BbWorld : Dr. Donna Shalala

Engaging speaker. Current president of the University of Miami.

“We are all fellow revolutionaries” … “on the cutting edge of the 21st century university” …. “shaping it.”

“It is very difficult to lead intitutions that are not rational.” (chuckles)

“Higher education leadership is not for control freaks.” (more chuckles)

University of Miami’s Blackboard installation is hosted by Blackboard. (You have to have that context.)

She teaches “Politics and Econonmics of Health Care Reform,” every spring, one of the largest classes on campus (250 students meet in class once a week). She uses the Chat rooms and the Blogs. She uses Blackboard to transform the class into a living document. She says her syllabus changes every week; there is no text book, she’s looking for current events and an analysis of it. Kaiser EDU is a live action part of her course.

….”The point is, I can run a live classroom on a current issue…”

Challenges to our insitutions? “Assessment, assessment, assessment” …proving to accreditation agencies that our teaching is accomplishing what we say it does.

“We are pressed to prepare our students for their first jobs, when what we’re really good at is preparing them for their 3rd or fourth job.” … “The test of a a great education is whether they’re prepared for their 3rd job.” 

“We’re between 3 and 5 years away from massive adoption of new technologies.” She bases this on the retirement age of her generation, the Baby Boomers, who never really as a group have adopted newer technologies. Gen Xers are more open to  adopting new technologies.

U of Miami Faculty are reporting increasingly that students are arriving on campus already with experience with interactive learning platforms.

When she was looking for a Provost, she hired a Computer Scientist.

Blackboard, I suggest Dr. Shalala’s KeyNote be distributed as a podcast or vodcast …. This is one I’d like to recommend to others at Notre Dame.