Let’s Achieve Good

Yesterday I attended the Continuums of Service conference here in Portland, Oregon.  Several hundred people from several states were in attendance — all of us focused on service-learning, social action, and social justice work within higher education. It was an amazing group to be in and I felt privileged to be in the presence of so many who care and who spend their time trying to make making a difference.

One thing I learned about — from the keynote speaker Sean Stannard-Stockton — was The Girl Effect, created by The Nike Foundation. Watch the video here:

The Nike Foundation explains:

We sought out where we could make the greatest impact. We found it in adolescent girls. Invest in them, the theory goes, and you will unleash a powerful ripple effect.

As Stannard-Stockton pointed out, true social change does not come about by doing good things; it comes about by achieving good. As we begin Spring Into Service, let’s focus on what we collectively will achieve toward understanding and reducing food insecurity in our state.

Starting with the Opening Reception on Tuesday, April 6th, please Spring into Service and join us in achieving good.


Good Work!

good_workI recently attended a session at the AHEA conference in Chicago that was led by my colleagues Morry Fiddler and Catherine Marienau of the School for New Learning at DePaul University. The session was titled “??!!(Work)??” — so the title alone captured my interest.

The workshop itself was a nice opportunity for conference attendees to stop and reflect on our lives. We usually spend most of the conference talking about our institutions’ lives and our students’ lives, and rarely do we have occasion at the conference to stop and think about ourselves as personal/professional beings. Needless to say, this was a treat.

The workshop centered around the themes of a book by Howard Gardner and associates called GoodWork: When Excellence and Ethics Meet. I’ve not read the book yet, but I am eagerly awaiting the copy I ordered less than 1 hour after the workshop. According to Morry and Catherine, GoodWork highlights three qualities of work that is “good” (this is their high level summary):

  1. Excellence – doing things excellently
  2. Personally satisfying
  3. Of value to or good for others

I have since found myself  giving a lot of thought to these qualities and thinking about the final question that Morrie and Catherine posed for us:

What story do we want to be able to tell about our work going forward?

By reflecting on where we have been professionally in respect to these 3 qualities, and thinking about where we are now, attempting to answer this question can help us identify what changes we might want to initiate for and in the future.

I am not sure if these three qualities need be present all at once or even in balance — it’s probably different for everyone — but let me encourage you to give them some thought as well:

  • Are you most satisfied with your work when it is done with excellence; when it’s personally satisfying; when it’s of value to others?
  • Do these qualities resonate with your version of  “good work?”
  • Do all of them need to be present at the same time?
  • Do they need to be balanced?

If you are interested in learning more about these qualities or the work of Gardner and associates, you can explore the GoodWork Project website.

Friendly Treehouses (AHEA)

Thanks to "Monk of the TrueSchool" for making this image available on wikimedia.

Thanks to "Monk of the TrueSchool" for making this image available on wikimedia.

In this  post are several links to resources and examples related to the presentation that Harriet Schwartz (who writes The Encouragement Lounge, a blog for her adult learners) and I gave at this year’s AHEA conference.

First, a must read is Harriet’s article that was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled Facebook: The New Classroom Commons? Congratulations Harriet!

And, if you are new to these tools and would like to learn about a variety of them and their uses in general, feel free to browse Marylhurst 2.0, the course blog that I created to support the Introduction to Social Media course I taught this past summer. Topics and resources include Twitter, YouTube, social bookmarking, LinkedIn, RSS, and many more.



Finally, I recommend watching this video of Howard Rheingold, a professor at UC Berkeley and Stanford University and a scholar and leader in social media uses in education (and beyond).  In the video, Rheingold talks about the “coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action — and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group.”



June 15, 2009

From: Adult Higher Education Alliance (AHEA)

Dear Melanie and Harriet:

On behalf of the 2009 conference planning committee, I am pleased to inform you that your conference proposal , Facebook, Blogs, & Friendly Treehouses: Mentoring Adult Learners Using Social Media,” has been accepted for inclusion in the 2009 program. We were absolutely delighted with the large number and quality of proposals we received, and are looking forward to a wonderful exchange of ideas at National-Louis University in Chicago this fall.

Harriet is Harriet Schwartz, a colleague of mine from AHEA who writes The Encouragement Lounge, a blog for her adult learners. If you’ve not checked it out yet, you should — it’s quite good (and she peppers her blog with lovely photos that she has taken — total eye candy!)

AHEA in Chicago: here we come!