Over the summer, each member of the president's staff will take over this Wednesday Message to share his or her response on change, learning, students and community colleges.They will reflect on how swirling changes in higher education impact their work, their offices/division, and their focus on student success. This week's message comes from Dr. Jeff Bartkovich (Educational Technology Services).
Ask a computer specialist about change and the response may be, “There are two types of change: change caused by technology and change implemented with technology.” This perspective is narrow but it does emphasize that change is personal, that technology allows us to do better what we do and at times can allow us to do things we weren’t able to. This perspective also sets up a spectrum for considering change: change which is externally driven and that which is homegrown, change which impacts our behavior and that which is led by our attitude. Before considering an example and lessons learned about change, one final comment on the computer specialist perspective - the future is about change and technology; if we master its potential, technology can be an effective tool and agent of change.
As an example, this week we submitted the final report for MCC’s first 100 Days to Innovation project. The 100 Days program is a new (i.e. changed) approach to project management at MCC intended to focus on a results-oriented effort that for a concentrated period of time centers college resources on a specific issue. Interestingly, both the process (100 Days) and the product (student account creation) were changes, as was the motivating issue (eliminate process barriers between admittance and registration). The recommendations of the project were implemented during Express Enrollment, and preliminary results suggest the changes work and are beneficial. Many important lessons were learned of which three are significant. First, MCC is complex and its processes inter-related; a simple change often has multiple consequences. Second, MCC can change, and will embrace change when it best serves students. Third, change needs to be purposeful, to add value, and to be amiable to the culture.
Terry O’Banion in his Leadership Abstract states, “Technology can support the status quo or become a driving force in bringing about change.” "https://www.league.org/blog/post.cfm/change-and-the-completion-agenda" - Terry O'Banion's thoughts. Drawing from the opening computer specialist perspective and the 100 Days program, here is what we have learned about managing change and technology. First, change is best implemented as a collective activity, and rooted in core services. Second, change is not about the technology but advancing strategic institutional perspectives. Third, change can be implemented because of or with support from technology; but as a tool for change technology’s most important role may be to support communications, outreach and collaboration.
Please share your thoughts on the blog.
Jeff Bartkovich, Vice President
Educational Technology Services