“Create your presence on social media to be found, heard and respected; otherwise, you won’t be.” – Susan Beebe, Chief Listener at Dell.
A few weeks back, I shared a few thoughts on being a Social CIO at a Liberal Arts College. The post had its genesis in a magazine article that I had been working on, and generated many subsequent conversations, offline and on… like the one below:
Which begs the question – why is it that at liberal arts colleges, those who have the biggest stake in the role of technology – faculty and students – are disengaged in the decision processes that govern institutional technology decision making?
Naturally, each school’s unique situation will be fact dependent and history-bound. But I’ll make a run at what I see to be the obstacles that keep stakeholders from actualizing their decision making agency.
The following are observations I’ve made directly, and are informed by my interactions with instructional technologists and CIOs at other liberal arts schools. My biases as an administrator are undeniable and unhideable.
In short, it’s complicated.
But not really.
The key to addressing inchoate student and faculty agency, is to promote, support, and maintain high levels of engagement at all stages of the institutional technology decision cycle.
Ultimately, without prolonged and intentional engagement and exercise of shared governance by students and faculty, lasting and sustainable technology delivery will be seen as dictatorial, rather than collaborative and collegial – which will lead only to further disengagement.
What do you think? Do these observations reflect what is happening at your institution?
Every time we open our mouths, or put pen to paper, we reveal something about our true selves – intentionally, or not.
Even with full reflection of our biases, it’s nigh impossible to totally escape our ingrained idioms, our life-long learned mannerisms… our voice. It is the rare author who can write “anonymously”, without someone who knows them recognizing the patterns that identify an author, as readily as if their names were etched in stone within the text.
Native speakers can cull out the non-native speakers by recognizing non-native modes of speech; you’re one queso grande away from being exposed.
The actual words we choose conspire to betray our motives. We can choose to say “someone is trying to proselytize us to their position”, or we can say that “we are evangelizing others to our cause”; one word has a somewhat positive connotation, while the other has a slightly negative one. Both words denote a conversion in viewpoint or belief, but have different subterranean subtexts based upon whether you’re the one doing the converting… or the one being wooed for conversion.
Within our professional lives, we develop entire vocabularies of specialty-speak, meant to separate the initiates from the acolytes, and the profane.
Are you in the club? What’s the password?
We use our words as weapons, whether we brandish them in all out frontal attack, or with practiced and nuanced dog-whistle passive aggression.
We “code switch” to gain authenticity.
We couch words to soften meaning.
We string meaningless words together to obfuscate.
We inspire, by turning our speech into action.
How will you speak today?
Words matter. Make your words matter.
I was also one of the 100 (or so) lucky folks to attend the very first NASA Tweetup, for the STS-129 launch, way back in November of 2009.
And, living in the wilds of Arkansas these past four years, I’m having some serious space-coast withdrawals.
A very special thank you to the social media folks at NASA for this fantastic opportunity.
Now – where’s the best place to stay in Houston near JSC?