an exercise in exploring complexity and tension

Reflection

Advocate for students with extenuating circumstances vs preparing students to be agile in a complex world. Do we prepare them to self-advocate?

As part of the University System of New Hampshire, we are supposed to collaborate with our sister institutions. However, we compete for the same students and for NH’s ever-declining public/ government funding. Can we collaborate with institutions that we also compete with? Can stakeholders overlook these tensions, frustrations, and fear to create innovation in higher education in New Hampshire?

If the mission relates to intellectually curious people what does it mean if the public doesn’t see a need for a college degree? This seems to create a tension between the goal of education.

One of the mission statements notes that we are trying to prepare student for success in a rapidly changing workplace, yet, as it is noted in one of the context nodes, students are facing a debt crisis due to student loans that diminishes their ability to succeed.

One mission statement says we challenge our students, many of whom are from NH’s north country, to think critically about the world around them, but one of the context statements notes we’re located in a small, rural town in a predminantly white state. We also have faculty and staff who are predominantly white. How effective are we at resolving this tension?

Mission—
Tension between explicit and implicit parts of the mission. Educating the public about the value of higher ed should be embedded in the work we do-the work should speak for itself in demonstrating the value of the university. Some people might see educating the public about the value of higher ed as self-serving; it would be more effective to demonstrate that value through the work of the university.

Part of our mission is to create transformative experiences for students and engage with partners; however, we are based in a small community with limited resources and we do not want to tap out our partners.

Low funding, rural students, demographic challenges (to put it mildly). We are in a difficult situation. We need to better articulate what we provide to our students, locality, and the state. The tension lies in what we need to provide for our students and the excitement of learning vs. moral issues, and constant changes that demoralize individuals.

In the context, with a more competitive market, but a very small amount of our budget actually coming from the state, we have a problem in how we reach incoming students while also taking care of our students here.

Within the context node I see observations of recruitment and retention of students that show partial knowledge or understanding of “the whole” environment/issue/reality that we operate in. Not knowing what you don’t know or what else makes up a whole problem in itself can be a “wicked pro lem.”