Strengthening Communication to Enhance Collaboration: Enlisting Allies in Service of Change in Academia
Tuesday, January 19, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Wednesday, January 20, 9:00 am-12:00 pm
The current atmosphere in North American higher education is charged with anxiety about the future. A common sensibility is that there is a need for change to meet a range of challenges to the status quo. If we are to “reverse the deepening divides and disparities in our society” as noted in the AAC&U 2016 theme, then we must first rethink how we engage with our colleagues. For example, if our own approaches to leadership, communication, and collaboration reinforce rather than alleviate status differences on our campuses, then our effectiveness in addressing societal inequality will be limited at best.
How can we intelligently lead our campuses through difficult change processes? Who can provide such leadership? There is a long history that suggests that top-down leadership has notable limitations in higher education institutions (Bolden, Petrov, & Gosling, 2008; Weick, 1976). In the Organizational Development Institute, we will offer answers based in theory and practice to both these questions.
How can educational developers take the lead on our campuses to build stronger, more authentic relationships with our colleagues across departments, units, divisions thereby sowing the seeds for successful collaborations as problems that require them emerge? Our Institute will push participants to consider points of conflict at their institutions and to identify strategies for reducing those tensions as they build authentic, productive collaborations. Participants will do this work through several carefully designed components (i.e., facilitator presentations, case study activities, skill building experiences, and individual work time). Each of these segments will provide participants support in strengthening effective communication skills, developing negotiation skills, enhancing capacity to build trust, and fostering ability to work inclusively so that they are better equipped to take the lead in enlisting allies across their institution’s units.
Coordinator of the Teaching & Creativity Center, Monroe Community College
In my role as Coordinator of the Teaching & Creativity Center at Monroe Community College, I bring a social justice orientation to my work with faculty and staff colleagues. I support faculty across disciplines and career stages as they reflect on their teaching and strive to facilitate their students’ success. I am always seeking new ways to strengthen collaborations with colleagues, especially when I can enable more productive relationships between people who offer creative ways of resolving intractable dilemmas. My recent publications applied the theory of intersectionality to the work of faculty development and appeared in New Directions for Teaching & Learning and To Improve the Academy.
Complex problems present unique challenges for people at different levels and in different fields and functions to collaborate. My interest as Senior Consultant, Academic Organizational Development both at Cornell and in my private practice, is about creating capacity for collaborative leadership in the many contexts higher education offers; helping administrators, faculty, staff and students explore, develop and sustain positive collaborations. I am driven by the belief that people are well-intended, intentional about their goals, yet often unintentional in how they interact. During my more than 20 years in organizational development, my energy continues to be devoted to guiding people to harness the power of intentional ways of behaving and communicating and my approach is joyfully experimental.
Wade E. Pickren
Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, Ithaca College
As Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at Ithaca College, my professional practice is guided by the belief that inclusive and collaborative leadership is the only effective way to address the complex, “wicked” problems of higher education. Using these tools, I work with others to create resilient organizations and individuals that have capacity for positive learning, change, and development. Deeply committed to the scholar-practitioner model, I hold a doctorate in Psychology and I am the author/editor of 8 books and numerous peer-reviewed publications. My current book project is tentatively titled, An Ecology of Resilience, and will weave together historical, cultural, and contemporary explorations of resilience.
Click here for more information about the entire 2016 AAC&U conference.