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Fryeshine Jar visit to Minneapolis

Alright, a little background here for folks that aren’t from Frye ’09.  Frye class of 2009 has a mascot, the Fryeshine jar, that has been visiting each of us from the group (that’s a list of us with our addresses inside the jar).  Every visit includes many pictures of the Jar’s adventures.  I decided to show off a couple of my favorite spots in Minneapolis.  Additionally on our email list there was interest in Mary Tyler Moore and the Mall of America so I included those too.  Click on any image to see a larger version.

Minneapolis Skyline

The day started with a nice vista of the Minneapolis downtown skyline from the roof of my building.  It was an unseasonably warm 50 degrees so I headed out with jar in hand.

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Frye wisdom 2 years later

This year at the Educause annual conference several of my Frye colleagues gave a panel presentation on their experiences post-Frye with attaining leadership positions (look in Resources tab for the PPT).  It was very informative and hopefully the video will be available online for all to see.  I jotted down many notes and had these take-aways for those looking to move into leadership positions:

  • When looking for a new position, know your strengths and your area of preference/comfort. Look for institutions and at position reporting lines that match those preferences.  For example, if you are academic computing focused, look for positions that report up through the Provost / Dean.  Also know what the institution is about and what its focus is.  You are looking for a good fit.
    • Also learn about other areas outside of your own.  Get on projects outside of your area.  You will need to know the broader view of IT to be an effective leader.  For example, if you work mainly on the systems side get on some academic computing project teams.
  • Know what stage of organizational development the institution you are considering is in.  Do they need someone to carry on what is happening?  Someone to fix something that is broken?  Someone to transform them?  Also know where your strengths lie.  An article in CIO magazine described 3 types of CIOs – operational, transformative, or strategic.  Know where your strengths or your goals lie.  Make sure the institutional need is a fit for you.  Organizations change over time and what they need change.
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Thursday, day 11

Well, here is the end.  Everyone feels like summer camp has ended.  The group really gelled after just a few days.  Many people thought the backnoise channel played a role in that.  I have to agree.  It was great having a whole second conversation going on.  Imagine if during a presentation you could hear the thoughts of other people in the audience, the questions thay had, their comments, the additional resources they know of — that’s what backnoise provided. The faculty made a wordle of the backnoise text


Wordle: Frye2009

Everyone is pretty exhausted — especially the ones that stayed up to midnight each night (I wasn’t one of those). But I’m still exhausted.

To sum up, here’s 3 types of things I want to take away

  • things to do
    • check on campus crisis plan
    • plan a user support retreat
      • include: Pink exercise, hedgehog concept, Terry Hartle view of higher ed
    • check on the cognitive cost of voice recorders, flip video, other things
    • IT advisory committee
    • get “Good to Great for Social Sector”
  • things to think about
    • managers (doing things right) vs leaders (doing the right things)
    • creative leadership model
    • current disruptive currents in IT
  • things to think differently about
    • life-work balance
    • looking at things as essential vs. strategic
    • cognitive cost of services
    • tracking projects in the department

Wednesday, day 10

Today things are winding down.  We have group project presentations this afternoon and one speaker this morning.  We start the day with Mitzi Montoya, Assistant Dean of Research at North Carolina State.  She talked on “Marketing for Sustainability.”  She too was a great speaker and really hit on some relevant marketing ideas for IT.  For me, the key take-away was the cognitive cost of a service. That is best described as how hard it is to get to your service, or how many steps does it take.  This is a lens that I want to use to look at what we provide.  Two things come to mind — voice recorders and flip video cameras.  We should pick models that are easy to use, reduce the cognitive cost.  Other items included a reminder about “Good to Great for Social Sector.”  I’ve read most of “Good to Great” but would like the tie back to nonprofits.  The hedgehog concept came up which was a good reminder to think of us in terms of that concept.

The afternoon was filled with group presentations.  My group presented on “Innovation.”  We took the definition of “ideas applied successfully” and deconstructed that a bit for higher ed.  Another group tackled “globalization” which made me ponder why we don’t leverage video conferencing, including desktop video conferencing, for remote support including Rochester.  Another group presentation on “collaboration” and did this great exercise for getting to know each other.  This exercise came from Jody as she uses it in her classes.  I have a bunch of ideas for a user support retreat now.  The group on “sustainability/green it” reminded me about the President’s Climate Commitment — I know Paul signed it but is the campus moving forward on it?

The day ended with a group picture, a graduation ceremony and 1 minute speech from each of us about the experience.


Tuesday, day 9

Today we delved into e-scholarship again this time with Christine Borgman from UCLA via video skype.  It worked really quite well.  She used her work with CENS as a case study.  Not a lot of takeaways — I’m just not that interested in e-scholarship or see the pressing relevance right now for Augsburg.  The major research institutions in the room were far more engaged in the topic.

The after consisted of a tour of Emory facilities including Cox Hall — I feel like I visited one of the holy sites for learning spaces.  I of course snapped many of my own pictures. One tidbit, they spent 30% of their budget on lighting — something to not forget.  We also visited the tiny room where they are digitizing books in partnership with Amazon.  I snapped a few pictures of their machine.  As we watched it looked like maybe an average of 5 seconds per 2-pages with a yellowback book. They noted for every 1 hour of digitizing they needed 2 hours of post-processing.

We then had a panel discussion with leadership from the library and IT at Emory.  A few quotes include “manage complexity in an organization resistant to change,” “higher ed lacks guts but has a heart,” and “the part that is not in the classroom is a business.”  The various discussions made me think

  • we need to track what projects we have going on (something Leif has been interested in).  There has been so much talk about projects driving things.
  • how do we keep meeting the changing demands and stay nimble? — our beginning efforts to build a knowledgebase, make videos are all moving towards a campus culture where people can use some self-service.  I want to have the personal contact to be meaningful and advance our goals and the mission.  We have a talented, committed outstanding user support staff.  We can’t keep expanding and changing what we support without streamlining some of the basics — some questions are essential but not strategic.

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