Tag Archives: leadership

Documenting the impact of educational leadership in faculty member careers

Leadership quote

For just under a year, I have been involved in a collaborative project concerning educational leadership (EL) in faculty member careers.

This initiative involves (1) clarifying what EL is in the context of faculty member careers and (2) helping faculty members articulate the evidence and impact of their EL activities.The people with whom I am collaborating are Dr. Simon Bates (lead) and Dr. Simon Albon. Though my involvement is in the UBC context, this is part of a larger international Universitas 21 project.

One of the reasons that articulating evidence and impact of EL matters is because Educational Leadership Stream faculty must be able to do so to advance their careers (see note 1). However, since EL is a concept people are still trying to figure out, it is not yet ‘obvious’ what counts as evidence and how to communicate the impact.

We have begun to develop some resources to help with this and are workshopping them with faculty members and others to get their feedback.

The tool I wish to share about in this blog post is the Educational Leadership Mapping (ELM) tool.  The ELM tool is an organizing framework that can help instructors begin to categorize and make sense of their EL activities. This two-dimensional framework asks instructors to plot what they do related to teaching/learning and the forms of enactment. Learn more here.

Download the ELM tool here as a PowerPoint slide.

In our experience, faculty members have an easier time plotting along the horizontal axis than on the vertical; they can find it difficult to distinguish between “Manage” and “Lead” and may have a (negative) reaction to the word “manage”. The distinctions made on page 2 of The University of Glasgow’s Guidelines for Learning, Teaching & Scholarship Track may be helpful for distinguishing where to place an activity along the vertical (i.e., items in the Professorial list would match up best with “Lead”).

Our work is ongoing and we welcome your feedback. We will be presenting this work at the 2017 POD Conference in Montreal and I will be writing more posts on the topic as we prepare for that session.


Note 1: Though faculty members in the Educational Leadership stream MUST demonstrate EL, faculty members at all ranks and appointments may be engaging in EL.

Photocredit: https: //flic.kr/p/8X2jaV.photosteve101  planetofsuccess.com


Meeting ground rules


Facilitation techniques are about designing and managing group interactions so that people truly collaborate and make sound decisions.

(Bens, 1997)


I recently attended a full day session on building facilitation skills for meetings. Despite the large amount of time I spend in meetings—as a participant and as a facilitator-participant, I have never formally learned about meeting design. The facilitator, Charles Holmes ran a great session and I learned a lot. In this blog post, I write about one key idea from the session: Ground Rules

Ground rules make sense in the context of meetings. They help participants establish common understanding about what is desired and appropriate behaviour so that the group can function effectively and make high-quality decisions.

Though I know it is good practice to do these, I have—to date—typically avoided creating ground rules when facilitating meetings and processes. Somehow, I feel awkward about doing them with adults because I believe ‘we all know how to use common sense and be good to one another in our interactions’ (and so my assumption is that it is condescending to spend time articulating how we want to interact with one another). Yet, that assumption hasn’t consistently proven to be true! And, I have participated in various mundane and ineffective meetings.

So, I think it is time I get over my feeling of awkwardness.

Here are some key points about ground rules that I took away from the session I recently attended:

1. Discuss why it is worthwhile spending time developing ground rules and how these will be used. Though, as a facilitator you may be aware of the benefits of ground rules, the same may not be true of the participants. Therefore, it is worthwhile thinking about how you will introduce the concept and its application to the specific group you are working with. Do not assume meeting members will buy-in and/or know how to use ground rules; instead, make time to have this discussion together.

2. It may be desirable to use a word other than “ground rules”. Because some people may react negatively to the word ‘rules’, it may be preferable to use another word. Alternatives include: meeting norms, team agreements, rules of engagement, or conditions for success.

3. Create ground rules as a group and clarify meaning. After you have introduced the concept to the group and once you have buy-in, generate the ground rules together. Invite people to volunteer ideas and take the time to clarify the meaning of the words as people will associate different meanings to words. Make sure to create ground rules that are specific enough so that it is easy to determine whether they are being honoured.

