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Building Connections Between Student and Academic Affairs One Person at a Time International Assessment and Retention Conference June 11-15, 2008 Donna Vinton, Ph.D. Director of Academic Assessment University of Northern Iowa
A Quiz • Name two academic departments that share an interest/concern with your office. • Select an academic department and identify two current goals or challenges for that department. • Identify specific areas of research or teaching expertise for two faculty members on your campus.
Goals For This Session • Highlight reasons for building effective lines of communication and relationships with faculty • Explore ways student affairs staff can familiarize themselves with specific and general faculty interests and concerns and with individual faculty members • Examine ways that individual student affairs staff members and departments and offices can build connections with faculty outside of joint undertakings
Why Build Connections? To Enhance and Expand Student Learning
Seamless Learning Environments Students: • Take advantage of learning resources both inside and outside of the classroom • Use their life experiences to make meaning of material introduced in classes, laboratories, and studios • Apply what they are learning in class to their lives outside the classroom. (Kuh, 1996, p. 136) To create such an environment, “collaboration between students, faculty, and student affairs professionals is essential.”(Kuh, 1996, p. 145, italics and color added)
Collaboration (1) working toward a common goal or mission, (2) equal voice of involved parties, (3) joint planning, and (4) active communication that results in creation of collaborative ventures. (Kezar, 2003, p. 10, on the definition of collaboration used in a national study of faculty-student affairs collaboration conducted in 1999-2000)
Barriers to Collaboration • Traditional separations among academic disciplines and departments • Lack of rewards for faculty participation in partnerships • Significant turnover in student affairs staff • Budget and reporting structures that limit scopes of operation • Cross-cultural communication issues (Martin & Murphy, 2000, pp. 11-12.)
Fundamental Aspects of Alliances • “They must yield benefits for the partners, but they are more than just the deal. They are living systems that evolve progressively in their possibilities. Beyond the immediate reasons they have for entering into a relationship, the connection offers the parties an option on the future, opening new doors and unforeseen opportunities. • “Alliances that both partners ultimately deem successful involve collaboration (creating new value together) rather than mere exchange (getting something back for what you put in). Partners value the skills each brings to the alliance. • “They cannot be "controlled" by formal systems but require a dense web of interpersonal connections and internal infrastructures that enhance learning.” (Kanter, 1994, pp. 96-97. Color added for emphasis.)
Strategies For Creating Change • Structural Planning, assessment, incentives, rewards, stakeholder analysis and engagement, leadership, strategy, restructuring, and reengineering (Kezar, 2003, p. 6) • Cultural
Culture and Organizational Change “Since culture is a shared phenomenon, creating change needs to be a collective process . . . . In other words, if a leader changes his or her vision, this is not enough to constitute change . . . . People throughout the entire organization must change their visions. . .” (Kezar, 2003, pp. 5-6. Color added for emphasis.)
Mental Models and Change “One thing all managers know is that many of the best ideas never get put into practice. Brilliant strategies fail to get translated into action. Systemic insights never find their way into operating policies. A pilot experiment leads to better results, but widespread adoption of the approach never occurs. “We are coming increasingly to believe that . . . new insights fail to get put into practice because they conflict with deeply held internal images of how the world works [mental models], images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting.” (Senge, 1994, p. 174. Color added for emphasis.)
Mental Models, continued Mental models can be simple generalizations such as “people are untrustworthy,” or they can be complex theories, such as my assumptions about why members of my family interact as they do. But what is most important to grasp is that mental models are active—theyshape how we act. . . . Why are mental models so powerful in affecting what we do? In part, because they affect what we see.(Senge, 1994, p. 175. Color added for emphasis.)
Collaboration Begins With How We See “The Other” How do we see and understand faculty . . . • Activities • Values • Challenges • Frustrations • Decision making processes
Department or Office Web Pages • Faculty biographies • Program information • Clubs and organizations • Awards • Scholarships • Current news • Etc.
Connecting With Departments and Faculty Members Ask a faculty member to share his/her research at a department meeting. Attend open houses or visit information tables for academic departments, and ask questions and engage in conversation. Help make connections—between faculty members and students, students and academic organizations, academic departments/faculty with community resources, etc.
Faculty Committees • Search tool on the college/university web page (e.g., faculty committees, academic committees) • Faculty senate/council web site • Faculty handbook • Faculty contract
Admission and Retention Advisory and Liaison Committee to the Department of Military Science Art and Architecture Committee Awards Competition Coordinating Committee Commencement Committee Committee on Curricula Council on Teacher Education Educational Policies Commission Facilities Planning Advisory Committee Faculty Strategic Planning Committee Human Rights Panel Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Council Liberal Arts Core Committee Merchant Scholarship Committee Planning and Policy Committee for Information Technology Presidential Scholars Board Student Academic Appeals Board University Writing Committee What Connections Do You See?
Connecting Through Committees • Find out if committees include non-faculty members and see if you can join. • Share relevant data or information from your office or field of expertise. • Invite faculty to speak on topics of shared interest.
Faculty Accomplishments • Alumni magazine or newsletters • Department or college newsletters • “Accomplishment” newsletters • Department web pages
Connecting Through Accomplishments • Send a congratulatory note. • Invite faculty to speak on topics of shared interest. • Share an article or other source of information. • Extend an invitation to join in a committee, project, or hiring search. • Refer students.
