COOPERATION ACROSS ROLES, PROCESSES,
POLICIES, RESOURCES AND INTERESTS
Efficient management of student and faculty issues rests on cooperation
across roles, processes, policies, resources and interests. Too often,
academic leaders come to the negotiating table as advocates of their
program and protectors of their turf. This orientation creates polarization
and delays implementation of needed programs and policies for years.
For example, because one of the fastest growing industries is database
management in health provider organizations, computer science could
partner with health administration and both could prosper. Because family
and school violence is growing in communities, criminology departments
could share programming with psychology departments. These kinds of
discussions require leaders to limit the effects of turf and boundaries and
look for cooperation across departments, budgets, and policies toward the
interests of the greater university and student needs.
Academia‘s lofty goals of changing lives, preparing students for
careers, and advancing knowledge are pursued in a world of budgets,
customer service, technology and bureaucracy. It is a culture comprising
many groups–including students, parents, alumni, local communities,
accreditation bodies, government oversight committees, the media—
with major investments in achieving sometimes conflicting goals.
Professionals drawn to manage in this environment usually come
to the field because they wish to teach or to do research, or to help
others achieve a better life. However, they quickly learn that they must
become adept at managing conflict in a host of areas that have some
very creative conflicts. Regardless of background, interests or training,
tactics such as a common language, deep listening, and dealing with
difficult people offer significant tools for academic leaders.
10We live in an era where change is becoming the new normal in organizations. This reality can be- come stressful for people being asked to learn ew technologies, change their familiar rou- tines, and adjust to new roles and expectations.
When leaders fear loss of resources, status,
and power, they can become resistant to even
Announcements of change often follow daylong meetings of leaders who have had time to
discuss issues and look at implications. Staff
and students have not had that opportunity.
Creating a soft landing for announcements of
change involves recognizing that change can
create fear, and working to limit unnecessary
fear and convey the change message in a way
that people can heard, accept and implement.
Fears can be reduced if we explain the rationale
behind a decision, provide information about
goals and discuss openly how implementation can be achieved with the least amount of
stress. Early in a change process we should ask,
“How will this be perceived?” and “What do affected people need?” The focus should be on
discovery, not argument. The what of change
may be unchangeable, but the more input the
staff have about how, the more likely they are
to buy-in and cooperate.
Dealing with Change
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