ASU Administrative Bloat Part of Higher Cost?

The Goldwater Institute recently released “Administrative Bloat at America Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education“.  It shows that administrative spending per student has increased by 46 percent between 1993 and 2007.  Dr. Crow of course feels this assessment is not fair.  I guess sometimes you get defensive when your nearly $750,000 salary comes into question as waste.

Creativity, Kryptonite to Complexity and Key to the Future

IBM recently released a study on rising complexity in organizations and cited that “creativity” is the key leadership trait that was allowing companies to stand out.  It is what CEO’s find most valuable.

Despite this realization we still have an educational system that guts the creative soul right out of every kindergartner that enters it’s doors.  If we think we are not prepared today, wait 12 years when a graduating class is completely unprepared to operate in this economy.  It’s time to take a stand.  Get off your ass.  Fight for creativity.  Fight for our future.

Part of the creative process is constantly inspecting and adapting to the information unearthed and the forces at work around you.  You better be okay with ambiguity and be prepared to experiment and FAIL regularly.  Ultimately serendipity can be creative rocket fuel and access to it requires deep, meaningful and broad connections with real people and data.  It requires constant iterative scanning based on what you know.  It expects you to be relentless in your pursuits.

Pansies need not apply.  The truly creative are disturbingly disruptive.  They don’t look to be on the top of a market, they look to create entirely new markets even if it means obliterating existing norms.  If you aren’t disrespectful of the status quo on some level, you probably aren’t innovating.

Command and control is out.  Self-Organization is the new standard.  Diversity of ideas and backgrounds is critical.  Open spaces let ideas spread.

IBM asks the following questions…

1. How will you develop the critical capabilities to enhance creativity among your leadership team?

Everyone was born creative.  It’s a matter of unlocking that which has been suppressed.  It starts with a radical change of culture and sense of place.

2. In what ways can you explore, reward and globally integrate diverse and unconventional points of view?

Let people choose their own work and how best solve the problems.  Get the fuck out of their way and let them impress the hell out of you.  You might just be amazed at who steps up.

3. What is your approach to challenge every element of your business model to get the most from currently untapped opportunities?

Connect with your customers and employees.  Ask them what is missing.  Live your product/service and pour your soul into it.  Experiment with wild ideas.

4. How will you leverage new communication styles, technologies and tools, both to lead a new generation of talent and encourage breakthrough thinking?

Stop restricting your employees from communicating digitally.  Get out of lock down mode and get into sharing mode.  Until you can do that, you are already on the death march to being obsolete.

SBR: Linchpin by Seth Godin

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Seth is back. He really gets it right on this one. This is an excellent book to pair with Richard Florida’s Reset. The world and they way we work in it is radically changing.

This is a good book to help people get ahead during this great changing of industry. One of the better books I read this year. It is easy reading. If you put yourself to it you should be able to finish it in one sitting.

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Sunday Book Review: The Great Reset by Richard Florida

The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity by Richard Florida

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Richard Florida returns to form in this book. He is spot on in his assessments of our current crisis and what it means to future generations. While I am conflicted about the changes that are already occurring it is impossible to ignore them any longer. This is a must read to anyone caring about economics, government and/or education.

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Note: Trying something new other than the thumbs up/down reviews because Good Reads makes it so simple now.

Chandler Chamber : State of the Schools Luncheon

I have been slow in getting down content I have been collecting. I am trying to change that but I just hate writing. Recently I attended the Chandler Chamber : State of the Schools luncheon (April 22nd). It was a panel discussion including…

Dr. David Schauer – Kyrene School District Superintendent
Barbara Border – Deputy Superintendent of AZ Dept of Education
Dr. Camille Casteel – Chandler School District Superintendent
Dr. Keith Hjelmstad – ASU Vice President
Dr. Linda Lujan – Chandler-Gilbert Community College President
Debra Thompson – Maricopa Community College Vice Chancellor

Below are questions and answer summary of the event from my view point.
Chandler – Has a if we can’t sustain we won’t add it mentality. Managing operations better as well as buses. Governing energy usage and trash collection. $14m short with Prop 100. $29m short without Prop 100.
ASU – Extensive reorganization to eliminate administrative overhead. Staff furloughs. Sustainability. Using federal stimulus monies. No on prop 100 means $48m more in cuts.
Maricopa – Not a lot of state funding so not very impacted yet. Allowing alternative payment options. Keeping prices low. Triple a bond rating one of only two higher ed groups in nation. Growing 11-25% without any additional funding. Doing more with less, working smarter not harder. Changing process and not core activities. Mostly admin services affected. Property valuations will hurt them in years to come.
Kyrene – Have strong reserves and have been doing prepayments. $6m with prop 100, $12m without it. Refuse to cut PE/Art, etc. Salary reduction and larger classes instead. Can manage the $6m.
State – Blah. Blah. Blah.

