February 2004 Issue
Management Strategies & Tips
By Jan Norton,
Missouri Western State College
Traveling Beyond Status Quo
Itís easy for managers to get bogged down in the
day-to-day details of budgets and services.
If weíve succeeded in creating a successful program, we feel like
weíve succeeded indeed. The trick
to avoid complacency - - and for many people, winter
the ideal season for sitting back and relaxing with the status quo.
Just hunker down, wait for the changes that spring brings, and survive
the rest of the academic year. But
if youíre feeling a bit restless, GOOD! Create
your own professional education seminar.
If itís possible, plan a trip to a nearby community college or university.
Check out a commercial learning/tutoring service.
Next time youíre out of town for some other purpose, set aside an hour
or so to v
it someone elseís learning center. Go
to conferences and meetings that will help you expand your ideas about the
potential range of your services.
Even some excursions around campus may be helpful during this
relatively slow part of the semester. V
it with faculty members or full departments to promote your services, explain
your policies, and ask for input about programs that they would like to see
changed or added. Wander through the
halls and plan enough time that you can be stopped unpredictably to chat with
students, staff, faculty, or administrators.
As you think about or walk by other departments, notice how they are advertising
their majors and courses - - any ideas that might work for you?
Imagine what kinds of new connections might be possible: maybe your
learning center and the health center director could explore possibilities for
cross-referrals of mega-stressed students, or maybe youíll d
cover that an academic department has just begun to administer a professional
licensing exam that you could help students prepare for.
Less literal travel has its advantages, too.
Go for a virtual v
it by cruising the websites of other learning centers and see what your peers
are up to: you can find these easily on the LSCHE website (www.pvc.maricopa.edu/~lsche).
Reviewing other web sites can not only help you think of changes you want
to see in your own site design and content but may also give you some intriguing
leads on other services you might want to try.
Call or write to colleagues at other schools and see if they can send you
publicity brochures, lists of services, or an inventory of equipment.
Then thereís the ultimate in no-mileage travel: reading.
NCLCA newsletters typically profile learning centers, and these can
describe a range of services that might spark your imagination and energy.
You can check out their website (www.nclca.org)
and read some sample newsletter articles by Karen Agee, Frank Chr
t, and Paula Ottinger. Journals from
NCLCA, NADE, and CRLA all provide useful information that
well worth the time you might need to set aside in order to soak it all in.
Read books - - Hunter Boylanís What Works
a short but intense text. And it
never a waste of time to look over the explicit hallmarks of excellence in the
field: NADE Guides, CRLA tutor and mentor training programs, and the CAS
standards may all provide you with some ideas for minor upgrades or major
Iím not suggesting that you probably have money and time
to kill, or that you shouldnít take genuine pleasure in what youíve accomplished.
You and your staff have worked hard, and itís good to look around and
appreciate where you are. But then
turn around and find another road; look for energizing challenges that will
enhance your learning center even more. Staying
alert to the possibilities lets you develop plans for the future even as you
enjoy the present.
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