I just returned from the ASU+GSV summit with a brain full of new ideas and a sense of relief knowing that coming back together is possible with the right planning and protocols for safety.
The words “new normal” are being thrown around regularly, but between overbooked calendars and burnout, we will need time and intentional space to co-create the kind of normal that will help each of us thrive.
Priya Parker (author of "the Art of Gathering") recently shared: “Asking employees if they want to “return to the office” is asking the wrong question. Instead, managers should ask: What did you long for when we couldn’t physically meet? What did you not miss and are ready to discard? What forms of meeting did you invent during the pandemic out of necessity that, surprisingly, worked? What might we experiment with now?”
Over the years, we at the UIA have consistently found that we need to carve out intentional space for the important things we want to happen between and among our campuses, such as brainstorming, improvement work, ideation, process improvement, and trust-building. (This is why we always include “team time” in all UIA convenings.) We know how busy people are, and regardless of our best intentions, if we don’t create space for faculty, staff, and administrators to reconsider and examine the ways our systems impact the lives of our vulnerable students, it simply won’t happen.
As we rethink how we gather and which meetings to keep or leave behind, consider planning your events and meetings based on how you want people to feel at various moments in the experience. Doing this small but meaningful exercise is an essential step in the process of creating effective gatherings. Before your next planning process, start with brainstorming how you want people to feel at specific moments in time:
- when they receive the invitation?
- leading up to the event?
- when they arrive?
- at the end of the first day?
- at the beginning of the second day?
- as they leave the event?
- two weeks after the experience?
Your answers should determine everything: the event design, the communication strategy you develop, whether there will be pre-matching experiences or virtual events leading up to it, and the kinds of material or welcome gestures you will share. We have one opportunity to rethink how we come back together after these 18 months apart, and we owe ourselves the gift of learning from our experiences to make our future gatherings as fulfilling and uplifting as possible.
UIA Member Spotlight
UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox and Arizona State University President Michael Crow joined Teresa Watanabe of the LA times in a panel discussion on Doing the Work: Collaboration Among America’s Biggest Colleges at ASU+GSV 2021. The ASU+GSV Summit started in 2010 with a mission to connect thought leaders in technology and business around the topics of learning and work.
Christina King, Purdue University
We asked Christina what she’s learned since becoming a Purdue’s UIA Fellow in March 2018. She shared that "higher education and student success are much more complex and complicated than I ever really acknowledged. As a result, I find that I (and others) often look for the map of how change will happen — there’s no one map, but with trusted cross-institutional partners and a willingness to learn we can create good solutions."
Learn With Us
- Leadership, Trust, and Service
Samuel L Stanley, Jr., Michigan State University
- A System for Student Success
Tim Renick, National Institute for Student Success, George State University
- Advice for New Presidents and Chancellors
14 Pro Tips on Higher Education Leadership
Want more? Check out all of our weekly blog posts and podcast episodes.
We know your time is limited. That's why each issue, we'll choose THE BEST things we watched, listened to, or read
- How Should We Meet? And Who Decides? (New York Times)
- Want to Solve the Enrollment Gap? Focus on Students We Don’t Serve Well – Or At All (Gates Foundation)
- The ‘Human Cost’ of Stranded Credits (Inside Higher Ed)
Events to Put on Your Radar
August 30 @ 9:30 PT | 12:30 ET
September 27 @ 10 PT | 1 ET
Weekly Wisdom streams live on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube channels.
September 2 @ 9:15 PT | 12:15 ET
Scholarship to Practice streams live on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube channels.
Stuff we LOVE
- Treadmill Desk
Endorphins while you Zoom. Total game changer.
Reinvigorate any workspace with pictures that inspire you. Mixtiles take photos from your phone and put them temporarily on your walls (with a sticky backing that is easy to move around). My office wall features mixtiles of UIA fellows and important organizational milestones (seen here with UIA mascot Charles Barkley).
- At-Home Covid Tests
Having these at-home COVID-19 tests on hand was incredibly helpful for my recent work trip and made me feel comfortable ensuring the safety of everyone around me as I headed back home.
- Fun Masks
Sending this sequined mask to my 95 year old grandma brought me great joy. It also made everyone in her retirement community jealous (which she loved.) Know someone else (perhaps a student?) navigating these stressful times that would appreciate this?
UIA people at the ASU+GSV Summit!
A Final Note
Thank you for reading. We’d like to leave you with this quote by Michigan State University President, Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. from his recent Weekly Wisdom episode.
"The job is not about you; the job is about the institution, and you’re the president there to facilitate the institution."
- Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.