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Gary Brown

The Profession: More Pressure on Faculty Members, From Every Direction - Almanac of Hig... - 2 views

shared by Gary Brown on 25 Aug 10 - Cached
  • Changes in the American professoriate’s employment patterns and types, demographics, and work life are the greatest we have seen in over half a century.
  • But averages obscure the widening salary ranges on campuses, particularly between presidents and faculty members
  • The drive toward institutional prestige that most professors consider a high priority at their four-year institutions has intensified the focus on research there.
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  • Some faculty members, permanent and contingent, are expected to cover their full salaries with grants. With the tenure bottleneck narrowing, junior faculty members are often advised to focus on research, do a reasonable job of teaching, and avoid service.
  • Faculty members report spending more than half of their time on teaching and classroom-related activities. Professors are increasingly expected to use new technologies in both distance education and on-campus courses, and to be more systematic about assessing student learning at both course and program levels.
  • The scholarship of teaching and learning, in which faculty members examine the effects of their teaching strategies, is spreading; the advent of conferences and publications marks its increasing acceptance as serious scholarship.
  • The “corporatization” of institutional administrations in the face of fiscal distress and severe budget cuts imperils faculty governance, which falls increasingly to the shrinking number of permanent tenured faculty members.
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    New realities rendered starkly.
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    Note: A "premium content" article -- you must be a paid subscriber to see it, not just a registered site user.
Gary Brown

Why Universities Reorganize - Run Your Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

shared by Gary Brown on 16 Aug 10 - Cached
  • Why is there so much faculty dissent nationwide about campus reorganization efforts—so much that proprietary organizations are now offering seminars on how to manage the damage control?
  • One answer is that change is difficult for anyone, but that seems to be especially true for academics whose training and professional lives are guided by decades-old traditions. Many faculty members find it difficult to imagine a way of doing things different from what they are accustomed to, despite the promised benefits of a reorganization.
  • Perhaps if, from the outset, more of us avoided a knee-jerk resistance to change and instead attempted to imagine the possibilities, there would be little need for campus unrest, no-confidence votes, or seminars on damage control.
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    The issue is in the news, but I'm not sure we see utility in this level of discussion. Pulse taking, in any event.
Gary Brown

Changing Higher Education: An Interview with Lloyd Armstrong, USC « Higher Ed... - 1 views

  • There are obviously real concerns that outcomes measures are measuring the right outcomes.   However, those expressing those concerns seldom are ready to jump in to try to figure out how to measure what they think is important – a position that is ultimately untenable
  • Learning outcomes risk changing the rules of the game by actually looking at learning itself, rather than using the surrogates of wealth, history, and research.  Since we have considerable data that show that these surrogates do not correlate particularly well with learning outcomes (see e.g. Derek Bok’s Our Underachieving Colleges),
  •  As Bok pointed out, to improve learning outcomes, the faculty would have to learn to teach in new ways.  Most academic leaders would prefer not to get into a game that would require that kind of change!  In fact, at this point I believe that the real, critical, disruptive innovation in higher education is transparent learning outcomes measures.  Such measures are likely to enable the innovations discussed in the first question to transform from sustaining to disruptive.
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    another executive source, but notes the critical underpinning reason we NEED to do our work.
Theron DesRosier

News: Student Data Systems, Unite! - Inside Higher Ed - 2 views

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    "Step by step, an infrastructure is emerging that would make it possible for dozens of states to share data about the students in their K-12 and postsecondary education systems, creating the equivalent of a national system of data on students' educational progress. "
Gary Brown

Improving Teaching Will Require Strategic Thinking - Letters to the Editor - The Chroni... - 1 views

  • a rather large gap between knowledge about effective teaching practices in higher education and the use of these practices in higher education.
  • the greatest gains in STEM education are likely to come from the development of strategies to encourage faculty and administrators to implement proven instructional strategies."
  • The issue is not just one of finding better ways to motivate professors. Most professors already take their teaching responsibilities seriously and are motivated to do a good job. Improving instruction will require strategic and systematic work at all levels of the educational system.
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    note the focus on systems
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    This piece raises a related issue we have been discussing at OAI -- "First, and perhaps most important, there is very little research conducted on how to promote change in instructional practices used in higher education. " How does leadership promote change? How do leaders -- such as dept chairs -- promote and manage change? How do they get, or invest in, those skills?
Gary Brown

