There are two important reasons why I love December to February, our summer break, in higher education in Australia. The first, is that I finally get to set aside time for research and wading my way through the stack of articles, news stories, reports and publications which I add to my ‘to look at later pile’ throughout the course of the year. The second is that I also have the opportunity in my spare time to write blogs or articles such as this one, sharing some of my experiences, my advice, and the lessons that I have learned as part of my time working in student accommodation (and the wider student affairs space).
Over the past few years, I’ve found that both activities have not only been of personal value – adding to my own professional development, knowledge base and skill set — but I’ve also had feedback from others (near and far!) that the information I’ve openly shared – be it through such blogs, articles, phone calls, conversations or face-to-face meetings – has been of great value to them. In some cases, they’ve adopted or introduced new programs or events, changed a process or an approach, or simply learnt something new. Best of all, on most occasions I’ve also gained from the experience.
Despite such benefits, putting our hand up to speak, share our work, or seek feedback can be a daunting task, but there are three critical reasons why knowledge exchange is something we should continue to embrace, both at a local and more global level.
1. We’ve got a lot to learn: Achieving perfection is an unobtainable feat, which effectively means that no matter how much work you put into something, no matter how well it works, no matter how good it looks – there’s always room for improvement. If we can continually look at new ways of doing things or review the approach others are taking, we can see things with fresh perspective, generate new knowledge, and we can start to work towards best practice.
2. We’ve got a lot to share: Here’s your pep talk for the day – you are all amazing….at something! Yes, that’s right, we’ve all got a topic or area of knowledge that we know in great detail and can speak confidently and knowledgeably about no matter what the situation or circumstance. Whatever your piece of knowledge, sharing it with others is an uplifting and positive experience which will enhance your reputation and credibility.
3. It’s a win-win situation: Putting both of those reasons aside, the biggest motivation for knowledge exchange has to be the reality that everyone involved benefits! If we continue to improve our processes, programs, services or offerings in higher education, our outputs improve, things work better, staff are happier, and we achieve or exceed our stated outcomes. Indirectly, our students also reap the rewards.
Whatever your motivation for putting yourself out there to share what you’ve learnt, or what you already know, the best part is that you’re probably already doing it in some way, shape or form if you are:
– Seeking feedback and providing it in return
– Asking constructive questions – in particular, how and why?
– Conducting or reviewing research
– Letting others know what you are planning, and why you have adopted a particular approach
– Asking for help, guidance, or advice
– Requesting assistance with a project, event, or activity
– Promoting your work – the success stories, the challenges and lessons learned via conferences, blogs, or articles
– Seeking out a mentor, or acting as one for someone else
– Continually looking for opportunities to learn from others
– Observing and reflecting
– Looking beyond your own ‘backyard’ – consider similar industries or ‘go global’ to see how others do things
– ‘Walking in someone else’s shoes’ – looking at things with an alternative perspective or immersing yourself in a different learning environment
What other creative ways do you share your knowledge and experiences with others?
> BONUS <
Podcast With Wimer Alberto on Housing Operations