Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Great times

I have to apologise for not blogging – a very discreet reader has prompted me to get my act together and post. Indeed it’s been a while and admittedly I’ve been less than great when it comes to sitting down to write even though I am attached to two great devices: my iPad and iPhone…
Great as they are --- and they are --- I’m not convinced that I’m working any better. I’m doing things differently for sure. But better? The jury’s still out.
On a larger scale I’m struggling with that question on an organisational level as we progress through a Renewal Plan and make changes --- are we doing it better? Will the changes we’re making lead to ‘greatness’?
We’re seeing evidence of new ways of working together which has resulted in new programs in Law and Medical Science and so on; we’re employing different mechanisms to engage with our communities; we’re trying to be more consultative and transparent; and perhaps – most importantly – there’s a level of involvement from staff and stakeholders at CQUniversity that I have not experienced in other learning environments.
These, to me, seem to be great things. But I’m not the arbitrator of this. Our students, staff and partners are. They are the ones who will show us/me --- through enrolments and research activity, for example – if our rhetoric is matching up to what we are doing.
In 2011 the University will investigate improving, at all levels, the student learning experience. Our researchers, too, are taking on a challenge to develop new, talented, up-and-coming researchers and build on the quality and quantity of research output that already has CQUniversity operating – in terms of the global impact of our research – in the top 10% among all universities.
The sense I have is that greatness is coming. I am very pleased to be able to acknowledge known greatness later this month when the University presents awards in numerous categories to staff. I know, for a fact, we’re a better University because of their efforts and accomplishments.
Still, I admit that I remain challenged by the idea of defining and measuring greatness in ways that just don’t just tick boxes but are truly inclusive and reflective of other people’s perceptions of success and achievement, not just mine. I think I’ll add that my e-Task List --- in the meantime maybe someone out there can develop a simple Ap I could use?


Kerrie Green, Bundaberg said...

Interesting topic of discussion Scott - I have been thinking about the renewal plan and whether the reduction in professional staff will equate to good learning experiences for students. Whilst I welcome reviewing roles and tasks with efficiencies in mind, I feel that professional staff reduction will increase admin workloads of academics who will then be struggling to achieve high standards of teaching and levels of research expected. As you say "the jury is out".

Paul Waight, Mackay said...

‘Greatness’ can be seen as the nominal form of ‘great’, so to operationalise the concept of ‘greatness’, it might be useful to define ‘great’.

The Australian Oxford Dictionary (amongst others) informs us that ‘great’ may imply:
• Considerably above normal size.
• Implied admiration or contempt.
• Important, pre-eminent.
• Grand, imposing.
• Distinguished.
• Remarkable in ability, character, etc.
• Competent, well informed.
• Fully deserving of the name of; doing extensively.

From the many definitions of the word it is obvious that a large number of strategic objectives might be developed; size, respect, importance, character, competence and the like.

To marry the short, medium and long-term strategic objectives (financial sustainability, engagement and greatness) we need to find the unifying theme. This theme should then be expressed in an operationalisable mission statement that can be devolved to all operations and activities of the University.

From an operational perspective, the development and use of dynamic capabilities, coupled with a well developed balanced scorecard system based on cascading objectives, might be a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

Kerrie's comments are sound but we do have some seriously overloaded non-teaching departments. As an example the Office of Learning and Teaching has about 30 staff. See the link http://content.cqu.edu.au/FCWViewer/view.do?page=13212

I suspect that has not necessarily made teaching better or easier.