That Vision thing…

A Framing of Futures situates Macquarie as a University of service and engagement

It states:

We serve and engage our students and staff through transformative learning and life experiences

We serve and engage the world through discovery, dissemination of knowledge and ideas, innovation and deep partnerships

This is followed by statements on our Vision and Values, all of which speak to the highest order thinking for the institution.

The vision declares our aspirations, identifying Macquarie to be a destination of choice; deeply connected with stakeholders; ranked highly in research and known as custodians of the campus.

Building on those foundations, we need to draw out a more specific vision for learning and teaching.

We need to synthesise the declared purpose, vision and values and set out a high level vision for learning and teaching at Macquarie so that we might then develop a framework and strategy. In short, before we work through our strategies and goals, we need to agree on what some call ‘the vision thing.’

We know that a culture of transformative learning in a research enriched environment is a priority, where: ‘Learning and teaching is at the centre of our purpose … ‘ and that experiences that change the lives of our students include PACE, infusing cutting-edge technology, and promoting enquiry-driven learning.

These goals provide us with distinctive projects and help us to formulate a vision for learning and teaching.

But we need to further explore the questions of ‘Why, what, and how do we teach?’ and more particularly ‘How does this distinguish Macquarie?’

The idea of transformative learning is central to those questions and their answers and that idea – and others –  demands further examination. In order to provoke that examination, I offer here a suggested Vision for Learning and Teaching – my synthesis of our values and goals, which is designed to provide a starting point for reflection and conversation.

We aspire to be a University that empowers its students with the capacity and desire to change their worlds.

I look forward to receiving your feedback and commentary.

6 thoughts on “That Vision thing…”

  1. Thank you Sherman for putting forth a teaching/learning vision statement for discussion.
    “We aspire to be a University that empowers its students with the capacity and desire to change their worlds.”

    A question that may arise is “Why should students desire to change their worlds if they are happy with?”
    So, I suggest “… with the capacity to review their current knowledge and understandings and the desire to improve them”

    1. “We aspire to be a University that empowers its students with the capacity and desire to change their worlds.”

      I like the spirit of the vision. I prefer a more personal approach …

      “We aspire, as a University, to empower our students with the capacity and desire to improve our world.”

  2. Thanks Medhi and Judith for the comments. My personal view is that University is a place where students are challenged to change, and given every opportunity to engage with ideas that nudge them away from their comfort zones. And yes, that nudging should take as personal an approach as possible 🙂

  3. Hi Sherman, I like how you include cutting edge technology as part of the overall strategy to enhance learning experiences. However, I have a few questions. How can we resource students with cutting edge technology fast enough? Cutting edge becomes outdated fairly rapidly these days. Also, is providing the technology enough, what about staff skills in use of such technology?

    Maybe I have missed the point to your post, but a lucid understanding of this particular aspect of experiential learning would help me gain a more clear vision thing.

  4. Actually, the cutting edge technology piece isn’t from me 🙂 But I endorse it!! In a fairly recent piece in the WSJ, Marc Andresssen suggested that ‘software is eating the world’. In other words, more and more products are being designed as software and delivered as online services – and higher ed is no exception.
    What that means is that remaining cutting edge is *potentially* easier. Rather than replacing widgets every few years, we should be able to adopt some principles (eg: open standards, interoperability, interconnectivity) and allow the cutting edge solutions to be delivered to whatever devices we have from cloud services or as easily updated apps.
    Whilst we’re perhaps not yet able to fulfil that promise, the shift to relatively low powered (compared to PCs) smartphones and tablets has arguably moved ‘cutting edge’ from hardware to software. So there’s hope 🙂
    I look forward to working with the new CIO to progress a roadmap for learning technologies along these lines

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I have said it once and I will say it again, WordPress is the new office. Social media is the new telephone. It’s not new, but it’s widely used.

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