I’ve now racked up about three hours trying to fix an issue on campus. I initially tried about six months ago where I gave up after about half an hour because of funding. The issue has come back as a student has suggested a brick might work just as well. Yes, it’s an issue that could be solved with a brick.
There are two display cabinets with locked glass fronts in a corridor of a heavily used learning space on campus. They are a great opportunity to promote what units are available, possible internships, and generally support for graduation. In fact, that is what they contain. It’s just from Semester 2, 2007.
Turns out, as Jenny has pointed out to me, if no one owns the problem, no one will fix it. These cabinets used to belong to one faculty who has since moved out of the building (and lost the key). The building is now a shared space and no one can tell me who ‘owns’ the cabinets. All I can say, is after another two or so hours, I have found someone to pay for the locksmith to come out and I have filled in the hard copy form that I then had to scan to attach to the electronic form which is how I log the request. I eagerly wait to see how many more hours I will spend trying to fix a problem no one wanted to own but a student was willing to fix with a brick. See, the old information really annoys them. It annoys me too, but I don’t have to look at it so I wasn’t owning the problem. This time, I owned it because, well, someone should.
This was a big week. Not just in events or workload (although it was) but also ideas. Quality is not black and white, it is full of subtleties and nuances all depending on your world perspective. This was my realisation this week (bit slow on the uptake sometimes).
I have created an email list of more than 100 people to help implementation. I did this because I believe that success in quality will come from the ground up. I have this belief because my world view is based on the assumption of perverse incentives. Currently the incentives for the university are not on quality courses but on research and financial aspects. This doesn’t mean the university is not interested in course quality, it just has incentives schemes encouraging different business needs. So, my chances of improving course quality comes from two possible positions:
- Change the incentives (yes, well, Buckley’s and none there I’m afraid)
- Provide intrinsic incentives for academics to come together on course quality
Number two is possible as academics already want to provide quality education (on the whole). The question is how to create an environment where this is possible for them to do and they are not coming up against barriers all the time.
All this leads me to my email list. Today it is an email list, I’m hoping tomorrow it will be a network of motivated, supported individuals working towards quality course outcomes for students. I want to understand the world through their eyes and enable them to meet their objectives. Now, if only I could change the extrinsic incentives I might be onto something!
Recently I attended a session with a very clever person on blogging. He explained how he had started, and now maintains his blog. It was in relation to research rather than work (although for him they are one and the same) but the principles are the same for me and this blog.
He said “You have to blog regularly. It doesn’t matter how frequently but it has to be regularly.” I have not abided by this instruction and upon reflection I think it’s a policy I should adopt.
This blog was to help me think through and manage a change management process. Blogs are helpful for remembering things you’ve done, achievements, set backs and generally reflecting. Turns out that the change management process I was tasked with changed me more than the organisation. Something for which I am very thankful as it has enabled me to begin a new change management process with a different mind set. I am clearer in my understanding of context and ensuring I plan out for myself how I see I can achieve a good outcome and not expecting substantial ‘buy in’. I am thinking more carefully about networking, and leveraging supportive mind sets. I am seeking the ‘levers’ that can influence change, rather than assuming I know.
In light of this new approach to change management, I am going to attempt to follow the advice of the Master (thanks Michael) and blog more regularly. Time does have a habit of getting away from me, but that’s what reminders in the calendar are for, so hopefully this is new practice that will actually get in place!