In the serendipitous way life works, in recent weeks the "refresh" notion has threaded its way to center stage in my mind. So that's our theme, inspired by a book by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and several conversations and/or meetings I've had with many of you.
Speaking of stage, let's set it by watching Satya talk about his new mission for Microsoft. Little would he know as he wrote his book (or maybe he did) how Facebook would soon be called to account for its own "soul" as he formulated his plan to locate Microsoft's. It's a good book, and a reminder that from time to time, we need to hit refresh, or risk losing what's important to, and for us.
The March 1st Faculty Meeting organized by David Agoff emphasized a “refresh” in approaches to teaching and class management. Discussions like this supports the questions we're all asking and trying to answer: “Are you, yourself a first-generation college graduate?” “How do we best instruct this generation of students?” “Is smartphone dependency disrupting the learning environment?”
Always, there is the follow up: So, what do we do? Which is what makes meetings like the one David organized so important.
I was only able to make the last 20 minutes of it. I don’t have official minutes or notes, but at least one key point raised while I was there deserves careful attention.
Kim Hinrichs discussed his recent conversation with a campus counselor helping students deal with anxiety, who noted the stressful impact of constant smartphone use. The way Kim described it, the phone is, metaphorically, the “eye that sees everything, that’s always on you, that you are constantly looking back at.” It stands to reason that dealing with such a protracted gaze upon ourselves and our attention affects us significantly. Kim’s anecdote led me to deeper thought on my own classroom policies.
Please consider responding to the anonymous poll placed at the bottom of this issue, asking about your current in-class policy on smartphone use. You'll be able to tabulate responses as they happen. Hopefully they will, and responses will encourage more insight and discussion, maybe for the next blog edition.
The Last Teaching Session: We Say Farewell to Dean Judy
She admitted she hadn’t taught a classroom in a while, but you wouldn’t have guessed that to hear Judy address two of my classes on her last day at Chico State. Many of you know that Judy is headed for New Guinea to work with AACSB to support educational initiatives for native populations. As a world traveler familiar with developing nations, Judy shared insights with my Managing for Sustainability students, who had recently studied the effects of major corporations and resource exploitation on Papua New Guinea. Addressing education is a big step toward helping everyone concerned. Her talks left me with so much food for thought that I asked her to consider keeping us updated as she “hits refresh” in her own life’s journey. Here are a few points she made that inspired the students:
I wonder if that’s how Judy came to her position here with us at the COB? Think about it—works for just about everyone in my world. Judy warned the students “I am used to teaching statistics,” but we are still thinking about what she said, and all that it means in terms of the vision, courage, motivation, and deep ethic it takes for anyone to carry on along the journey ahead. Be hungry for the next step, she told us. Welcome whatever the day brings.
We’ll miss Judy and all she brought to us. Lots of lessons there, particularly the difference between “I’m awake” and “I am eyes,” which inspires us to take life in. I hope she keeps in touch with us all.
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