One of the best parts of working and leading in higher education, for me, is the ability to make a difference. Whatever role any of us have, whatever division or department we work in, each one of us has the opportunity to make a difference in our student’s lives. In fact, I believe our integrity depends on being able to look ourselves in the mirror each day and answer yes to this question. ”Did my work today contribute to education?”
Many days our normal work allows us to say yes and demonstrate our commitment to our values by making a difference. Other times, as leaders, it is our responsibility to challenge both ourselves and the people on our teams to look at our work differently.
In that spirit I want to share with you a challenge from educational researcher Sugata Mitra. He was the winner of the 2013 TED Prize at the 2013 TED conference. Sugata pushes us to consider a huge transformation in our educational system: Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE) that do not include teaching. Like many TED Talks, I found this to be a fantastic source of inspiration and challenge.
What is your reaction to his idea? As a leader, I sometimes struggle with ideas that feel extreme to me. I worry about the logistics of implementation or how others might react. Yet, demonstrating integrity can mean moving ahead in spite of questions or difficulties. If I act in accordance with my values and look for a contribution to education, I am able to “get on with it.”