Digital Leaders – Digital Faculty

I am continuing to explore the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, which looked at the challenges ahead for businesses and HR professionals. I have been looking at it from a faculty development perspective..but the sixth trend intersects both my faculty development side and my leadership education side.  As I have noted, the report is based on analysis of a survey of more than 10,400 business and HR leaders globally, and noted ten trends.  So far, I have discussed the first five trends, with the fifth in my post yesterday.

The sixth trend is on leadership disrupted, which sits nicely at that intersection I noted.  The report noted that high-performing leaders today need different skills and expertise than in generations past…and I would suggest that the same could be said of faculty.  The report noted that leadership capabilities has not kept pace with the kind of accelerating digital disruption Tom Friedman discusses in his book Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.  The report stated that these disruptive times do not call for a stronger leader, but rather a different kind of leader, “…a new breed of younger, more agile, “digital-ready” leaders.”

The report suggested that many CEOs do not understand the gravity of this issue, with 67% of executives in a recent survey stating that technology, not people, would drive greater value.  In fact, 64% saw people as a cost, not a value.  One wonders how faculty might respond to a similar survey, given the focus at many universities for research over service and teaching.

The report stated that the concept of “leader as hero” is an outdated concept that no longer scales.  Back at the end of 2015, Michele Martin discussed this concept in her post “A Deep Dive into Thinking about 21st Century Leadership” – a post that has since become assigned reading in my Creighton University Technology and Leadership course.  Michele noted that in the past, we wanted leaders who had all the answers.  This concept is flawed, and as Michele noted:

“This breeds passivity and dependency, of course–we turn our problems over to the leader and wait for him/her to figure it out. It also sets up a hierarchy of leaders and followers that leaves large numbers of people on the outside when they should be right in the thick of things. My personal belief is that everyone is a leader and that everyone’s job is to help that inner leader emerge.”

The Deloitte report aligns with Michele’s thought…that leadership is a team effort, and that organizations should recruit and internally develop leaders who can work together, complement each other, and function as a team.

Imagine a college classroom that embraced these same notions.  Faculty as host, not hero.  Faculty and students working together to learn, complement each other, and function as a learning team.  With the increasing acceleration of knowledge development, it no longer seems credible to see faculty as content experts….but rather as learning process experts.  David Weinberger in his book Too Big To Know stated:

The Deloitte report suggested new leadership capabilities necessary to succeed in this digital era:

I like this breakdown of needed transformations into the areas of cognitive (thinking differently), behavioral (acting differently), and emotional (reacting differently).  It is dated now, but I always liked the philosophies put forward by Lundin, Paul and Christensen in their 2000 book Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results.  The four basic concepts unfolded in this book – which to me seem to align with the three areas above:

  1. choosing one’s attitude,
  2. playing at work,
  3. making someone’s day, and
  4. being present.

Being present today means something quite different than it did 17 years ago…and yet, one could make the case that focusing on people is becoming even more critical in this disruptive digital age.

What would a faculty development program … or process … look like if one’s aim was to help faculty and their students choose their attitude, learn through play, make each others’ days, and be present for each other?  With the accelerating changes brought by the digital era (as well as the globalization and environmental changes Friedman adds), how should faculty … and their developers … think, act and react differently?

{Graphics: Deloitte Press, Quotefancy}

 

Course Captured in Image

We are half-way through my ILD-831 course at Creighton University on Technology and Leadership.  Over the past couple of weeks, my students have been exploring connections internal and external to their organizations, with Husband’s “wirearchy” as a lens for discussion.  We also have looked at some of the tools provided in Jane Hart’s most recent Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016.

So this morning, I am checking my blog feeds on Feedly and find this post by Jane Hart, linking to her article in Modern Workplace Learning Magazine entitled, “The Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit.”  In this article, she provided a diagram that shows the key tools a Modern Professional Learner might use in 12 different contexts – many of which appeared on her Top 200 Tools for Learning.

professional toolkit

MPL Toolkit

One could repurpose this diagram as “The Modern Leader’s Toolkit” and effectively capture the essence of my ILD 831 course.  In my course, we explore how the digital world impacts leaders and those they lead.

As one circles around the twelve different contexts – which fit well with leadership – one can easily see the integration of digital aspects of life with leadership.  Digital connections and personal productivity tools help help filter and organize the “bottomless knowledge” that Weinberger noted in Too Big To Know.  There are digital options for networking, building and engaging in online communities, and continuing both professional and personal growth through knowledge flow ware, online courses, and online knowledge repositories.  Workflow within an organization can be enhanced through collaboration apps and web conferencing.

Jane noted:

“…A Personal Learning Space lies at the heart of the Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit. It is a privately-controlled space where an individual can organise and manage his/her own learning, by recording and reflecting on experiences wherever and however they take place – in the classroom, online, in the office, in a conference or elsewhere – as well as evidence changes and improvements in her/her performance change. (It might  be termed an ePortfolio or even a Personal LMS)…”

This concept of a personalized learning space seemed to align with comments made this week by the President of Northeastern University:

“…In 10 years, according to Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, higher education will need to be much more nimble and personalized to meet students’ individual needs. But colleges and universities mustn’t only focus on the typical 18- to 22-year-old underclassman. Rather, they must embrace the notion of lifelong learning—that people of any age, and throughout their professional careers, will need new skills and competencies to evolve with the times…”

Aoun noted the disruption coming due to automation (a theme we have been exploring in ILD831), and noted that “…this reality represents a “wake-up call” for higher education, which must move rapidly to build what he called a robot-proof education that embraces lifelong learning and is nimble enough to equip people will the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to succeed in this changing landscape.”  I would suggest that this is true of most organizations, inside higher education and outside.  One cannot delegate responsibility to a training department – lifelong learning needs to be a personal responsibility.

