I’ve mentioned that in the past few months, I’ve been honored to have rich conversations with theological educators across the country, focused in part on their vocational lives and challenges. (And at the same time, I’ve been reading every Chronicle article I could find on faculty vocation.)
As a (former) professor and the son of a professor, these people and these vocations are dear to my heart. And the pace of change in academe over the past ten years, and especially the past two, has been breathtaking. We’ve all been on a roller coaster, and we all feel new kinds of precarity (both personal and institutional) and we’ve all faced new challenges – as well as new opportunities – in our working lives.
In these conversations, the theme of change management and “forced innovation” came up again and again. Students are looking for new modes of education. The pandemic forced us to convert all our courses to online formats. Our budgets are more and more constrained, while we’re asked to do more and more. Shared governance seems largely a thing of the past, as institutions’ relationships with faculty continue to shift (and adjunctivization continues apace). In a previous post, I’ve paralleled this new reality to the tidal wave of change in the ’80s business world, which sparked the “third wave” faith and work movement.
Meanwhile, for those of us still in the academic trenches, how do we not only cope with this time of rapid change, but also build on the innovation we’ve been pushed into during the past few years – and the past decade?Continue reading