Leadership Begins with People and Technology
Administrators in English and Communication must be personable and lead digital initiatives. As diverse interests grow, technologies drive curriculum, and positions fill with adjuncts, it is a leader’s duty to work together with people and technology to support faculty and students. As a leader, my mission is to collaborate with my peers and empower their work. I have dedicated my efforts to teaching and learning innovative technologies to meet 21st century needs. The passion I have for every stakeholder in my department motivates my dedication to advocacy and assures all parties have a voice. These attributes of leadership are central to my administration in English and Communication. Below I demonstrate how I fill the roles of collaborator, innovator, and advocate.
As departments change with digital culture, the number of special interests held by administrators, faculty, and community members multiply. Leadership aiming to meet the needs of growth must be at the center of the collective efforts of the department. As a treasury officer in multiple academic organizations, I know one of the most powerful ways to work together is through finance. I have worked with colleagues to establish and fund two professional development grants at two institutions, the EGSO Travel Award at Eastern Illinois University, and the Phorum Travel Grant at Iowa State University. Through these grants, I have been a collaborator in bringing the innovative efforts of these departments to conferences across the country.
Innovation in English and Communication is a motivating force for administrative guidance in our computerized culture. Technology initiatives always necessitate great effort because administrators must develop complex new literacies to disseminate. During my research on multimodal communication design, the development of design pedagogy theory and practice put my leadership as an innovator into action. I provided seminars on multimodal communication design for technical communication faculty, taught design methods to students, and was solicited to contribute my approaches to the department’s course redesign. By leading through technology and teaching others how it is changing our practices, my role as an innovator spread positive cultural influences to members throughout the department.
Moving from my influence, it is important for leaders to recognize how others spark changes in them. During my time as adjunct faculty at Lake Land College, the influences of my peers led me to become an advocate for adjuncts and our department. Many of my colleagues were overworked and felt they had little to no voice in the college. Further, the department chair lamented the underrepresentation of adjuncts in vital business of reaccreditation. Because of the needs of my peers and administrators, I gave us a voice as the adjunct faculty representative on the board for curricular development and the board for HLC reaccreditation. Bringing attention to the needs of my peers and acting in service to my administrator, I was able to become an advocate for important changes to adjunct’s curricular support and the positive perception of the college’s growing cohort of educators in need of representation.
As an administrator it is important to address the changes that are challenging English and Communication departments. The leadership that we provide must begin with the collaboration we enact, the technology we support, and the people we provide a voice. As an administrator I am prepared to succeed in these areas by working to undergird the work of all the stakeholders who rely on me. Whether they require funding, guidance, or someone to advocate for them, I am prepared to do so. This is my vision for administrative leadership in the challenging environment of the 21st century department and my goals as an educational leader.