Jane’s image captures the essence of ILD-831, but it also captures the essence of what a modern leader should be.

{Graphic: Jane Hart, Glanzman}

 

30 Day Challenge – Day 5 – New Principles

principle

One of the “fundamental truths” that has informed my teaching for the past decade has been the seminal work by Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson back in 1987 – “Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” – in which they synthesize fifty years of research to develop their seven principles.

7 PrinciplesArthur Chickering and Stephen Ehrmann updated this in 1996 with their article “Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever.”  They noted:

“Since the Seven Principles of Good Practice were created in 1987, new communication and information technologies have become major resources for teaching and learning in higher education. If the power of the new technologies is to be fully realized, they should be employed in ways consistent with the Seven Principles. Such technologies are tools with multiple capabilities; it is misleading to make assertions like “Microcomputers will empower students” because that is only one way in which computers might be used.”

Fast forward to 2014.  In the past two decades, “new technologies” have moved from desktop computing to smartphones, iPads, and Google Glasses.  The web has become ubiquitous…I now get emails from my car.

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center released “Digital Life in 2025.”  Based on survey responses from over 1,500 people, it suggests that the future world in which we will work and teach will have the web woven invisibly in our lives and those of our students; that global connectivity could lead to more relationships and less ignorance; and while a revolution might occur in education, the divide between “haves” and “have-nots” could grow.  Also, while networks might grow and become more complex, human nature is not changing as rapidly.  Fifteen themes were noted:

“More-hopeful theses

1) Information sharing over the Internet will be so effortlessly interwoven into daily life that it will become invisible, flowing like electricity, often through machine intermediaries.

2) The spread of the Internet will enhance global connectivity that fosters more planetary relationships and less ignorance.

3) The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data will make people more aware of their world and their own behavior.

4) Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially tied to personal health.

5) Political awareness and action will be facilitated and more peaceful change and public uprisings like the Arab Spring will emerge.

6) The spread of the ‘Ubernet’ will diminish the meaning of borders, and new ‘nations’ of those with shared interests may emerge and exist beyond the capacity of current nation-states to control.

7) The Internet will become ‘the Internets’ as access, systems, and principles are renegotiated.

8) An Internet-enabled revolution in education will spread more opportunities, with less money spent on real estate and teachers.

Less-hopeful theses

9) Dangerous divides between haves and have-nots may expand, resulting in resentment and possible violence.

10) Abuses and abusers will ‘evolve and scale.’ Human nature isn’t changing; there’s laziness, bullying, stalking, stupidity, pornography,dirty tricks, crime, and those who practice them have new capacity to make life miserable for others.

11) Pressured by these changes, governments and corporations will try to assert power—and at times succeed—as they invoke security and cultural norms.

12) People will continue—sometimes grudgingly—to make tradeoffs favoring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; and privacy will be something only the upscale will enjoy.

13) Humans and their current organizations may not respond quickly enough to challenges presented by complex networks.

14) Most people are not yet noticing the profound changes today’s communications networks are already bringing about; these networks will be even more disruptive in the future.

15) Foresight and accurate predictions can make a difference; ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’”

As we continue our 30-Day Challenge sparked by Enoch Hale, my question really rolls out of number 14 above…Day 5: If today’s hyperconnected communication networks are bringing about fundamental changes to our work and study environments, are the Seven Principles of Good Practice still relevant or in need of update?

The Seven Principles have been my go-to lens for determining practical teaching applications, such as the use of blogs for reflection and commentary in the majority of my classes.  Encouraging social media opens up opportunities for faculty-student contact and reciprocity and cooperation between students.  The open, social and participatory web enables the provision of prompt feedback – from both faculty and students.  Time on tasks can be manifested both inside a classroom and on the cloud between classes.  Multiple pathways respect diverse talents and ways of learning.  The Seven Principles work for me.

But rather than viewing teaching through the lens of the Seven Principles, perhaps first I need to view the Seven Principles through the lens of digital life.  Are new principles suggested:

  • by the availability of big data?
  • by 24/7/365 access?
  • by “open”?
  • by … ?

Another Pew report from 2012 – “Networked and Hyperconnected: The New Social (and Work) Operating System” – asked if the brains of multi-tasking teens and young adults are wired differently {not a given}, will they be better (adept at finding answers and solving problems) or worse (lack deep-learning skills, social skills, and depend on the web in unhealthy ways).  Answering the question about the Seven Principles might better adapt us to creating learning situations that work to enhance learning rather than reinforcing poor practices.

Stowe Boyd in the Digital Life report noted that “we have already entered the post-normal.”  In this post-normal world, what are the principles we should use to guide our teaching?

Thoughts?

(…and be sure to check out good questions being posed by Enoch Hale and Jeff Nugent as part of this 30-Day Challenge.  Join us!)

guides

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