s, board members, influential faculty members, and other members of institutions’ key leadership positions who didn’t move powerfully forward with online-based learning over the last two+ decades missed the biggest thing to hit societies’ ability to learn in 500+ years — the Internet. Not since the invention of the printing press has learning had such an incredible gust of wind put in its sails. The affordances have been staggering, with millions of people now being educated in much less expensive ways (MOOCs, YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, other). Those who didn’t move forward with online-based learning in the past are currently scrambling to even survive. We’ll see how many close their doors as the number of effective alternatives increases.

Instead of functioning as a one-time fix during the pandemic, technology has become ubiquitous and relied upon to an ever-increasing degree across campus and across the student experience.

Moving forward, best of luck to those organizations who don’t have their CIOs at the decision-making table and reporting directly to the Presidents — and hopefully those CIO’s are innovative and visionary to begin with. Best of luck to those institutions who refuse to look up and around to see that the world has significantly changed from the time they got their degrees.

The current mix of new realities creates an opportunity for an evolution and, ideally, a synchronized reimagination of higher education overall. This will be driven by technology innovation and technology professionals—and will be made even more enduring by a campus culture of care for students, faculty, and staff.

Time will tell if the current cultures within many traditional institutions of higher education will allow them to adapt/change…or not.


Along the lines of transformations in our learning ecosystems, also see:


OPINION: Let’s use the pandemic as a dress-rehearsal for much-needed digital transformation — from hechingerreport.org by Jean-Claude Brizard
Schools must get ready for the next disruption and make high-quality learning available to all

Excerpts:

We should use this moment to catalyze a digital transformation of education that will prepare schools for our uncertain future.

What should come next is an examination of how schools can more deeply and deliberately harness technology to make high-quality learning accessible to every learner, even in the wake of a crisis. That means a digital transformation, with three key levers for change: in the classroom, in schools and at the systems level.

Platforms like these help improve student outcomes by enhancing teachers’ ability to meet individual students’ needs. They also allow learners to master new skills at their own pace, in their own way.

As Digital Transformation in Schools Continues, the Need for Enterprising IT Leaders Grows — from edtechmagazine.com by Ryan Petersen

K-12 IT leaders move beyond silos to make a meaningful impact inside and outside their schools.According to Korn Ferry’s research on enterprise leadership, “Enterprise leaders envision and grow; scale and create. They go beyond by going across the enterprise, optimizing the whole organization and its entire ecosystem by leading outside what they can control. These are leaders who see their role as being a participant in diverse and dynamic communities.”

 

 

The 5 Biggest Artificial Intelligence (AI) Trends In 2023 — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpt:

Today, the technology most commonly used to achieve AI is machine learning – advanced software algorithms designed to carry out one specific task, such as answering questions, translating languages or navigating a journey – and become increasingly good at it as they are exposed to more and more data.

Worldwide, spending by governments and business on AI technology will top $500 billion in 2023, according to IDC research. But how will it be used, and what impact will it have? Here, I outline what I believe will be the most important trends around the use of AI in business and society over the next 12 months.


Also relevant/see:


 

Creating a Culture to Support Student Voice & Choice — from techlearning.com by Matthew X. Joseph
Encouraging student voice and choice helps foster a more engaging learning environment

Excerpt:

During my time as a district and school leader, I observed and conferenced with students entering high school, and only about a third of those reported feeling engaged with their education. I believe education should provide students with meaningful learning experiences in a classroom of engaged learners.

One way to enhance student engagement is to allow for student voice. Students who feel their voices are heard are more likely to feel academically engaged and respected in the school community. In addition, students feel valued when they feel heard. Students learn for someone, not just from someone. Thus, feeling valued is essential in creating a safe culture for students to share their voice.

Providing students with multiple options for an assignment helps them choose the content that is relevant, meaningful, and exciting to them. As a result, they are a part of their own learning process, rather than having to move through assignments that are not engaging.

 

 

New Unionization, Upskilling And The Future Of Work — from forbes.com by Daphne Kis

From DSC:
I’m not sure what I think of this article as a whole, but I like the emphasis on lifelong learning! here are some relevant excerpts, for example:

In particular, workers and businesses should take this moment to partner around the issue of education and forge new agreements about employer-provided training and reskilling.

This approach, however, is inadequate to deal with the demands of today’s global information economy, which demands continual upskilling on the part of workers.

As true job security can only be generated by continued education and training, this is in the interest of all parties.

“We need to replenish skills throughout a working career, and this calls for revisiting the models and concept of lifelong learning to create the future we want.”

 

 

Is Compliance Training Killing Your Learning Culture? — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Adam Weisblatt

Excerpt:

There is a disconnect in learning and development departments in most large companies: On one hand there is an obligation to meet regulatory requirements for compliance training. On the other, there is the drive to improve business outcomes by creating a culture of learning.

These two forces can clash when expectations are not well defined.

Somewhat relevant/see:

Branching Scenario Podcast with Mark Parry — from christytuckerlearning.com by Christy Tucker
Mark Parry recently interviewed me for his podcast about branching scenarios, including how feedback is used to help learners in scenarios.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian