From: Name withheld upon request
To: Dana Lee Ling
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2003 9:38 AM
Subject: Re: [dialog] Just-in-time continuous ongoing dialog versus structured gripe sessions...

Hi Dana,

Yes, you are correct. From what I have seen of "structured" dialogue (sounds so very artificial) they do tend to crash down into bitch sessions; or there is always a hidden agenda. It very much reminds me of the "sensitivity dialogues" that they have in academia me, the last thing they were was sensitive! I think that what you have outlined about the ability for small college that serve a small population is far more germaine to our reality. Having said this, I have noticed that accreditation types are not always satisfied with such a reality. They seem to need a more structured, and may I say it again, artificial forum. Perhaps we can find a via media between these two extremes. One that accepts and lives in our own reality, but also satisfies the powers that be.

Name withheld upon request

From: "Spensin James"
To: "Dana Lee Ling"
Subject: Re: [dialog] Just-in-time continuous ongoing dialog versus structured gripe sessions...
Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 11:44 AM

Dear Dana:

I am in agreement with you on having unstructured dialogues. From experience staff and faculty do not want too many structured dialogues or meetings. The exchange of ideas and comments on an issue through e-mail is healthy. Some people do not like it but I think it is helping me do my job better and be more responsive.

Thanks, Spensin

Subject: Re: [dialog] Just-in-time continuous ongoing dialog versus structured gripe sessions...
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003 03:50:59 +1100
From: Dr. Richard Womack
To: Spensin James
References: <> <>

I am with Spensin on this. The unstructured dialogues are useful and help me tremendously.
Richard A. Womack Ed.D.
Chair, Education Division

Dana Lee Ling <> wrote:

As I edit and re-edit my section I keep coming back to the same circle of thoughts.

There is a college in the Pacific that brings faculty together every two weeks on Friday to dialog student learning, assessment, college mission, and many other pertinent topics. The college was held up as an example to the rest of the region.

Then over lunch we learn that administration at that school is very pleased with the dialog sessions. Words to the effect, "It's great. The faculty bitch and moan at each other, get it out of their systems, and don't bother us as much."

I honestly believe we are an institution with a real dialog occurring. Occurring in the cafeteria, the sidewalks, the cubicles, the airport, the sakau markets. Undocumented but genuine. Unforced, uncoordinated, but delivering real information on a just-in-time basis. We have an incredibly committed crew - faculty and staff. We cannot "document" dialog, so we are not as "good" as that other school. But we are real.

What bothers me is that most structured dialogs devolve into either bitch sessions or committees driven by a chair and the chair's agenda. I believe ACCJC is wrong to look for structured dialog. That is so 20th century. The real dialog, the real action, is in the undocumented dialogs of everyday. For us, in a small institution where I know the female student next to me in the cafeteria, her parents, her grandparents, and how many periods she has missed because she got pregnant the second week of class, the real dialogs are everyday everywhere. Pardon my speaking bluntly, but the longer one is here the smaller Micronesia becomes. And therein lies the strength of our everywhere dialog.

ACCJC might look for planned, structured dialogs, but that would be an error. Wherever one sees planned and structured one should be wary that it is not either fancy paint on a meaningless construct, a bitch and moan session, or really just a soapbox for some particular set of vested interests.

So how do I cite sidewalk conversations? Conversations that led to new programs, identified critical needs, designed major grants...

Dana Lee Ling
Associate Professor
Chair Division of Natural Science and Mathematics
College of Micronesia-FSM

Go Sharks!