More Doctoral Work…and Whining…

So, the doctoral work continues, and thus continues the whining. I know this is the first time this program has been offered and I know we’re in the growing pains stages, but let me tell you…three hours once a week and six hours on a Saturday of listening to “leadership lecture” is enough to make a woman beat her head against a wall.

It is becoming increasingly clear that they are making this up as they go along. I wonder if they (the directors of this program) actually consulted with other programs. Yes, ours is the first to split the K12 cohort from the Community College cohort, but really…can there be such a huge gap in educational leadership that the first three hours of the six we must attend once a week be as mind-numbing as it is? Really? Wow.

Here’s a dilemma. We must complete a “signature assignment” for the class, something on the equivalent of SLO’s (Student Learning Objectives) for our cohort. I believe this is to for the program, should they be asked, to be able to hold this up and wave it around saying, “See? We taught ’em good!” Whatever. Below is the criteria for the Signature Assignment for the Leadership course:

Signature Assignment: All colleges are responsible for focusing on student learning outcomes.  This focus cuts across the entire institution and is central to the community college mission.   Drawing from your reflection on the readings by Northouse and Senge, develop a conceptual plan and process for addressing the student learning outcomes requirement at your institution. Your plan and process should demonstrate your understanding of the essential elements of collaborative leadership within the community college context. (Support your process design by citing research and related literature).  Your process should consider what steps are important in institutionalizing a college culture centered around student learning outcomes. Provide evidence that substantiates the criticality of this issue and the need for an institutional response at your college.   Develop the plan by which you as a campus administrator would seek to address this priority.  Whenever appropriate, provide illustrations of your committee structures, their memberships, and reporting relationships.

Questions to consider are:

  • How is this issue (student learning outcomes) related to the mission and success of the community college?
  • Who are the stakeholders in the process?
  • What groups (who) should be involved in the development of the institution’s response to this problem?
  • How would you keep the process moving?
  • What kinds of institutional or program data/research would be needed to formulate a response?
  • What are the procedures you would utilize to gain college administrative support for the process?
  • How would you build trust in the process?
  • How would you evaluate the process?
  • How would the process and its outcomes be communicated and to whom?
  • How would the college sustain the process (institutionalize the process)?
  • What would I do if the outcomes/recommendations of the process do not align with my values or the institution’s values?

Now, there are a few problems inherent to this entire project:

  1. I am one of 24 in my cohort, 10 of whom are not teaching at any institution at all…but hey, that’s their problem.
  2. Speaking on my own behalf, I have been at my “institution” a total of 16 days (that’s two days a week for 8 weeks). Less time if you count on an hourly basis. Let’s do that. 16 days at 8 hours per day (six hours of lecture, two hours of office hours) is a total of 128 hours. I have met the Dean of my department and the Chair (both of whom I interviewed with, and that constitutes my entire relationship with my Dean). I’ve also met one fellow instructor within the department (we were colleagues as grad students and met quite by accident two weeks back near the copier), and six or so other instructors from various other departments, for a span of about three minutes each. I have, of course, gotten to know my department secretary quite well (a very SMART thing to do), and she’s saved my bacon more times than I can count.
  3. Let’s look at: “develop a conceptual plan and process for addressing the student learning outcomes requirement at your institution.” My institution (keeping in mind point 2 above) is just now developing their SLO’s. Scary, but true.
  4. “Your plan and process should demonstrate your understanding of the essential elements of collaborative leadership within the community college context. (Support your process design by citing research and related literature).” I am assuming this part (especially the bolded bits) should have come from the lectures we’ve had in Leadership? Nope. I got nuthin.’
  5. “Your process should consider what steps are important in institutionalizing a college culture centered around student learning outcomes.” Okay, I think I can pull that from some lit reviews. How do I search that? “Institutionalizing college culture?” Hmm. **scratches head**
  6. “Provide evidence that substantiates the criticality of this issue and the need for an institutional response at your college.” Hmmm. Who knew “criticality” is really a word? I didn’t. I just looked it up. Not entirely certain how to go about providing evidence of such, however.
  7. “Develop the plan by which you as a campus administrator would seek to address this priority.” Ooh. A plan. I can do that. Plans are my thing. They don’t call me “the General” for nuthin’ you know! But wait! Um, you do remember that this is the very same school that I had an issue with signing the “loyalty oath,” right? Now I’m supposed to be an administrator implementing change? Yeesh. Here’s a change for ya, kill the freaking loyalty oath!
  8. “Whenever appropriate, provide illustrations of your committee structures, their memberships, and reporting relationships.” Um…we have committee’s? Hell, I’m lucky I can find my mailbox! Again, see point 2 above.

Ugh. Okay. I’ve broken it down and now I’m depressed. Bleh.

Tonight: Stargate Universe and Sanctuary. Cool beans. The rest is gravy.

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One Comment on “More Doctoral Work…and Whining…”

  1. […] analysis project, and that has been fun to do. Another is the aforementioned (see blog post “More Doctoral Work…”) “Signature Assignment” which I’ve–finally–completed. There’s the lit […]