Just one more PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT post after this one.
Yes, almost time to (sigh/yea) get back to school. Watch, read, and ponder.
TED talk of the week: A poet named Rives weaves a tale of humor, history, song, and creativity. His topic: 4 a.m. in the morning. It's a clever story for summer viewing. Watch it here.
Article of the week: Looking at the issue of grade inflation, University of North Carolina Professor Andrew Perrin discusses a process known as contextual grading. Read what he says here.
Wild-ass thought of the week: A climate of unrelenting and constant change is toxic to any individual, any program, or any higher education institution. There is often a need for re-invention and renewal, but moving and changing the target and the goals constantly and relentlessly is something no quality person or program can endure. Start the new semester with discussion of change and its gradual implementation. Be vigilant that it's not too fast and too soon.
Self-evaluation topic for teachers: There are limits to the amount of responsibility and work one person can take on. Does your program and institution recognize that? Sadly, it usually works out that the more good work a person does, the more work they get to do. But make certain you look at your workload and bring a degree of selfishness to it. A person cannot simultaneously be an excellent teacher and an excellent administrator and an excellent committee member and an excellent search committee chair/member and an excellent colleague. There are limits and you need to consider your boundaries, your ability to do exceptional work, and your need to be happy at your job. It’s your career choice; think and talk about what it takes to keep you at peak performance.
Self-evaluation topic for administrators: What kind of leader are you? Are you an obedient soldier who just happens to be in a position of responsibility? Or are you an officer who leads, motivates, inspires, and wants to have a lasting impression on those who look to you for guidance and direction? Before the new semester begins, consider your style and perhaps re-invent your approaches.
Shower thinking: Keep a searchable electronic file of all motions that have been passed and defeated in your program for the last five to ten years. This prevents wheel spinning and allows faculty and administration to almost instantly look back at the motions, which created the policies relevant to any topic or issue. Also keep the same file related to the minutes of all meetings. And, find ways to keep these databases current.