Culture affects us all

First off, I never know if it’s affect, or effect, so feel free to correct me. But I do know that culture is something I’ve probably not close enough attention to in this position. I’ve been aware of the need to shift culture into the flexible and engaging space, but I don’t really think I’ve stopped to think about what I’m changing the culture from, and if change is good.

I had an excellent meeting with a wonderful academic on Friday where we spent two hours talking. The first half was about culture, and what it is in academia. The second half was about ideas for her units and developing engaging activities and assessment items. Yet again I’ve been blown away at how smart these people are.

She pointed out to me that competition is part of the academic process. You are competing for grants, for ideas, for resources. You are also competing with yourself. To publish more this year than you did last year, to improve student scores, to find something new.

With all this competition, how can academics take the time to think about collaboration, about restructuring their teaching, about learning new skills? I talk a lot about time. Change takes time. Have I given enough time to academics to think about culture, both what is here today and what should be tomorrow? Is that part of my role? Do I need more time to think more? I’ve got really busy and short on time in this job and run the risk of no thinking time. Perhaps that’s why I’m writing this on a Saturday. Perhaps it is a good thing that I love this job and don’t mind spending private time thinking about it.

Oh dear – I’ve found the job I love to do. It’s perfect. Now to get thinking!

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