Op-ed: Internet time vs. academic time

A CIO describes how leadership can be effective in managing academic governance in a timely manner.

time-academic-cioA question that I’m asked in almost every interview is how I handled the transition from being an entrepreneur to working at a small liberal arts college.

Implied is the question: “how did you bear the excruciatingly slow pace of higher-ed governance, when you used to work in fast-paced ‘internet time?’”

There’s a “bumper sticker” answer, and there’s the real answer.

The bumper sticker answer is that the pace of higher-ed decision making allows the ball to slow down so you can see it (to mangle a sports metaphor).

The real answer is that shared governance, as practiced in higher education, is complex; to practice effectively within the academy, it takes time. The time it takes, is the time it takes.

Does that mean that every project and initiative at colleges and universities has to happen at an “academic time” pace?

Absolutely not. 

(Next page: Where shared governance begins and ends)

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