As you look to move your career in higher education IT forward and explore new opportunities, it is important to understand the kinds of work that excite you, the challenges you like to tackle, the work environment in which you thrive, and the institutional values that are important to you. Self evaluation, guidance from mentors, and investigating potential institutions all play an important role in making an informed decision about the next step you take in your career.
When I was in college I was part of Hoof ‘n’ Horn, the south’s oldest student run musical theatre organization. (full disclosure: I worked backstage; I can’t act my way out of a paper bag). We put on three major shows every year, and as part of that experience everyone on the cast and crew got custom made t-shirts. Even for the largest productions, that generally amounted to about 30 – 40 shirts. In college student dollars these things were expensive. Really expensive. One year I asked our silk screen vendor what we could do to lower the price to the cast/crew. His answer: buy 100 shirts.
We recently started an engagement with a consulting group to help us develop some project management processes. As we’ve been working through all this, one of the consultants asked me what my vision for IT my current institution is. I’ve had a few other people asked me similar questions, and I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts here (plus later I can just give folks this URL).
There’s a great piece out from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) entitled “The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment: A Report on Research” that, if you haven’t yet, is worth a read (and it’s thankfully not embargoed like so many EDUCAUSE publications). The piece articulates some things we’ve been grappling with here with regards to the LMS.
I’ve been thinking a lot about constraints lately. Money, resources, time. We never really have all we want of any of them. If your institution is like mine, we are learning to live in a new reality of shrinking enrollment and compressed revenue. We have awesome faculty and staff who want to do great things, but they need support and time to focus on something other than the mundane.
“Spending all day innovating around the candle does not get us to the light bulb.” I stumbled on this quote from Daniel Rasmus’ 2010 Gilbane Conference Opening Keynote a few months ago, and it has resonated with me since. It’s something that fits well in a tweet and still manages to say something. It encompasses all the messiness of innovation in 15 words.