Flipping the School Day: A Win-Win for Grad Schools

Oh well now this is interesting food for thought for grad schools. Forbes published “Don’t Just Flip the Classroom, Flip the School Day” by Michael Horn. The article talks about rearranging the school day so that high schoolers could go to a workplace for the mornings, gaining real-world exposure to, knowledge of, and experience in the workplace.

Now what if we applied that model to grad and professional schools? You know: having part of the daytime “program” being dedicated to the students getting real-world externships and cooperative work placements, gaining real world work experience, using the remaining day / evenings to do the traditional disciplinary core curriculum?

Cynics will say: but students will quickly realize that there’s no point in them going to grad school. That their specialized degree does not serve any advantage, and thus would drop out of the program. To which I say: that might happen, sure. But really: it’s a win-win (or, actually, as you’ll see a win on three fronts)!

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Finally, Some Transparency in Pay in Museums

Last week, museum workers started a Google sheet to share Art/Museum Salary Transparency. HOORAY! The transparency of salaries and UNequal pay has certainly gotten more attention lately, from the US women’s soccer team lawsuit to actress Michelle Williams coming forward to share how VERY little she got paid last year to women in all kinds of industries – including higher ed– demanding faster action. One of the best ways to get better pay for all (a rising tide lifts all boats, folks!) is for all of us to be more transparent about pay. So I’m glad to see that someone the Philadelphia Museum of Art staff have kicked this off.

Museums have never been known for paying well. 🤣

But it’s never going to get even marginally better if workers have no clue how their pay is or is not comparable to that of their colleagues. And advocating for better pay industry-wide takes an effort of this scale, so that anyone can see how bad the pay is.

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Why Higher Ed Needs to Invest More in Staff Professional Development

One of the prevailing paradigms in higher ed these days is student success. Cynics decry it as a framework devoid of meaning. After all, haven’t all of us in higher ed existed to ensure student success at all times? As in: how is this “new” or advancing the field? But more narrowly constructed, many universities, colleges, and community colleges frame their missions and strategic plans around it.

Student success can mean many things. It can entail access – ensuring that education remains available to all to the degree possible. It can include breaking down scheduling and financial barriers so students are able to complete their programs and graduate to a rewarding career. And it can mean that institutions provide services for its increasingly diverse students, such as food insecure students, first generation students, etc.

But what does your higher ed institution do for career success for its staff? Anything?

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Mentoring Approaches: A Study in Contrasts

I used to work in museums. And there were generally two ways to break into the field. The first was to work an entry-level job and eventually move your way up. You would spend your first couple of years being an assistant to someone, answering phones, stuffing envelopes, and staffing fundraisers, with the idea being that you would already have your foot in the door when a better job came open. The second was to take on a position of high responsibilities in a tiny, understaffed (because underfunded) organization. That’s the route I took.

I worked on a staff of 4, which became a staff of 3, and then 2, and so I was in way over my head. And with nobody to mentor me because again: understaffed and underfunded.

Hopefully times are different now, because even then, in 2006, when I reached out to the larger well-established museum in town practically BEGGING someone to mentor me, I got no reply. At all.

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How to Move Forward When There Is No Up

Let’s take a look at my inbox. A question from a reader is as follows:

My college is – literally – the only higher ed game in town. And so even though I work in a staff job that I generally enjoy, there’s no upward mobility. I’ve been here for 3 years and I’m really ready to take on more challenging assignments. I’m in my early 40s and at a place in my life where I just am not interested in getting another degree (already have 2 Master’s). I’m trying to be patient but I just don’t see it happening. The people who are the next level up from me have been here for at least 8 years. What would you recommend?


I can already hear many of my readers nodding their heads. I know I can relate. In my last organization, I put in 8 years and still wasn’t at the level I wanted to be at. And the people who were in the job title I wanted? They’d been there 10+ years. I had proven my abilities – I had excellent performance reviews and was clearly capable of the next level of responsibilities. There just wasn’t a job above me to be given to me. Ultimately, I wasn’t willing to wait it out yet another couple of years…so I left.

So that would be option one.

Moving on to another organization.

You should do this only after you’ve 1 – made clear your desires to your boss, and 2- made a strong case for your abilities to take on something new. Repeatedly. Because it’s not fair to duck out on a boss / organization if “but I want more challenging work, and I deserve the chance” would be news to them. You need to give them the chance to meet your demands.

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Transferable Skills Talk: Understanding Higher Ed

An ongoing series in which we identify your transferable skills. Today’s edition: your knowledge of higher ed.

When it comes to landing a staff job in higher ed, whether that’s a major university, small private liberal arts college, or community college, one thing you have going for you is your knowledge of higher ed. You might not see this as an important asset, but allow me to disavow any of you of that notion.

When I’m hiring, once we get to the interview stage, there are 3 things I’m looking for in my candidates:

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