Best Practices from Best Books Dr. Rick Ostrander, Provost, Cornerstone University Dr. Carla Sanderson, Executive Vice President and Provost, Union University Dr. Ed Ericson, Vice President for Academic Affairs, John Brown University
Introduction • Background context • Overview of the session • Three Paradigms for Academic Leadership • Visionary • Community Builder • Systems Creator
Getting out of the administrative trenches: Readings on the purposeof Christian education Rick Ostrander Provost, Cornerstone University
p. 234: “If there are benevolent consequences of our engagement with the world, it is precisely because it is not rooted in a desire to change the world for the better but rather because it is an expression of a desire to honor the creator of all goodness, beauty, and truth, a manifestation of our loving obedience to God, and a fulfillment of God’s command to love our neighbor.”
p. 34: “The task of a Christian college is not just to provide a “safe” place for the dissemination of information. Nor is it merely to provide a “Christian perspective” on what the world thinks counts as knowledge….Rather, the Christian college’s mission is more radical than that: in some significant way, involves the formation of disciples.”
p. 196: “Fixing bikes is more meaningful because not only the fixing but also the riding of motorcycles answers to certain intuitions I have about human excellence. People who ride motorcycles have gotten something right, and I want to put myself in the service of it.”
Some “best practices” that result • Clarifying our “product:” 1. Spiritual maturity 2. Intellectual depth 3. Creative excellence 4. Professional competence 5. Cross-cultural agility 6. Relational skill
Our educational mission Cornerstone University seeks to produce graduates who have the passion and ability to effectively engage the cultures of our world for Christ and His Kingdom. Our graduates are not “culture warriors” who seek to dominate culture; nor do they isolate themselves from it. Rather, Cornerstone students are educated to exercise a “faithful presence” in the cultural settings in which God places them. They seek to be a blessing to both believers and unbelievers, to promote human flourishing in the communities to which they are called, and to communicate the gospel to a fallen world with winsomeness and intelligence.
Some “best practices” that result • Clarifying our product. • The Capstone Seminar: from resume-writing to Christian vocation. • Educating for intentionality: the “technology sabbath.”
Leading Others:Readings to Lead By Carla D. Sanderson Provost and Executive Vice President Union University
We are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful. Harold Heie
Four Basic Qualities for Leaders: • Adaptive capacity • The ability to engage others through shared meaning • A distinctive voice • Unshakeable integrity Bennis and Thomas, Leading for a Lifetime
Adaptive Capacity Adaptive capacity is prioritized as the essential competence of leaders and is defined as having the critical skills and abilities to “understand context and to recognize and seize opportunities.”
Adaptive Capacity = Resiliency Resiliency, the ability to improvise in the face of challenge. Resilient people have a steadfastness in them that accepts reality and a firm conviction, often buttressed by strongly held values, that life is meaningful and worth compensating for. Avolio and Luthrans, The High Impact Leader
Resilient leaders • take responsibility • own the organization’s challenges as their own • get other people to do the same • are realistic and accept they may not always accomplish what is fully required • are willing to give it their best effort • are determined to improve next time around.
Traps to becoming a resilient leader • Jumping to conclusions • Magnifying the negatives, minimizing the positives • Personalizing, obsessing, blowing things out of proportion Reivich and Shatte, The Resilience Factor
Communio sanctorum,The Apostles’ Creed • The Communion of the Saints in Wendell Berry’s essays and novels • “The Membership” • A gift given (not earned) for sharing good work and mutual satisfaction • The common ground members share – foundation on which membership rests (place, work, love for Jesus) • Common ground does not automatically create community but you cannot have community without it. • Because we belong to one place, we belong to one another
“Jesus is speaking to men who have become individuals for his sake, who have left all at his call…. They receive the promise of a new fellowship…they will receive in this time a hundredfold of what they have left. … Though we all have to enter upon discipleship alone, we do not remain alone. If we take him at this word and dare to become individuals, our reward is the fellowship of the Church. …they will be members of the community of the cross, the People of the Mediator, the People under the cross.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Leading in a Grace-Filled Way “That you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Creating Administrative Systems for the 21st Century: The Impact of Social Science Research on Higher Education Ed Ericson VPAA, John Brown University
Recent Articles • Follow the Leader (ArsTechnica.com) • “It turns out that only a few individuals in a group need to know where they are going in order to lead the group, even if they don't do anything to communicate their leadership role other than move. Also, the larger a group gets, the smaller the percentage of "knowledgeable" or "leader" individuals that are needed. The limit seems to be about five percent; the remaining 95 percent simply followed the herd.”
Recent Articles • The Key to Effective Management? (NYTimes.com) • “Technical expertise — the ability, say, to write computer code in your sleep — ranked dead last among Google’s big eight. What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.”
Recent Articles • Good Teachers Matter (TheAtlantic.com) • “The most stunning finding to come out of education research in the past decade: more than any other variable in education—more than schools or curriculum—teachers matter.“ • “Great teachers tended to set big goals for their students. They were also perpetually looking for ways to improve their effectiveness.”
Recent Books • Predictably Irrational • “We are really far less rational than standard economic theory assumes. Moreover, these irrational behaviors of our are neither random nor senseless. They are systematic, and since we repeat them again and again, predictable.” • We make decisions not as rational analyses but always in comparison to something else and with somewhat arbitrary “anchors” about what we’re comparing. Those anchors are either “social” or “monetary,” and we need to be careful not to mix the two types of interactions.
Recent Books • Nudge • “By knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society.” • Setting “default” options in complicated decision-making environments and creating more transparency on the effects of choices are two of the main ways to get better long-term results.
Recent Books • Wisdom of the Crowds • “Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.” • Four criteria: diversity of opinion, independence of thought, sufficient knowledge, and a reliable means of aggregating the data.
Resulting “Best Practices” • Account for Your Own Biases • Focus on Personnel • Monetize Your Options • Delegate Responsibility for Routine Matters • Make Key Decisions via Structured Group Input
Audience Participation • Questions? • Other suggested books & best practices?