The Unseen and Seldom Talked About Responsibility of Privilege

I am sitting at a deli in downtown Atlanta on a chilly Friday. I am attending the AAC&U Annual Meeting and it is time for lunch. As you can tell by the picture I had a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup and I got a Diet Coke (after all this is Atlanta, home of Coke). This morning I enjoyed breakfast at my hotel (one that I did not pay for out of my pocket). I got here using a plane ticket paid for by my employer, rode the MARTA train, attended the conference, and tweeted about my experience on a phone that was subsidized by my employer. Throughout the conference I will enjoy complimentary snacks at a reception, be provided unlimited tea, coffee, water, and soda, and given lots of resources I get to take home. I have to admit, it’s pretty great. Continue reading

How I learned to be the trimtab and not the boat

Working for a university is hard work. There is a lot of pressure to perform and you always know that a failure at your work affects if students can do their work. There is also the pressure that comes from the perceived pressure to be great all of the time. Finally, there is the issue of impostership. When you are constantly surrounded by really smart and accomplished people there is a sense that you don’t quite measure up and you will one day be “found out”. I find from time to time I suffer from this lack of confidence and push myself to be all things to all people. But I am getting over it, here’s how. Continue reading

Like it or not, College is Vocational Training through personal enrichment

As the Executive Director of a multi-university Consortium I get an opportunity to interact with a lot of different folks, doing a myriad of jobs, and with differing impacts on college students. Working with three universities representing over 180,000 students in large metropolitan cities like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando I get to assemble teams of university professionals which include faculty, administrators, community leaders, and student leaders. While the topics and discussions range in subject matter and importance there seems to be a prevailing and ongoing conversation as to the importance of college and its role in a modern society. Continue reading

How I Became a Better Leader when I Stopped Leading and Started Working

In 2015 I took the job as the Executive Director of the Florida Consortium and I thought that meant something. After years of toiling in the minor leagues I had finally been called up to pitch on the big stage. Finally I can be the leader I always felt I was destined to be; visionary and decisive. I pictured myself in suits, speaking to groups of eager higher education folk at our three universities; Florida International University, University of Central Florida, and University of South Florida. And I felt that the best way to ensure I was followed was to be a big thinker; regal, and stout. Boy, was I ever wrong. Flash forward four years and I am working with more humility and measure than I have in my career. Because I learned a few things the past few years culminating with the greatest lesson of all – great leaders are also great workers. Most great leaders inspire greatness from their teams by being the hardest worker in the group and using that work ethic to pave the way for the entire team to excel. Continue reading

Day 3 – Son Volt – Trace

From 1995-1997 I became a Midwesterner for 24 months as I attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for my graduate program. It was a magical time in my life and maybe the best two years of my life. I moved there in June of 1995 after accepting a graduate assistantship sight unseen. I had never been to that part of country except passing through on cross country road trips. I immediately fell in love with the area. It was beautiful, the people were nice, and the pace of living was amazing. It had four seasons and was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. Continue reading

Day 2 – Beastie Boys, Check Your Head

It was the summer of 1992. I was back home in Homestead, Florida and all I did was work at Costco like 12 hours a day and listen to music. I was really into Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, basically what everyone else my age was into. In April the Beastie Boys released the album Check Your Head and it was an instant Gen X classic. Lifted up by the amazing single What Cha Want and their trippy MTV video the album was on heavy rotation in my life.  Continue reading

Day 1 – The Trees Have Soul – Willy Porter

In the spring of 1992 I was a freshman at East Carolina University. After my friend Jane dragged me to a meeting of the coffeehouse committee of the ECU Student Union I decided to volunteer for a couple of events to round out my freshman year. One of them was for a coffeehouse concert by some guitar picker I had never heard of. Now, all of our coffeehouse events were held in this small, dingy part of the ECU Student Union long since razed for renovations. The location was small with low ceilings, there was a corner stage and there were a couple of pool tables, a row of video games, some old couches, a big screen television and low light. It was always dark and cool in the location.  Continue reading