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Mining for Gold in Your Own Backyard

I field a number of questions from peers asking what they should read to stay up-to-date on our industry and expand their own knowledge base.
I usually rattle off my own daily and weekly reading routines, which include a healthy mix of local, regional, national and trade outlets, blogs and newsletters. But when it comes to the people I suggest talking to, I often suggest taking advantage of the human resources in our own backyards.
For this reason, I recently asked the TVP Communications team what work-related topic they find most intriguing, with PK20 education reform serving as the most popular response. To encourage this interest I arranged for us to meet with Paul Teske, dean of the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs, to discuss the future of K12 and collegiate education statewide and nationally. We asked him plenty of questions and had lively banter on a number of issues. After the meeting we were pleased with how much we learned about a variety of subjects and expanded our own viewpoints.
The discussion with Dean Teske and the queries from our peers remind me that we often mine the expertise of faculty and administrators to pitch to the media, but forget to reach out to these same experts to expand our own understanding of academia and its future or the greater world outside of higher education.
Take time from your busy schedule to engage in conversations with the treasures you have around you. This type of outreach reminds colleagues that you are thinking about them as more than just talking heads, and it’s a nice reinforcement that you value their expertise. Who knows, you may find new areas of expertise to pitch or learn something new about yourself.
PS—a big “thank you” to Maureen Ediger for helping to arrange the dean’s visit 🙂