What have you implemented to improve?
ASU – Changing everything.
Maricopa – Blah. Blah. Blah. 21st Century Maricopa Initiative.
Kyrene – Family resource center (food, clothing, medical attention), Poverty rate went from 9% to 20%. Professional learning communities. Collective responsibility at grade level. Collaborative approaches. Response to intervention (provide custom additional support)
State – Put bioscience and engineering first. Integrating academics CTE. Arizona skill standards commission (75 Areas)
Chandler – Staff development programming. Invest in their people.

What can schools do better to prepare students for the workforce?
Kyrene – Engagement of students needs better. Stop telling kids what to do and instead get them involved in a self organized learning approach.
Chandler – Agrees with Kyrene. Focus more on STEM.
Maricopa – Blah. Blah. Blah. Listen to students feedback more.
ASU – The pipeline is weak. STEM focus, need to be better at preparing for industry. Start listening and adjust don’t be same dumb university.
State – Get students more well rounded. Creativity and innovation mentioned but no strategy currently. CTE blah. blah. blah. EVIT joint tech and Chandler satellite programs.

How can business community be involved?
Maricopa – Weigh in with legislature. Financial support.
Kyrene – Be education friendly.
ASU – Go back to school….
Chandler – Ask the tough questions. Talk to your local district. Volunteer. Mentor. Serve.
State – Thank the Southeast Valley for standing up for education. Sit on committees.

My quick assessment is that Arizona State University and the State of Arizona seemed the most prone to the drone responses of their leadership and had the least value and little clue about the state of things.  They marked everything that is wrong with education today.  That said, I thought that Dr. Hjelmstad was better than most speaking on behalf of ASU.  The community colleges are under the least pressure financially and understand their place to serve students transitioning to a four year university or to enter the workforce.  While they had canned responses more often than not, they seemed competent.  Dr. Castille seemed a bit conservative and too focused on the STEM and CTE initiatives, but appears prudent with their money and understands the need for change.  Dr. Schauer was understated in his responses but it is clear that he is the only one that sees a radical need for change in the current way we education children.  Oddly, he currently faces the smallest budget deficit.  Coincidence?

Political Bites: Legislative Session Grade

The Legislative session was expected to wrap up April 29. What letter grade would you give lawmakers for this year’s session, and why?

I think they deserve an F.  Their inability to balance the budget in a timely fashion and in a way that only temporarily solves the problem. Including raiding the lottery fund and selling state assets.  Dismantling our state park system and decimating our educational system.  Refusing to unify on a tax increase and pushing it to the voters instead in the form of proposition 100.  Lastly, embarrassing us nationally by passing a politically motivated SB1070.

The New Economy: A Guide For Arizona

Getting ready for the 96th Arizona Town Hall, I am reading their report Building Arizona’s Future: Jobs, Innovation & Competitiveness.  It references a 1999 paper from the Morrison Institute The New Economy: A Guide for Arizona.  It lists eight principles that underpin the new economy…

  1. Technology is a given
  2. Globalization is here to stay
  3. Knowledge builds wealth
  4. People are the most important raw material
  5. There is no such thing as a smooth ride
  6. Competition is relentless
  7. Alliances are the way to get things done
  8. Place still matters

Those  items in bold are the very thing that Gangplank espouses and I will be reminding the Town Hall the importance of them.  Most importantly, I will remind them that good and talented people are the key.

Five foundations found to be critical based off this study were

  1. Connecting (telecommunications infrastructure)
  2. E-Government (getting government on-line for faster/better service)
  3. E-Learning (distance learning and technology in classrooms)
  4. Creative Communities (amenity-rich communities with strong quality of place)
  5. Knowledge leaders, entrepreneurs and capital (higher education, R&D, tech transfer, incubation and VC)

Again those items highlighted are the essence of Gangplank.  We are proud that the City of Chandler is standing as a strong supporter in providing ALL of these things and why we think they will be the CORE of the Sun Corridor.

Please leave comments to tell me I’m wrong, stupid and idiotic.  I am looking for motivation.

Sunday Review: Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson

I have decided to do a dead simple book review every Sunday. Some of this is to just share what I’m reading. Rather than go with some complex rating system a book will either be a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Thumbs up means I highly recommend reading the book. A thumbs down means read something else unless you have free time on your hands. I will then do a one or two sentence at most comment on the book.
thumbs-upOut of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative
Take Away: Inspired by the Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, I picked this up for reading.  It has great content but Robinson is a much weaker writer than he is orator.