Week 8 – Ignore Boundaries

Last week’s entry focused on seeking clarity If you have areas where you are not as strong, seek support and remain teachable. Remember, you barely need to get past the elevator pitch depth in most situations, but I’m a safety girl, so I recommend you learn a bit more so you can intelligently guide any conversation on your what, why, how.

This week the IT team is totally firing on all cylinders. Our virtualization project is on track, our ERP refresh is on track/time/budget, our security officer is digging into our campus legacy data sprawl and we have a new website up providing a self-service knowledge base for support.

Are we getting our balance with the pandemic response? Appears so. I cleared this through my CIO Advisory Group just today and they back my instinct that we are out of COVID19-reactive territory and entering proactive business-as-usual status. So for those that know me, this means with newfound time on my hands I’m going off script. It’s my favorite state to be in.

Going off script? Huh?

That’s right. Our academic technology team is extremely busy doing the needful. They are actively helping our faculty move-through-enhance their classes online. As we try to imagine the multitude of different scenarios looming in our near future, it looks likely we will be doing more online to some degree for some length of time. All hardly definable, but we need to be proactive and prepared. We got away with this rapid move to online in mid-March but let’s not be that fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants again, mmkay?

So while the academic technology team is hard at work with the migrations and technical training, we need to ramp up some energy around getting our faculty the more pedagogical support they need – tips and tricks for curriculum delivery through deep, heated discussions on synchronous v asynchronous. Guess whose job that’s not? Well it’s not IT’s job. It’s also not IT’s job to survey the faculty on what they need training-wise in this space. Oops, unfortunately I already did that last week. And I’m about to help facilitate the beautiful beginning of a grassroots effort designed to get our faculty accustomed to what it feels like to be supported in online delivery.

Now while I recognize it’s not my job, serving our faculty happens to be my passion. Knowing this will not live within IT forever makes it even more attractive. I get to help build something, engage our faculty, spend time learning what our academics need, then hand it off? SOLD.

In a nutshell, I’m loving life. And you can too. Even amidst fairly dark times. How? Embrace the moments that place you outside of your own comfort zone. In addition, learn to manage the communications that naturally occur when you overstep your traditional boundaries. Many will shy away from involvement in conversations that might get pushback. Case in point? The first responses on the survey I sent out? Why is IT asking me this? GREAT QUESTION. Learn to LOVE the questions. It’s time my campus learns why IT is working outside their traditional boundary lines. It’s because we care. And I happen to have experience building excellent academic training environments. And I recognize the power that a campus exudes when its faculty is invested in. And I want that for the University of Tulsa from IT.

How can you push through traditional boundaries on your campus or within your organization? I highly recommend you give it a try.

Our status:

I can’t wait to update you all on the outcome – or even the baby steps – of ramping up this faculty development program.

Until next week…