Inefficient For the Sake of Inefficiency Together

Last Friday, I sat in a room with 12 other people to discuss the Faculty Learning Community Grant process. The idea was to offer advice on the grant application, and I think we did just that. If you are reading this blog, then you know, the only thing I have to offer you at this point is advice on how to write the application. And I most happy to talk about grant writing (dirty little secret: I like grant writing).

How to facilitate said FLC, well, that’s one problem among the 99 others I have right now. My co-facilitator is feeling the same way, so I thought I would post a quick list of what I learned from the meeting.

Good questions asked during the task force:

1. How do we get students involved in FLCs?

2. How do we create opportunities for teacher-leaders? Not all teachers want to become administrators. How do we create leadership learning opportunities for teachers to lead other teachers?

3. Does an FLC grant help establish momentum for change at institution because of the “seed money” from the state board?

4. Do we have to create an FLC for system-wide change or should we just focus efforts on our local institution?

5. How do we account for faculty learning when they may not have gained “measurable” skills? (This measurement, for the record, is important for proof of cost movements on campuses).

I think these questions came up in the first two hours into the meeting, so you know, just your average conversation with educators. I’ve done a lot of research I could link to for this post, but I’m stretched a bit thin this week. I’ll take up these questions on another post.

Here’s what I loved about the meeting: we digressed quite a bit at times, and Jen reminded us that it’s okay to “inefficient for the sake of efficiency.” If I had to choose a quick summary of where we are as an FLC, that’s how I would sum it up. Very inefficient, yes, for the sake of efficiency.

Later in the week, I have a meeting with my co-facilitator, and I’m going to propose that we hold a bit of a task force ourselves, only I don’t want to use task in the title. Down with the tyranny of tasks! I’m also helping put on a retreat for 78 people this weekend, so I’d like to use something else other than the word retreat.

What’s a good title for getting smart people in a room so that they can help you?

Potential Working Titles:

Help Feed Me Ideas, and I’ll Feed You.

Tell Me About the Future, and I’ll Feed You.

Food For Your Thoughts?

Questions, Food, & Conversation; Yay, Research!

It’s Too Early In the Day To Drink Booze, Coffee Anyone?

So. I’ve got time for the title writing, so in the meantime, I have a short list of folks that I would like to talk to, and I’m also open to adding more people if you’re interested. We will host this yet to be titled event at either Everett CC or some location near Seattle, and we’ll talk about ways to support faculty. Ways to help faculty collaborate. Ways to help the good teachers become better. Ways to gather faculty together without the tyranny of a “deliverable” or “a task.”

We are going to ask questions and I’ll take notes, listen, and then create something we can share wildly and widely with other educators who support educators.

I have two edicts for this discussion:

1. I don’t want to talk about funding, stipends, contracts, and any of the barriers that we already know exist. Let’s be like Mahatma Ghandi talk about what we’d like to see in the world. Then we can create a strategy later.

2. If you want to talk about a problem, you have to bring a solution that you are willing to bring up to the group for a debate. We won’t change topics until we have helped solve your problem.

The only question that I know I want to ask you is: 

If you knew nobody could say no to your ideas, what would your dreamworld look like for teaching and learning?

We want to talk to community college and university folks, so if you are interested, please contact me at and use this in your subject line: Interested in FLC.

That’s all I need from you: email address and that you’re interested. You can just say hi in the email, if you like. Nothing fancy.

Let me be clear right now, I don’t have a plan. But I will, and I promise I won’t waste your time.

We will be gathering in April, most likely on a Friday. I can feed you breakfast, lunch, and depending on how far away you are, your mileage to drive here or a train ticket. Flights are out of my budget range. Logistics to be announced and solidified very soon.

Come, let us be inefficient for the sake of efficiency together.


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