I've had a pretty eventful week - starting with a 2-day visit of Dr. Susan Komives. Susan joined us as our first Qatar Foundation Education Division Visiting Scholar. She set a very high standard for any to follow but the good thing was that she created an appetite in us all that will encourage everyone to participate in future similar events. We kept her very busy with a keynote, workshops, consultations, and guiding us in a retreat. Susan brought so much value to our community through her command of everything from the "Learning Reconsidered" model to leadership issues to her new role as President-elect of the Council for the Advancement of Standards. We're conducting an evaluation which will tell us how successful we were in helping everyone at Education City understand that student affairs work has a body of research and theory and that we can enhance our impact with students by joining together across academic and student affairs units.
It is obvious that Education City has a great deal to offer. Our facilities, the staff of Qatar Foundation and the Education City branches, bright and highly motivated students, and resources to help us do our work. We also benefit from not being inhibited by lots of history and routine. We have the opportunity to create rich learning for students by doing what makes sense, rather than being confined by old models. The only problem is that it's hard to build a team from a collection of people who are so diverse in education and life experiences. The diversity is clearly a strength but it does not make the process easier; in fact, it makes it harder.
The importance of creating shared understanding and language cannot be underestimated. We're in a stage where we are building meaning through every phrase we utter. I'm sure that much of my regular communication sounds like jargon to some. To me, it's just the way I think. However, I know that many words that I use do not carry the same depth of meaning that I intend. We're trying to create shared language that will eventually become the short-hand communication that will more quickly and fully inform each other.