I blinked and a year passed. While last year I got to high five and hug some great friends out in Boston, this year I had to content myself with keeping an eye on the #BUConfab stream from the office.
A Confab: Dangerous Ideas in Higher Education launched last year under the passion and foresight of Kenn Elmore, Dean of Students at Boston University as a space to connect, share and dig deep into important challenges and bold new ideas impacting the work we do in student affairs. When I attended last year, and in watching the tweets this time around, I was blown away and, more than once, stumped by some of the hard (but certainly timely and necessary) questions being asked.
As I read, watched and reflected, instead of being inspired I found myself more than a little bit terrified.
These are such amazing ideas … that someone else smarter than me is coming up with.
What a good question … I wish I had thought of that.
That’s a good point. We should do that … But I’ll never be able to do anything. I’m not smart enough, I don’t have enough hours in the day, *insert favourite excuse here.
It’s happening again … and it’s even more dangerous now than last year.
Back in April of 2012, I wrote this post about the challenge of creating problems, questions and ideas for change that are bigger than us.
We’re still so caught up in looking for solutions, but we haven’t yet wrangled the problem.
We are, by nature, a society focused on celebrating the ‘done’. We want results and we want them now. We talk about how ‘fast paced’ the changes we see in our higher education system now seem, and bemoan the perceived lack of progress in ‘meeting students where they’re at.
Problem is, our ideas are still ideals. They’re still on pedestals we’ve constructed from our own insecurities, cynicism, fears, doubts and leftovers of the bystander effect. Someone else will do it, and someone else will probably do it better.
When I gave my TEDxUTSC talk two weeks ago, I wanted to challenge the idea of putting people, processes and products on a pedestal, out of reach and beyond any chance of real action or change. However, I still struggle with being on a stage, in a public forum seen by many people, advocating for toppling the very pedestal I’ve been given to stand on.
Much like the presentations and discussions at the confab, in our rush to share ideas and have important conversations, have we created a dangerous cycle of climbing pedestals and keeping ideas out of reach?
I have no answers yet, just many (and I mean many) questions. I’d love to process this with you. Leave me a comment or tweet me – let’s talk.