Two articles caught my attention last week. While they may seem unrelated, because one if from the Chronicle of Higher Education and the other Booz & Company’s Strategy+Business, they really do fit together nicely. At least for me. The first, from the Chronicle, addresses a challenge we’ve been talking about in the ECU COB for the last few years. Changes in how higher education have had a negative impact on faculty connections on campus. As we offer larger programs in more formats at different times, it’s not unusual to hear a faculty member say they have not seen their office neighbor in quite some time. One teaches on T-Th, the other on M-W-F, or morning and afternoon. Then add in online and you get the idea. It’s harder to connect with colleagues. But it is in these connections that we find our sense of being. It is the informal interactions that can make our research and teaching better. Online and internet technologies have made many parts of what we do more efficient, but, have they made them more effective?

The other article, from Booz & Co., examines how one of the chief challenges a good CEO addresses is the culture. Ginni Romney , CEO of IBM says it best, “Culture is your company’s number one asset.” While this is important for a company, I would argue, it is even more important for higher education. The article is full of insights on how to manage a culture by focusing on “The Power of Positive Urgency,” “The Right Behaviors”, and “Rational and Emotional Impact.” But where I saw the two pieces fitting together is the idea of a collective rhythm.

There are plenty of challenges in every industry. But higher education in particular is challenged on all sides. Sometimes I have to remind my colleagues why we are here as the challenges can cause us to take our eyes off of why we chose higher ed in the first place. To me it seems that finding a “collective rhythm” would help keep us moving in the same direction. Help us to pull together. It’s always easier when others are working with you. Obviously, that’s easier said than done. But many of the things I will be writing about on this blog can help bring us closer.
Collective Rhythm. All of us working together to achieve results….something to ponder.

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