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.