Listen to Aspen

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Too many initiatives leave employees spinning.

A report from Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program found faculty are suffering from “initiative fatigue” from the mountain of new programs piling up over the last 10 years.

Between AlamoAdvise, AlamoInstitutes, “Four Disciplines of Excellence,” Wildly Important Goals, Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” eLumen and the reporting of student learning outcomes, online educational resource, the integration of English and reading remedial classes, the Texas Success Initiative exam, Early Alert for students who aren’t doing well, midterm grades, submission of grade spreadsheets at the end of the semester and whatever else we forgot because we’re exhausted just listing it: Teachers don’t have time to teach.

The people who suffer from these overwhelming burdens are not just the overworked faculty, but the students who lose time in and out of classrooms because a teacher has to take time away from class to explain some random quote of the day, regurgitate district propaganda or create spreadsheets on grade progress for adults who should be capable of self-monitoring.

But that’s not the only reason faculty are feeling jaded about the changes enacted recently.

The report hit home when it said Aspen prize winners succeed because they not only focus on one or two priorities, but because they focus on “communicating them clearly and repeatedly.”

Communication is a luxury in this district. Decisions are approved behind closed doors and imposed without anyone knowing they were coming.

Efforts to ooze success have created an atmosphere of discontent and apathy. To succeed, the district needs to lighten up and communicate.


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