The last week of June, I attended the Educause Institue Learning Technology Leadership program. This is an intensive, week-long workshop (that’s the best term I can think of it – it’s not a conference, it’s not training, and I don’t really think it’s a workshop, per se, either) on how to be an effective leader at one’s institution. It is aimed at those working in educational technology (instructional technology, teaching and learning, lots of other names), but it goes way out to how one might do presentations for new programs to executive officers, handling 6 or 7 figure budgets, and a number of other high level topics.
Overall, it was a very positive experience. But the real “meat” of this post is a bit more nuanced than simply whether I learned a lot or not. For instance, in terms of just leadership skills ranging from one’s team to one’s institution, there was lots to learn. But that’s not entirely why I attended.
As a CIO, I must admit I felt a bit out of place. But we don’t have an educational technology program so it’s not like there was someone else to send. And we want to start one up, so we did want to send someone. But, while I did have these very relevant reasons for being there, I definitely had a different perspective than most. To be honest, I think this caused a bit of…disconnection and possibly abrasion with my teammates. I am sure they are all gracious enough to disagree with me, but if I’m being truthful, I think at times my tendency to think about issues such as liability and institutional fit instead of creativity and pedagogical impact was a hindrance to overall productivity. I apologize to a great overall team for that.
When I signed up for the workshop, though, my key question was “is there something about leadership in learning/educational/instructional technology that is different than leadership in general?” (more…)