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Friday, June 10, 2011

My after action review: Vanasupa

What worked? What would I celebrate?
  • I celebrate knowing my colleagues better;
  • I would celebrate that we actually accomplished in large part, what we set out to accomplish. We created a framework for the courses that all could agree to and that enables almost all majors to progress toward their degrees. What is most important about this framework is that it is created from a number of viewpoints, from different department and college perspectives;
  • I celebrate peoples' participating in the process that lead to what we accomplished; 
  • I celebrate our partnership with the MATH department to block enroll the students;
  • I celebrate the shift in our relationships with one another...for me, I welcome the difference in how Pete and I are relating to one another;
  • I celebrate the support of the physics department to have Pete and I co-teach;
  • It worked to have a significant chunk of time each week to sort through our questions and thoughts;
What is missing? 
The day-to-day plan of how we might use our 16 hours per week together. This includes the plan for how the students would learn in an integrated fashion.  For me, this includes needed to have at detailed, albeit a preliminary plan of : What materials will they use for their learning xyz?  How is it connected to their projects? How will their mastery be summatively assessed?

Reflection on today's conversation
I think I may have spoken too much.  I regret this and am wanting to look at what I would call my dark sense of humor.  I love listening to others speak and I do wish I did it a little more.  I was particularly grateful for Liz's honesty and self-disclosure.  I also was grateful for Ginger's insight that the fear that we experience has to do with something other than the 100-students. 

I am always profoundly grateful for Roger's presence in a conversation because his speaking has a clarifying quality for me.  He makes explicit what I only feel.  

In my experience, no where on campus, are there conversations taking place with the depth of honesty that was happening in today's after action review.  We don't typically talk about the oppression we feel by others or unmet expectations. Well, we maybe do this by talking to allies about what the evil oppressors are doing to us. But in today's conversation, we were revealing some of what should have come out at the beginning of the quarter. That would have helped us progress, in my view, a great deal. 

What did I learn?
I learned a lot about what it feels like to fail. Somehow, I have ample opportunity for this, but for me, I feel I failed to do a number of things:
  • See my own assumptions of scarcity ("We desperately need someone, anyone, from MATH, even if they are not really interested in a longer term investment.");
  • See my own distrust ("I can't say what I'm thinking because that person will remove themselves from the group.");
  • Be explicit about my expectations for those who were transactionally participating (e.g., "I expect you to create bi-weekly blog entries on x y z");
  • Create a process whereby those who were participating transactionally could succeed in meeting my expectations;
  • Ask some critical question in the beginning so that we had a shared understanding os what we were doing together;
I learned tht there is something we collectively fear that is symbolically represented in the 100-student experiment.  I think that they represent our life investment in everything that we've cherished about our professional identity.  But this is just my theory.

I learned that I am participating in the hegemonic campus dynamics through my own mistrust and an unexamined use of power (this is not yet clear to me). 

I learned that I have a mental model of cause and effect that I often apply to other people.  It goes like this: I am responsibel in some way, for the outcome of any endeavor involving me.  This mostly works in the negative: Something went wrong--how did I contribute to this probelm?  I see that I expect everyone to be in that place of critical self-reflection. I expect everyone to be asking themselves "How am I contributing to the thing I am complaining about?"

Gosh, I sound like a harsh person. :) 


  1. I don't think you're a harsh person. I think you are unbelievably honest and that just makes you stand out in a crowd. I'm appreciative of your brave leadership.

  2. Thanks, as always, for your integrity in keeping your eyes on the intent of what we are trying to accomplish....I think we already are accomplishing ti!!!!!!

  3. Actually, we may be accomplishing "ti" as well. Roger would know.