1. TED talk of the week: Sparking enthusiasm and learning in students and yourself is a goal professors have heard about over and over. Methods, techniques and advice permeate the world of academia. But in a very personal talk, high school science teacher Ramsey Musaliam gives a new and interesting perspective on inspiring students. Watch it here.
2. Article of the week: Does the accreditation of colleges and universities really have a benefit? Do accrediting agencies actually cause schools and programs to be better, or is accreditation simply a relatively wasted periodical report that results in a meaningless accolade? In a 2010 commentary that is still relevant today, an author from a North Carolina higher education policy center argues against accreditation. Read what he says here.
3. Wild-ass thought of the week: What if your course, your department, your area of expertise, or even your institution was depicted as a movie poster? What if your program marketing video was in the form of a movie trailer? Could it be done? Could it succeed? Could you get it accomplished? Why not?
4. Self-evaluation topic for teachers: Recent research seems to indicate that first impressions about people and things occur very, very rapidly -- in seconds rather than minutes. As a teacher, what are the very first things you do on the very first day of a course? Do you concern yourself with what you wear, the exact words you say and how you say them, and how your beginning can be different from the beginning of every other class? Have you contacted each enrolled student before the class begins with some fascinating question or piece of information? Have you plotted out each minute of the first class in precise detail so that things begin exactly the way you desire? Consider this week what those first minutes will contain and how they will create a phenomenal first impression.
5. Self-evaluation topic for administrators: Think about command, control and climate creation. Is it your job to command? Nope, that’s a form of assertiveness that just doesn’t work anymore. Is it your job to control? Nope, too many balls in the air to juggle in these times. But climate creation—that is your job. To create a climate of possibility.To determine the culture you want your program, department or institution to encompass. Then…to do it. Take some time this week and consider the climate of possibility you can create and encourage. And think extra carefully about the word “possibility.
6. Shower thinking: You have an office, I hope. Colleagues and students enter that office. Is there one thing in your office that everyone who enters can look at and focus on for a few seconds or longer that causes them to say: “Wow, this is something that really makes this office interesting, unique, cool, creative, inspirational, personal, or defining? If you don’t have that one thing, get it.