Lectures, Events, Workshops Where to find them: • Campus printed and electronic newsletters • Fliers • Campus mail • E-mailed announcements • Department web pages
BOOMERS AND MILLENNIALS: "Boomers & Millennials: Implications for Multi-Generations in the Classroom, Workforce, Military and Community Involvement" will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Friday, April 4, in the Maucker Union College Eye Room. Speakers are Steve Carignan, assistant vice president for Educational & Sports Events Center Management; Lt. Col. Chris Lukasiewicz, department head, Military Science-ROTC; and Mackenzie Grondahl, interim community partnerships coordinator, Wartburg College. Sponsors are the American Democracy Project, Leadership Studies Program and Student Leadership Center.
"NEWS TALK" TO DISCUSS MANIPULATION OF PUBLIC OPINION: "News Talk" will discuss the different strategies people use to try to manipulate public opinion and even to persuade others in everyday arguments and conflicts at home and at work from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 5, at University Book and Supply. The event is free and open to the public. News Talk is organized by UNI’s American Democracy Project (Provost's Office) and University Book and Supply and co-sponsored with UNI Communication Studies, Educational and Student Services, Leadership Studies Program, and Student Leadership Center.
HONORS RESEARCH CONFERENCE: Senior honors students and presidential scholars will present their thesis research projects on Saturday, April 19. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Lang Hall second-floor auditorium lounge with continental breakfast and a welcome by Bev Kopper, associate provost. Following will be seven concurrent sessions of research presentations in Lang Hall, rooms 208, 211, 222 and 223. For a complete schedule, visit http://www.uni.edu/honors/conference.shtml. Presentations are open to the public.
LECTURE ON MAKING LITERATURE MATTER: James O'Loughlin, assistant professor, English language and literature, has been selected for the 2008 University Book and Supply Award, from CHFA. Rose Lorenz, president, University Book and Supply, and Reinhold Bubser, dean, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, will present the award at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 23, in the CAC 108. O'Loughlin's presentation, "Mix It Up," will focus on teaching strategies designed to make literature matter for a student population living in a media-saturated era. This event is free and open to the public.
Town Hall Meeting: Scholars for Educational Excellence & Diversity 2 pm - 3:15 pm, CME (109 Maucker Union). An opportunity for faculty, staff and students to ask questions of expert on diversity in higher education, Dr. J. Herman Blake, Vice President of Scholars for Educational Excellence & Diversity, Inc. Come plug into the discussion and gain knowledge! Sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Education
American Democracy Project (a program of the Provost’s Office) • Workshop: Democracy, Civic Awareness, and Civic Engagement • Wednesday, May 14, 2008 • Goals: • To understand the higher education context for civic engagement. • To understand issues regarding civic engagement. • To identify ideas for use in the classroom. • To identify projects that will engage students with the community. • To connect people who are doing community and civic engagement work. • Workshop Leader: • Eric Fretz—Director, Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, University of Denver
Connecting Through Lectures, Events & Workshops • Engage in conversation. • Ask questions or request related resources. • Share related resources. • Note related activities/interests/information from your office. • Enjoy the moment together
From Individual Connections to Seamless Learning Environments
What You Can Gain From Making Connections • Understanding of key issues, challenges, concerns for faculty and academic affairs • Knowledge of key players • Opportunities to network, open formal or informal conversations, and envision joint projects • Seeing relationships between student affairs and academic affairs issues, concerns, & data needs • Expanded resources for understanding student experiences on campus • Resources to share with students • Etc.
“To build [‘seamless learning’ environments], faculty and student affairs professionals have been willing to take risks and be vulnerable, seek connections and relationships, display empathy, and challenge their own assumptions, perceptions, and myths. They have been open to examining and renegotiating their own attitudes and assumptions about each other and are comfortable with the conflict that emerges from welcoming diverse perspectives and voices into their classrooms, educational programs, meetings, and informal conversations. In doing so, faculty and student affairs professionals have willingly constructed a truly collaborative learning environment in which all members take part.” (Engstrom & Tinto, 2000, p. 425, color added for emphasis)
“[The] primary leverage for any organizational learning effort lies not in policies, budgets, or organizational charts, but in ourselves. Even creating desired results is not a sign of learning. If you strike it rich by winning the lottery, you have achieved something extraordinary, but you have not expanded your capacity to win future lotteries. . . . . “Changing the way we interact means redesigning not just the formal structures of the organization, but the hard-to-see patterns of interaction between people and processes. . . . In the end, the premise that organizations are the product of our thinking and interacting is powerful and liberating. It suggests that individuals and teams can affect even the most daunting organizational barriers.”(Senge, Kleiner, Roberts, Ross & Smith, 1994, p. 48)
Seamless Learning Environments Start with Each of Us From individual connections To campus-wide collaboration
Resources Engstrom, C. M., & Tinto, V. (2000). Developing partnerships with academic affairs to enhance student learning. In M. J. Barr, M. K. Desler, & Associates (Eds.), The handbook of student affairs administration (pp. 425-452). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Kanter, R. M. (1994). Collaborative advantage: The art of alliances. Harvard Business Review, 72(4), 96–108. Kezar. A. (2003). Achieving student success: Strategies for creating partnerships between academic and student affairs. NASPA Journal (Online), 41(1), 1-22. Kezar, A. (2003). Enhancing innovative partnerships: Creating a change model for academic and student affairs collaboration. Innovative Higher Education, 28 (2), 137-156. Kezar, A. (2006). Redesigning for collaboration in learning initiatives: An examination of four highly collaborative campuses. Journal of Higher Education, 77(5), 804-838. Kuh, G. D. (1996). Guiding principles for creating seamless learning environments for undergraduates. Journal of College Student Development, 37(2), 135-148. Martin, J., & Murphy, S. (2000). Building a better bridge: Creating effective partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 443 074) Senge, P.M. (1994). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday. Senge, P. M., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R. R., & Smith, B. J. (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.