I need to take responsibility to develop authentic and meaningful relationships with my colleagues.
This week I had the opportunity to work with the adjunct faculty of our college at our annual adjunct convocation. Events such as these help adjuncts build connections and establish mentor/coaching relationships as needed. Likewise, our event reminded me that our adjuncts can offer us full-timers mentoring as well. Just because I am on the full-time payroll does not automatically make me an adjunct’s mentor. Collegial collaborations go both ways.
Our theme this year (with a special thanks to my Dean and Associate Dean) focused on “Back to the Basics: Rapport, Rigor, and Responsibility” within our teaching and learning environment.
- Rapport. What do we do to build relationships with our students? How do we establish validating and authentic connections? Without the human dimension it becomes difficult to carry out any other part of our mission. At all times, we must remember that our students are more than data points on a retention Excel spreadsheet. They are someone’s child, wife, husband or grandma.
- Rigor. How do we maintain rigor in our courses? After all, we are preparing our students for a world beyond campus. What skills do we help them to build? At times, rigor is confused for a mind-numbing, fire-hosed stream of data. Without relevance to the student (again, tapping into rapport), rigor quickly becomes rigor mortis!
- Responsibility. There is a shared responsibility between faculty and student. We educate them as to the tools and resources available for their use. It is their responsibility to use those tools appropriately. That becomes easier when the students develop a sense of self-efficacy—when they believe effort really matters.
While the convocation focused on the dynamics of the teaching and learning process with our students, the theme reminded me of the importance of nurturing relationships with my adjunct colleagues. After all, I need to take responsibility to develop authentic and meaningful relationships with all of my colleagues.
And for those readers who are not in education, think of adjunct in terms of “temp workers” for your company. Or perhaps, contract workers who are brought in for a particular task on an as needed basis.
The 3Rs above apply to our relationships at all levels. As you move into the new week, consider the following questions.
- Rapport. What have you been doing to develop rapport amongst co-workers? Are you saying, “It’s not my job”? Or, “So-in-So is the problem, not me!”? Are you waiting for the boss to do it? While leadership can be critical, I have worked in a number of leaderless/rudderless environments in which the worker-bees had to step up and create a collegial environment.
Video recommendation for the week:
Regardless of what Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) says, there is not an algorithm for building a meaningful relationship. This takes authentic effort. While it does take effort, it is not rocket science.
- Rigor. Whatever your business, how have you helped to maintain high standards for your product or service?
- Responsibility. Who is taking on the responsibility to foster rapport and demand rigor? Are you a leader, a follower, or someone watching from the sidelines?
The 3 Rs. The basics for relationship building.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.