Educators seeking institutional change are highly frustrated. Sets of stakeholder – students, faculty, administration, facilities, trustees, board members – have a diverse priorities, and there are competing interests that occasionally or often create friction between these stakeholders. Competition for limited resources, established ideas around legacy, and limited time – combined with an inability to see personal benefit – can agitate and divide a great school. Adversarial relationships and controversial school politics limit progress.
Reframing “communication” as “engagement” can offer benefits and opportunities to all stakeholders. When specific populations are induced to participate and understand the benefits of working together in a new way, the priority of discipline- and departmental boundaries is diminished, collaboration can flourish, and everyone is rewarded.
Note: Communicating needs and making requests does not engage community. Instead a rich, safe, and multi-directional conversation needs to take place.