Professional Development

I teach in a large community college system, a very large system (90,000 plus students).  The word “system” seems somehow ominous, Orwellian (a writer for whom I have never cared.  Heavy, handed allegories well-suited for classrooms built around Cliff notes, Wikipedia, and scan trons).

Back on track.

All too often, I focus on the drawbacks of working for a college system that has five–no six–campuses–one of the fastest growth rates in the nation, and covers the area of a small New England State.  Change occurs at a geologic rate. Administrators seem to have Jedi training in bureaucracy.  Rules abound for the sake of rules abounding.

Today, some colleagues and I presented at a sparsely attended conference hosted by the system.  Lunch was catered.  Gift bags held nice, neat surprises.  And vendors hawked their wares–more vendors attended this conference than a recent conference for a state association.  Some serious preparation, thought, and research was invested in the event.

Our presentation was dynamic because of the participants.  They questioned.  They responded.   They listened.  We learned.  Sadly, I probably would not have attended had we not presented, had I not owed one of my colleagues a favor (actually, favors).

Apparently, my own preconceptions are as obstructive as any new rendition of People Soft.  Looking through a glass darkly, I miss the opportunities of a system that values innovation and has the resources to support it. Complacency blinds.


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