My first Campus blog.  Wow.  Perhaps the beginning of an era?  Ok, ok…I won’t get ahead of myself.

But I should introduce myself. In the sea of bloggers out there, who am I and why do I deserve a few (precious) minutes of your day?

Let me answer that by asking questions on your behalf, which you likely aren’t actually asking…

What is a “Chief Academic Officer” really?  What does that mean?

Typically, a CAO or even CLO (Learning) is responsible for two things: training and/or upskilling the internal organization and training / educating external stakeholders specific to a vision or mission.

At a University, where I was the Chief Innovation Officer until just recently, I helped set that vision with regard to academics, technology, and design, thereby acting as an educator about education.  (Very meta, I know…)  But here at Campus, I intend to help the market understand the need for connection.  What kind of connection?  Social connection, paradigm connection, meaning connection, people connection, outcomes connection, and on and on…

Ah, so you’re a buzzword guy?

My ‘home’ discipline is communication.  As such, I have taught (literally) hundreds of comm courses over time.  I’ve facilitated face-to-face and online students in public speaking, interpersonal, intercultural, small group, organizational, and other areas of communication.  At the same time, I apply all of this in a real way.

Over 25 years, I have likely spoken in front of audiences ranging from 10 to 10,000 people at least once per week in the contexts of keynotes, workshops, training, and even stand-up comedy.  So the words I choose are almost always done with intention.  Yet I understand the importance of perception around the words chosen, as well as the context, as well as the audience.  In other words, I know that words are usually more important to the sender than to the receiver.  Yet, some words can create a barrier.  So when that happens, a savvy communicator will overcome those barriers.  I will tell you now that I plan to speak to many “buzz-words” and phrases over time.  But I will always try to treat them as concepts that may (or may not) deserve some demystification.

Ok, so you have some credibility, but so what?  Every academic I know believes themselves to be the smartest person in the room!

I’ll try really hard to channel my stand-up comedy days when I was an equal opportunity offender.  One of the things which has both helped me and hurt me over time is that I don’t believe professors are the end-all, be-all of thought.

While I admire and even follow some brilliant, academic minds out there, I believe there is an equal number of education administrators, professors, and staff that are on the other end of the spectrum.  I hope not to channel ‘the academy’ too much by just blasting away at everyone and everything.

As my Dad who was a college Dean and President used to say, ‘Academics put the critic in critical thinking.’ But I won’t shy away from calling out a person or a process if I believe I can make a reasonable argument detailing my criticisms.

That’s all good, but my time is valuable.  I need something short, pithy, and controversial to keep my attention. 

First, I completely put those words in your mouth based on research we know about how to make a good educational video. If the video isn’t short, funny, and creates disequilibrium, it’s likely bad.  Unfortunately, I just described approximately 1% of education videos out there.  Sigh.  But I’ll try really hard to accomplish that task in my writing.  Can I be funny?  My mom thinks so.  That’s why she tells me to “be funny” every freaking time I’m around her friends.  But you’ll have to judge for yourself.  Can I be controversial?  There is likely already an edu-blogger somewhere writing up a scathing indictment of why education videos should not include humor.  Can I be short and to the point?

Until next time.  Good luck and good learning.