“FT:Data can only be used honorably in enviros willing to change. Data won’t soothe fear of change so know how to create + enviros1st #SAchat”
Think back to the last time you wanted to start a project or change the way things were being done because attendance was low, you were getting negative feedback, or in some way, you sensed it wasn’t working. Now think about the people you talked to about this change. What were their reactions? How did they make you feel about your inquiries?
Much of HOW we move forward with projects depends upon the support we have around us. In environments where our coworkers and supervisors want feedback and give constructive feedback, data is a great asset. We can use it to take a critical look at what we are doing well, what we can do better, and where we are failing.
When those around us or even ourselves don’t want to see anything wrong with the work we are doing or might feel that if the data is negative we could look bad or be reprimanded, it significantly stunts new and creative ideas, projects, and initiatives. We need to both be comfortable in ourselves as well as confident in those we supervise that they are good at their job and have everyone’s best interest in mind when starting a new project, trying to improve an old process, or simply when they inquire about the climate or quality of students’ experiences. That IS why we are all here, to help students succeed and have a positive growth experience in college.
But I’ve seen many a person fueled by fear. This is when I see great surveys reworded so the results could be interpreted many different ways. I’ve seen results taken and twisted so that it doesn’t look “as bad” for fear of looking bad on an individual or division. I’ve seen fear of change in a general halt of assessment altogether and creation of environments where assessment is discouraged. When we create these environments of fear we create an environment where our coworkers and supervisees aren’t as productive, are more discouraged, and often leave work feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. How can we make sure this isn’t the tone we are setting for our work environment?
Want feedback shared.
Share feedback with others whenever you can, both positive and critical. Encourage others to share feedback with you at any time and when they do, thank them for their investment in your growth.
Fail and let others fail.
Make sure that people know you want them to take risks and sometimes those risks will fail miserably and that’s okay. Your team will quickly learn that they are supported in all of their endeavors and that they can lean on their teammates for support to make each decision better than the last.
Be honest about your intentions, motivations, and overall happenings.
Share all the information you can when you can share it. Nobody likes finding things out last minute or that if they had known the information you hold, the results would have been better for everyone. Everyone wants to know they can trust leadership and those around them. When you are transparent and expect others to be as well, a baseline trust is established. Trust is a strong foundation for progress.
This is often the hardest one for many but often the most helpful. When others see you have faults, when they know your story, when they know you need help too, they will step in and do so. People you work with will also see you as human and can both relate more easily and want to help you and the department be the best it can be.
See assessment and data not as a grading scale but as a check in.
Everyone does better when they know someone cares enough about them to check in.
No amount of data, no matter how great, how diverse, how accurate, or how well thought-out, will ‘prove’ to someone that change needs to happen. We can always justify results we don’t want to see, but we cannot justify not acting when we want to see growth.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Kedrick Nicholas on Assessment of Student Programming