My idea is your idea; this FLC was made for you and me.

In 2014, I sacrificed the time I used to spend practicing yoga to carve out hours to ride my bike, but I’ve kept the advice of my favorite yogi close. She not only has the most perfect postures, she has a lovely British accent.

At the point where she could see her students struggling–we couldn’t possibly hold a pose for another second–she’d say:

“Class, use your English Bulldog determination. Your Bengal Tiger strength. Don’t give up.”

As a person who loves dogs with crushed snouts, I have to admit that it’s hard to imagine that those lumps of flesh that we know today were once the bull-baiter kings. The lazy fat bellies we know today were once tough working dogs.

One strand of their DNA that still remains is their ability to pull your arm out the socket if you play tug. Once they latch on; they don’t let go. You get a glimpse of what they were like when they pull down a bull by the nose.

So it’s almost 2015, and this is my last blog post for this academic year. Here’s a quick summary of what I decided last week:

1. I’ve retitled the subtitle to this blog.

There is some collaboration happening, but it’s not what I promised in the grant. That’s fine. I have to let it go. I had originally envisioned us to be more like traveling researchers, but for our own sanity, Peg and I need to be buskers in one spot.

For folks at the other four stars, here’s my promise: We’ll send out invites, and we’ll hope you can make it. Invite us when you can. Never hesitate to contact me. I hope the books I sent you help you create the thing that you need.

2. In January, I have three objectives for the next six months.

A] I’m going to invite Todd Lundberg and Walter Hudsick to come talk to us. Because I like them, and they are instrumental players in who I am as an educator. We’re going to eat and talk. I want to know what Todd did at UW-Madison. And I need to see Walter more.

B] Peg and I are going to go Tacoma to visit Joanne Munroe, Chris Soran, and the awesomeness that is TCC. We’re going to eat and talk with them. I want to see their space. The more I’m around Chris’s “Let’s break it so we can learn how to fix it” DIY spirit, the better I feel. And I’ll blog about Joanne another time.

C] I’m going to use some of the grant to get Lisa Chamberlin over the Cascades into my world. We need her change management research, and well, I like Lisa. She can take three popsicle sticks and make a cabin. Plus, Peg and I owe since our work inspired her VP.

3. I’m not sure we can pull off a retreat. I’m worried about Peg’s workload and I don’t need another event to plan. On the days when we visit with the folks above, we’ll use the entire day. No multi-tasking. If I continue on this path, I’m going to be right back where I was six years ago when I started researching teacher burnout (for a reason).

4. Peg, your assignment is to choose your three objectives and we’ll explore the fun of state budget bureaucracy together (wink). You can also give me another idea because this really isn’t an assignment. Just tell me what you want to do, and I’ll make it so (Jean Luc Picard philosophy alert!). I just don’t want to bug you on your last teacher holiday break. Trust me, you need to enjoy time with those grand-babies.

So for now, I’ll return to my promise to help future grant writers.

Peg and I have been asked to go to a meeting in Olympia with the state board folks, and I’m a bit worried about what we’ll say. I can say this–our 2F is worth re-using–for any FLC grant.

State board folks, the 2F is a good question and it’s worth keeping, IMHO. It forces the big picture on collaborators.

Grant writer tip: 

Discover the thing that makes you say, “We See A Dire Need To Create ______.”

Fill in the blank with something singular, you can only do so much. Connect said “Dire Need” to some initiative from the federal level.

Then take something from your strategic plan that connects to your “Dire Need.”

Use specific language about how your “Dire Need” HELPS STUDENTS LEARN. Imagine your audience will love your ideas. Even if you don’t know how to do it.

Be sure to use “Need” and not “Want”–be careful with semantics. Your audience is intelligent, forward thinking, and dedicated. They are kings and queens of close reading and their resources are scarce. The sentence above is not sycophancy; I know this to be true about anything Jen Whetham and Bill Moore create. If they read this, I hope they know I’m being honest and sincere.

So. Here’s what we wrote. I busted out the edict-like response and Peg came up with the BRILLIANT idea of selecting language from all of our strategic plans.

My idea is your idea; this FLC was made for you and me. (Woody Guthrie, forgive my riff).

2F. What connections do you see between the learning that will occur in your FLC and student success?

As a group we are philosophically and pedagogically in agreement that faculty support and student success are intertwined. We believe that student success initiatives such as Achieve The Dream, the Completion Agenda, and other strategic initiatives are motivating ideas to restructure professional development on campuses. Many of the initiatives stress the importance of “Week 1 for Students” and we see a dire need to create “Week 0 for Faculty.” In other words, the cornerstone of student success is prepared faculty members.

By highlighting student success, we can reimagine what is possible for professional development for faculty. The 2010 Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of the Five Star Consortium highlights the “goal of maximizing efficiencies and promoting institutional coordination and collaboration.” Our project will maximize our collective effort as a community of practice for faculty professional development. Below we have selected our campus mission statements to show meaningful intersections of common need and interest in our strategic plans.

Cascadia CC Mission Statement:
Every individual is supported and engaged in lifelong learning.

Edmonds CC Mission Statement:
Edmonds Community College strengthens our diverse community by helping students access educational and career opportunities in a supportive environment that encourages success, innovation, service, and lifelong learning.

Everett CC Mission Statement:
EvCC creates life-changing educational opportunities where students become active learners who strengthen our diverse local and global communities.

Lake WA Institute of Technology Mission Statement:
To prepare students for today’s careers and tomorrow’s opportunities.

Shoreline CC Mission Statement:
We are dedicated to serving the educational, workforce and cultural needs of our diverse community.

So go forth and read. Think. Write, FLC.

New Edict: We aren’t behind. We’re just getting started. See you in 2015.


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