When One Schoolhouse began to talk about forming the Association for Academic Leaders, we knew that the organization needed to be built around the authentic voices and lived experiences of people in academic leadership roles. From the start, we talked about how to ensure that the diversity of identities, roles, and perspectives in the academic leadership community would be represented in our work. Our Advisory Council is one way we are making sure voices like yours are heard–and we’re listening carefully to make sure we’re meeting your needs.
We believe that authentic growth and joy in our work emerge from community. During the meeting, our team found ourselves smiling from ear to ear as we watched the group gather on one Zoom screen, faces side by side. Some were long-time professional colleagues; others were known to one another only via listserv interactions. Coming together was both reassuring and invigorating, and we’re excited to do more of it in our webinars, conversations, meetups, and our in-person forum in June.
When the Advisory Council met for the first time, they talked about how they’ve engaged with the Academic Leader Competencies in their work, particularly over the last few years. When the conversation turned to the competency “Assess the present, understand the past, and design for the future,” one council member commented, “This is really intimidating.” Others agreed that one person alone couldn’t be expected to have a complete knowledge of their school’s past, keep a very close eye on the immediate demands of the present, and also envision what the future of education might look like.
It’s hard right now to think about juggling, let alone growing, all the competencies required for academic leadership. But the great thing is that the process of strengthening these competencies is by necessity collaborative. The competencies cannot be achieved in isolation. To balance past, present and future, Academic Leaders must rely on and learn from each other. Our goal is to bring groups of insightful educators together to spark growth, both for ourselves and our community. The Advisory Council is just one way the Association brings together Academic Leaders so they–so you–are not alone.
Take a look at our website, and you’ll see the faces and reflections of our Advisory Council. We think that as you scroll down the page, you’ll find some words that resonate. Maybe you, too, love the moment when students arrive at school, the possibility and promise the morning offers. Maybe you have a mentor whose words of wisdom still echo when you walk into a classroom. When you’re ready to share what you love about being an Academic Leader, we’ll be listening to you, too.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)