Successful Collaboration in Higher Ed Achieving Successful Essay

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Successful Collaboration in Higher Ed

Achieving successful collaboration in a complex environment like that of higher education is not a simple endeavor. One could suggest all manner of tactics: Active listening, strengthening relationships through social activities (like playing golf together), and using interest-based negotiation techniques. Taken alone, each of these would be inadequate. In combination, these tactics can support movement toward successful collaboration, but certain intangibles will play an even more important part. These intangibles are discussed in the following section.

Advice to Successful Candidate:

Creating a Culture of Collaboration Between Academic and Student Affairs

The position for which you have been hired was designed specifically for the primary purpose of ensuring collaboration and cooperative learning experiences for students by creating cohesion between the learning opportunities of student affairs and academic affairs. As such, the position requires exemplary skills as a collaborator and as a negotiator among various departmental interests. The position does not fall under a mantle of authority, which means that you must be able to move your agenda's forward by leveraging your network relationships, using the power of persuasion and logical argument, and by continuously assisting colleagues to tack toward the benefits to be achieved on behalf of the students at this college.

For a moment, consider this study by Anderson (2010) that provided a formal model for examining the functioning of collaborators characterized by heterogeneous skill sets. Anderson (2010) found that the number of problems a collaborator solved was a "supermodular function" of the collaborator's skill set. Anderson's research also found that the position a collaborator holds in the network of problem solvers was a reflection of the demand for her skill set. Notably, Anderson (2010) found that "a small number of players solve the vast majority of the problems, while most players solve relatively few" and that "this result holds, even when skills are distributed independently across the problem solvers." However, the degree distribution skews as the problems become more difficult for the players, and when the skill sets required are aligned with particular disciplines (Anderson, 2010).

I have included this brief summary of a contemporary problem-solving model because I believe it clearly represents the circumstances in which you will find yourself as you strive for collaboration between academic and student affairs. You will need to be able to identify the skills sets that are a good match for the problems you need to collaboratively solve, locate people within the college community who possess those skill sets, evoke the most positive perspectives from the most skilled problem solvers, and ensure that those who are not core problem solvers are still -- meaningfully -- included in the collaborative tasks. I wish you luck, and I look forward to learning how you are progressing in your inter-departmental collaborative endeavors.

The following is a position description for the role of Coordinator of Academic and Co-Curricular Learning at research-intensive public institution of higher education with an enrollment of roughly 25,000 students. The position is jointly funded by the departments of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. Recommendations for the executive search accompany are included in this document, along with suggestions to the successful candidate for the development of a plan of action for creating a culture of collaboration between academic and student affairs.

Position Description for Coordinator of Academic and Co-Curricular Learning

Qualifications:

Master's degree or doctorate (preferred) in assessment and measurement, statistics, higher education administration, education research or other applied research.

Five or more years experience in higher education, in a position that entailed collaboration with Student Affairs preferred.

Demonstrated record of conducting assessment, evaluation, and/or research.

Familiar with theory and practice related to college student development, working knowledge of professional standards (Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education; Assessment Skills and Knowledge (ASK) Standards).

Proven skills in quantitative and qualitative (and experimental) research design and administration, survey design, statistical analysis and reporting (SPSS, SAS).

Practiced in mission alignment, strategic and broad planning frameworks, outcome-based approaches to mid- and long-term goals, key performance indicators (KPIs).

Strong analytic, interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills, with ability to summarize / present complex data analysis to varied audiences / constituencies.

Ability to work independently to accomplish goals in a timely manner, and ability to be an effective member of a horizontal team of senior department executives.

Application Requirements:

Candidates must provide digital copies of a letter of interest, a professional profile, a comprehensive and current curriculum vitae (CV, not resume), official transcripts, and a list of professional references with contact information. Additionally, candidates must submit five (5) letters of reference to the Chair of the search committee that speak to the qualifications of the candidate for this position. Advancing candidates will participate in a web-based interview. Over the course of two days, short-listed candidates will prepare a presentation to the search committee, tour the campus, and participate in a panel interview. Criminal background checks are required upon offer of employment.

Search Committee Recommendations

This position demands mastery of the soft skills, such as the ability to collaborate with individuals who are markedly diverse, to work in large and small groups, to quickly and accurately read social cues, and to respond adaptively to changing needs and situations. Moreover, 21st century working conditions demand the that collaborators be able to work productively both horizontally and vertically -- with peers and with people from different disciplines, to drive engagement in all stakeholders, and -- when teams are virtual -- to demonstrate a substantive presence. In short, an effective collaborator must be an advocate -- an evangelist, if you will -- for their ideas, and yet be able to navigate the multiple, competing objectives and egos of a broad array of people. As much as we have been able to define -- and verify -- the characteristics of a person with emotional intelligence (Goleman, 2005), the constellation of behaviors, perceptions, and attitudes that coalesce to convey the presence of a person with emotional intelligence will be much in demand in this position. And, like any good protagonist, an effective collaborator must be likeable.

Advice to Successful Candidate:

Creating a Culture of Collaboration Between Academic and Student Affairs

The position for which you have been hired was designed specifically for the primary purpose of ensuring collaboration and cooperative learning experiences for students by creating cohesion between the learning opportunities of student affairs and academic affairs. As such, the position requires exemplary skills as a collaborator and as a negotiator among various departmental interests. The position does not fall under a mantle of authority, which means that you must be able to move your agenda's forward by leveraging your network relationships, using the power of persuasion and logical argument, and by continuously assisting colleagues to tack toward the benefits to be achieved on behalf of the students at this college.

For a moment, consider this study by Anderson (2010) that provided a formal model for examining the functioning of collaborators characterized by heterogeneous skill sets. Anderson (2010) found that the number of problems a collaborator solved was a "supermodular function" of the collaborator's skill set. Anderson's research also found that the position a collaborator holds in the network of problem solvers was a reflection of the demand for her skill set. Notably, Anderson (2010) found that "a small number of players solve the vast majority of the problems, while most players solve relatively few" and that "this result holds, even when skills are distributed independently across the problem solvers." However, the degree distribution skews as the problems become more difficult for the players, and when the skill sets required are aligned with particular disciplines (Anderson, 2010).

I have included this brief summary of a contemporary problem-solving model because I believe it clearly represents the circumstances in which you will find yourself as you strive for…[continue]

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