What Does a Future Ready University Administrator Look Like?
The goal of the future ready movement is increasing digital learning opportunities for all students. While the movement itself is focused on K-12 students, the effort has a logical counterpart in the higher education population, where university administrators are uniquely positioned to advocate for their students by becoming future ready themselves. So what does a future ready administrator look like?
First, the key characteristic of the future ready university administrator is that he or she is always improving their practice by incorporating the latest edtech and other tools to maximize student engagement and learning. An easy way to do this is to follow the official future ready account on Twitter. But regardless of the method chosen, a tech-focused administrator will need to keep current and be aware of the latest in edtech.
Second, a future ready administrator can model collaborative learning and increase their knowledge of the future ready movement by attending one of the free regional events sponsored by the future ready movement.
Third, they model best practices through their use of digital tools. They carefully ensure that their digital footprint and social media presence are in line with their institution’s values and norms. They, obviously, do not engage in cyberbullying, but they also show how to be an “upstander” instead of a “bystander” when they become aware that someone is being mistreated in a digital space. In other words, they show by example what it means to use digital tools responsibly.
Fourth, they model and advocate for best practices in data management and privacy. This is no easy task in a world where even major corporations seem to have a catastrophic data breach nearly every week, but the wise administrator does what is within their sphere of influence to ensure that the university keeps student data safe and also teaches students how to protect their own data. They also teach students how to evaluate digital media—and ensure that they model best practices by never, for example, sharing “fake news” themselves.
Fifth, wise administrators are keenly attuned to issues of digital equity. They know that, contrary to the public perception of students as perpetually plugged in, some students struggle to maintain access to the tools and devices that they need to complete their coursework. They are aware that some students will be hesitant to reach out for help, so they ensure that there are nonetheless ways to be sure that these students’ needs are met.