Blog post from Executive Director, Emily Shields.
We held the first in-person Trustee Conference since 2019 at Western Iowa Tech Community College last week. It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and reconsider how to respond to ongoing and, in some cases, growing challenges.
Adapting to online: Keynote speaker Ted Brodheim, Global CIO Advisor for Education at Zoom, shared how companies like Zoom are helping campuses adapt to the post-pandemic world in person and online. Research has shown that many, including those from the most underserved communities, are looking for a hybrid experience that allows for a better life, work, and education balance. Emerging technology and practice is allowing for more seamless interaction between those online and those in person, helping us build community as we adapt.
We Can Do Hard Things: Several speakers talked about the ongoing and worsening challenges facing higher education, including demographic shifts, changing expectations, and funding models that have not caught up with demand. These challenges may seem overwhelming, but Community Colleges are uniquely positioned to respond to them. Guest Speaker Erica Carter, Western Iowa Tech Community College Alumnus, helped us see our own strength with her story of rebuilding her life after a spinal cord injury. In particular, one quote will stick with me:
“Hard things happen in life, it’s inevitable and something we may not have control of. It’s how we respond that makes a difference.”
Emotion as Innovation: Keynote speaker Jay Matheson, Leadership Executive Manager at Apple, Inc., brought these threads together with his remarks about the importance of paying attention to culture. While this is something we have all heard for a while, it was interesting to note how much he (and Apple) seem to focus on emotion as the means to change and build culture. As we think about building the colleges we need for the future, we need to consider how we want students, staff, faculty, businesses and communities members to FEEL when they are on our campuses and engaging with our programs.