Change Management 101: A Primer - 1 views

shared by Gary Brown on 13 Jan 10 - Cached
  • To recapitulate, there are at least four basic definitions of change management:  1.      The task of managing change (from a reactive or a proactive posture) 2.      An area of professional practice (with considerable variation in competency and skill levels among practitioners) 3.      A body of knowledge (consisting of models, methods, techniques, and other tools) 4.      A control mechanism (consisting of requirements, standards, processes and procedures).
  • the problems found in organizations, especially the change problems, have both a content and a process dimension.
  • The process of change has been characterized as having three basic stages: unfreezing, changing, and re-freezing. This view draws heavily on Kurt Lewin’s adoption of the systems concept of homeostasis or dynamic stability.
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  • The Change Process as Problem Solving and Problem Finding
  • What is not useful about this framework is that it does not allow for change efforts that begin with the organization in extremis
  • this framework is that it gives rise to thinking about a staged approach to changing things.
  • Change as a “How” Problem
  • Change as a “What” Problem
  • Change as a “Why” Problem
  • The Approach taken to Change Management Mirrors Management's Mindset
  • People in core units, buffered as they are from environmental turbulence and with a history of relying on adherence to standardized procedures, typically focus on “how” questions.
  • To summarize: Problems may be formulated in terms of “how,” “what” and “why” questions. Which formulation is used depends on where in the organization the person posing the question or formulating the problem is situated, and where the organization is situated in its own life cycle. “How” questions tend to cluster in core units. “What” questions tend to cluster in buffer units. People in perimeter units tend to ask “what” and “how” questions. “Why” questions are typically the responsibility of top management.
  • One More Time: How do you manage change? The honest answer is that you manage it pretty much the same way you’d manage anything else of a turbulent, messy, chaotic nature, that is, you don’t really manage it, you grapple with it. It’s more a matter of leadership ability than management skill. The first thing to do is jump in. You can’t do anything about it from the outside. A clear sense of mission or purpose is essential. The simpler the mission statement the better. “Kick ass in the marketplace” is a whole lot more meaningful than “Respond to market needs with a range of products and services that have been carefully designed and developed to compare so favorably in our customers’ eyes with the products and services offered by our competitors that the majority of buying decisions will be made in our favor.” Build a team. “Lone wolves” have their uses, but managing change isn’t one of them. On the other hand, the right kind of lone wolf makes an excellent temporary team leader. Maintain a flat organizational team structure and rely on minimal and informal reporting requirements. Pick people with relevant skills and high energy levels. You’ll need both. Toss out the rulebook. Change, by definition, calls for a configured response, not adherence to prefigured routines. Shift to an action-feedback model. Plan and act in short intervals. Do your analysis on the fly. No lengthy up-front studies, please. Remember the hare and the tortoise. Set flexible priorities. You must have the ability to drop what you’re doing and tend to something more important. Treat everything as a temporary measure. Don’t “lock in” until the last minute, and then insist on the right to change your mind. Ask for volunteers. You’ll be surprised at who shows up. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they can do. Find a good “straw boss” or team leader and stay out of his or her way. Give the team members whatever they ask for — except authority. They’ll generally ask only for what they really need in the way of resources. If they start asking for authority, that’s a signal they’re headed toward some kind of power-based confrontation and that spells trouble. Nip it in the bud! Concentrate dispersed knowledge. Start and maintain an issues logbook. Let anyone go anywhere and talk to anyone about anything. Keep the communications barriers low, widely spaced, and easily hurdled. Initially, if things look chaotic, relax — they are. Remember, the task of change management is to bring order to a messy situation, not pretend that it’s already well organized and disciplined.
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    Note the "why" challenge and the role of leadership
Gary Brown

Official Reuven Carlyle Blog - 5 views

  • The institutional establishment has too much control over higher education. There is a profound disconnect, in my view, between those who benefit and need access to opportunity in higher education and those who run the show
  • Is a tenured professor or subject matter expert with credentials—as defined by some distant institutions or organization—really the very best person to teach? Perhaps but only if they have the soul of a teacher!
  • As a general rule the institutions of higher education hold firm, despite our rhetoric, to rigid models of teaching and learning. Radical, disruptive debate about systems change is great in theory, tough in reality when you have to live and die by the marketplace of ideas.
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  • Which means the day is coming—sooner than many people think—when a great deal of money is going to abruptly melt out of the higher education system, just as it has in scores of other industries that traffic in information that is now far cheaper and more easily accessible than it has ever been before. Much of that money will end up in the pockets of students in the form of lower prices, a boon and a necessity in a time when higher education is the key to prosperity. Colleges will specialize where they have comparative advantage, rather than trying to be all things to all people.”
  • Instructors with the spirit of education inside of them drive our learning
  • What would your life be like if you went from high school into a customized, personalized, targeted program of learning—from the fancy UW programs to a welding shop anywhere—that was right for you as an individual?
  • I don’t know the answers anymore than anyone else. But I feel we have hit a tipping point where the pain and cost to our society and our future of not asking these questions has become too high
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    I blog to watch--and to comment upon
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    Thanks for your summary. From Nils' posts, I knew about the blog but your excerpts and recommendation lead me to see it in a new light.
Gary Brown

On Hiring - Redefining Faculty Roles - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

  • aculty duties and expectations have diversified and become more complex, but there clearly has not been a concomitant change in the traditional expectations for faculty performance.To take one example: at many institutions, assessment programs have added substantial burdens to faculty members, who must both plan and execute them. I suspect, though I do not know, that such additional burdens are heavier at teaching-oriented colleges and universities that also have higher standard teaching loads than more research-oriented institutions. There's also increased pressure on faculty members to involve undergraduate students in research, an initiative that takes various forms at various institutions but that is prevalent across institutional types.
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    lamenting the increased burden involved in changing faculty roles, but misses the implications of SoTL and synergies. It is not more work but different, but communicating that vantage is our challenge.
Peggy Collins

Ten Things I (no longer) Beli... - 0 views

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    From the 2 Steves at TLT Group - a series of blog posts are linked from this table view of 10 things they no longer believe about transforming Teaching & Learning with Technology. The right part of the table includes a summary of what they believe and suggest today.
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