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2015 and back to it…

January 6, 2015

lisa hammershaimb

Woohoo! New Year! Time for renewed blogging resolutions, right? Every day writing! Every day reflecting! Every month great American novel composing because I wake up an hour early and write my little heart out with tender, sensitive, academic prose! Who’s in???


Not me.


And not because I’m not a great dreamer but rather because I know the tole my 15 day run of academic writing took on me way back in November. It was legit a great experience but that coupled with lots of 803 assignments and working like a maniac in my day job made me run dry on words. By dry I don’t mean just no longer clever or witty but dry like in the last few days before break it almost physically hurt to form sentences in emails because the words were just gone. I have a feeling this may be what thesis writing will feel like. If so…eeek. But, good news is a two week long holiday break later filled with lots of reading, lots of sleeping, lots of eating, and lots of drinking, the word bucket is once more filled up and ready to be parceled out on the little neglected blog.

804 begins next week (I think….since the 803 disaster I’ve become a little less cognizant of actual start dates and have taken a more “it will begin when it begins” approach) and as a way to start things off our instructor asked us to take a short survey reflecting on what we want out of the class (or our goals/what will be a “win” for us), our experiences in leadership (or what sort of baggage we’re bringing to the class), and anything we think that she should know about the cohort that will make all of our lives easier in the next term.

I think it’s a fabulous idea to do the whole reflection thing before anything gets started. Our prof this term is the head of the department so I suppose it only follows that she’s got more vested into the program thus might make a better showing than a certain previous prof who shall remain nameless. She also gave us the first two weeks readings so we could all be prepped up for the first day, whenever that might be. I’ve never done pre-reading for a class but given that I had time and was word starved, I did it and it’s been great so far. Even if the class nosedives from here, I’ve taken enough good stuff from the readings thus far to set me on a good path. So, overall verdict is thus far…all the good feels for 804.

So, since I did make an almost silent, whispered resolution to actually write regularly as opposed to the manic episodes I get into periodically, I thought putting my own reflection up here would be a good start to things. If nothing else, I can look back come spring and either say “right on!!!” and feel a pat on the back kinship with my January self or say “wow…clueless!!!” and feel quite wise knowing what I know now that I didn’t when I was my January self.

Hopefully it’ll be the former but either way…here’s to the journey, 804-style!

1. Many objectives must be considered in the development, design and implementation of a graduate course in leadership. In addition, students come to the experience with objectives of their own.  I’d like to know what your objectives are for this stage of your doctoral studies.  Please describe below the objectives you hope to realize in EDDE 804.

For this stage in my doctoral studies, my objectives are to continue learning and growing as I’ve been doing the past 18 months but also move into a place where many of the things that I’ve learned so far can become more of a foundation on which I can begin narrowing and focusing my thesis idea for the future. My objectives for 804 specifically are to gain a better understanding of leadership theory, the different types of leadership that are enacted, and particularly how leadership works in distance-mediated environments and with somewhat non-traditional structures (ie much more collaborative and constructive than top-down authoritative.) Though I know this isn’t a “how to lead” course, I am secretly hoping knowledge gained here will directly translate into the leading I do on a daily basis which is both distance-mediated and rather non-traditional.

2. I have been studying our doctoral level graduate students!  You are a competent and experienced group of hard working scholars.  I’d like to know about your previous study of leadership.  Have you previously studied leadership in a formal education setting?  If yes, please briefly outline below what and when.  If no, please skip to the next question.


3. We all come to the virtual table in this course with years of experience. Some of this experience likely includes leadership opportunities.  Have you had experience as a leader in some capacity? This could involve formal or informal, personal or professional leadership.  If you feel you haven’t had any leadership experiences, please skip to the next question.  If yes, then in the space below please give me a brief outline of these experiences.  I will do the same for you when the course starts!

In my current role I am the dean of the college of graphic arts with the online division of Independence University. I’ve been in this position for almost a year and it’s the first time I’ve ever been in a leadership/management role. Over the past year, I have gained lots of practical experience leading at a distance and have formed many ideas about the importance of presence, communication, and developing trust at a distance but as I assumed this role quite quickly with very little preparation, I feel like I’ve learned leadership in a somewhat down and dirty manner. I am hopeful that what I’ll learn in this class will help validate some of what I’ve experienced as a leader or enlighten me as to why things haven’t worked.

4. You are studying with a group of students who have worked together for a number of months.  You are part of a cohort, and it is likely that an established group dynamic has emerged that supports the work of this group. What rules of operation help keep this working group, well, working?  For example, is there clear respect for time and participation?  Or is this an ‘anything goes’ group? Are opinions shared and respected?  In the space below, please let me know of any group norms or rules that are of importance to you and, as you identity them, in your cohort.

We’re a fairly open and easy going group but we do like a pretty high level of communication and interaction. Because we are all bonded so cohesively way back in orientation it feels a bit like we all live in the same small town where everyone knows everything about everyone’s business. Granted, we are spread out over several thousand miles but still…it somehow seems to work. On the positive side we will gladly welcome newcomers (as every town needs some new people occasionally!) On the negative side, we are a bit territorial and protective of one another thus one person’s battle can become everyone’s war.

5. As you consider your upcoming experience in EDDE 804, what questions or concerns come to mind, if any?  Please ask or share, if you are willing, anything on your mind about 804, in the space below.

Nothing that I can think of right now though I am very much looking forward to the course!


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