Old Dogs, New Tricks, and the Concept of Terminality

09/24/2015 21:17


No matter where we’ve come from – academia, global corporate, big business, rural business, not-for profit, or a combination thereof – we educators share a set of terminal ideals related to student outcomes. (My husband reminds me there is actually constant debate and no agreement regarding such ideals, but I am on deadline and he isn’t. Thus, I’ll take the position I most relate to, and have observed in my limited time teaching.)

The ultimate point for many of us is to produce capable students “fit for use” in their chosen fields of endeavor; to inspire a durable level of competence that holds its own in the face of highly variable, sometimes corrupt, and often dysfunctional conditions.

We prepare students to succeed in a world that is rich in possibility but also loaded with limits.

Yet, we’re obligated to flourish within a complex reality.

One End Point: Developing Leadership Capacity

College of Business faculty will host a panel discussion on leadership from a variety of perspectives at this year’s CELT conference, Academic Tenacity: True Grit for Learning. (For new faculty, CELT stands for the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching).

On Friday, October 9, at 10am in Colusa 100-A, Suzanne Zivnuska, Colleen Robb, Rick Hubbard and Bob Sprague will provide details On Being an Influence: Developing Leaders in Your Classroom.

Hope to see you there, and at some of the Conference’s other fantastic presentations and workshops.

Register for CELT Programs Here

Being an Influence, Part One - Making Things Happen

It’s hard to get our students motivated if we are not. COB faculty have been gathering (herding cats) to good purpose so that new, and not-so-new faculty can be supported in the many ways we need it. Here are just two of many examples I know enough about to report:

The September 16th Brown Bag Lunch Series, hosted by Hyunjung Kim, featured Jim Downing presenting a draft of a paper he is co-authoring. True to the meeting’s purpose,  attending faculty responded with enthusiasm and ideas.  “The meeting is exactly what I was hoping it to be,” said Jim. “I had some real issues in developing the paper and now I have a good direction with the next steps.  I am looking forward to the next one.” So am I!  If you don’t have the schedule down, be on the look-out for reminders from Hyunjung, sure to come soon.

On Wednesday afternoon I was sitting innocently in my office when a spontaneous combustion of lively discussion erupted from an office down our little hall in the 108 corridor. What was that? I snuck down to investigate. It was just a bunch of really engaged faculty. New lecturer Kristin Minetti explained:

“David Agoff, Carol Trivedi, Ghadir Ishqaidef and I met today to discuss the HR Simulation for the MGMT 304 course.   This is our first time with this prep, so we wanted to discuss the challenges, questions and best approaches to the simulation.  David Rahn was kind enough to come over and help us.  He gave us great advice about the budgets, length and the overall simulation process.”  

Kristin highlighted David’s thoughts on helping students to guide themselves through the learning process.  “He advised us…not to get too involved with telling the student what to do.  That way, the student will be challenged to think critically and really learn lessons.” David added: "We can't solve the problems for the students - they need to learn to solve them themselves."

Of the informal meeting’s outcome, she added, “The experience was a great reminder that help could just be an office away.  Thanks for the support!”

Old Dog Response

Even though I was only peripherally involved in the meeting Kristin described, the conversation was an important reminder to me on a few obvious, yet pervasive points. Thoughtful self-activation is what leaders engage in. We are inspired by each other and any conversation we are able to have with one another. Even in the face of challenge and disagreement, there is always something to learn.