4. Interact with the ground rules on an ongoing basis and give permission for the rules to be modified. By that I mean, you will want to post the rules at the meetings (i.e., on a flipchart or other appropriate visual) and make reference to them as needed. The point is not to create rules as a group (#3) and then forget about them.  Give the group permission to ask questions about and amend the rules.

5. Check-in at the end of the meeting as to whether the rules were honoured. At the end of a meeting, or on a periodic basis, it is helpful to check-in with the group as to whether they thought each ground rule was met. There are different ways to do this. For example, you can have a whole group conversation if your sense is that this is a high-functioning group in which members can have healthy disagreements. Alternatively, you can ask people to individually and anonymously rate the degree to which a rule was met on a piece of paper that you collect. Regardless of what approach you take, it is then important for the group to have a conversation about the ‘results’.

For some additional resources and/or sample ground rules, see:

If you have additional thoughts and ideas about facilitation and using ground rules for effective meetings, please leave a comment below.


This post is a modified version of a LinkedIn post I wrote in June.


Bens, Ingrid, Facilitating with Ease: Core Skills for Facilitators, Team Leaders and Members, Managers, Consultants, and Trainers, Participative Dynamics, 1997.


Team Touching Hands, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Team_touching_hands.jpg

Helpful coaching questions


I recently listened to an excellent conversation between Michael Bungay Stanier and David Stachowiak on the Coaching for Leaders podcast. The theme of the episode was “These coaching questions get results” and, at the end, Michael invited listeners to reflect on how they might use the information. I’m taking him up on the invitation.

As you might know from reading some of my previous posts, I am keenly interested in exploring the ‘helping role’ of educational developers.  Michael talked about coaching as helping people learn versus teaching them. I liked that distinction. I recognize, however, that as an educational developer, I do both; yet, when in ‘coaching’ mode, I need to remind myself where to focus.

Bungay Stanier also talked about the power of questions and the importance of asking good questions (remember to wait, he reminds us). These are some questions I especially liked and will use/continue using:

  • “what is on your mind?”
    • I like this one because it leaves the response open and doesn’t assume the conversation is going to be focussed on topic A/problem B.
  • “and what else?”
    • I like this question because it allows the conversation partners to go deeper, but doesn’t assume a particular direction

And I chuckled when Bungay Stanier said :

A statement that starts with “Have you considered….?” is really just ‘advice disguised as a question’!

Yikes! That is one change I’m going to make!

Finally, he suggested incorporating the following into a coaching conversation:

  • What was most valuable about our conversation?

I haven’t been using that question when I coach/help because I feel some discomfort about doing so (mainly around worrying that I’m looking for compliments). But others have used it ‘on me’ and I’ve typically appreciated the opportunity to reflect on–and solidify–what has been most useful. I’m going to try it out.


The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

Staff Appreciation Cupcakes

I recently read the book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-authored by Gary Chapman, who wrote the “The 5 Love languages” and Paul White). It is a quick read.

The authors of the book write about an approach they call “motivation by appreciation”. They propose that appreciation is a key element to a healthy, positive, and productive workshop. They also suggest that, individually, we have preferences for certain ways of being appreciated. The five categories Chapman and White write about are:

  1. Words of affirmation:  Using words to communicate a positive message to another person. Example: Verbal praise for an accomplishment and/or for character and/or personality.
  2. Quality time: Hiving a person your focussed attention. Example: Setting aside time to connect individually with co-worker to have a quality conversation about an aspect of their work.
  3. Acts of service: Providing assistance and helping out a co-worker. Example: Pitching-in to help a colleague finish a task.
  4. Tangible gifts: Offering a tangible gift/reward to an individual. Example: Giving tickets to a classical music concert to someone who loves classical music.
  5. Physical touch: Having appropriate physical contact with a colleague to show appreciation for their work. Example: High five, fist bump.

I think my preferred languages are: 3 and 1, but I also know #2 is something I value a lot. Perhaps I should  ‘take the test‘? I have asked my co-workers what they think their preferred languages are–I’d like to know to be able to act of it.

Want to know more, but don’t want to read the book? You can read over this slideshare video by Leonard Slutsky.

You may wish to visit the Appreciation at Work website (the “learn” section has short videos and articles).

Photo by Clever Cupcakes. Creative Commons on Flickr.