Lander Medlin is APPA's executive vice president. She can be reached at email@example.com..
Picture yourself amidst beautifully appointed buildings, lush gardens, serene lakes, and fresh-cut grass spanning expansive commons. Sounds like your everyday institution of higher learning, doesn't it?! Well it is if you are the Director of Estates at the University of Nottingham located in the heart of England's Sherwood Forest. That was the location of this year's Association of University Directors' of Estates (AUDE) Annual Conference held March 23-27, 2002. What a great time to be there! What a great opportunity for me to represent APPA internationally! It was an idyllic setting with spring bursting from every tree. You couldn't help feeling like you were living on a fine country estate. With the architecture a mixture of old and new, the effect was a mosaic-obviously planned that way to maintain both a rustic and a luxurious feel to the environment. In addition,
Chris Jagger, Nottingham's Director of Estates, and his team have transformed an old, run-down 30-acre industrial site into a modern, technologically-savvy and environmentally-friendly facility called the "Jubilee Campus." Although it has a totally different look and feel from the main campus, Jubilee Campus is an equally inviting campus environment and was completed in less than two years from the adoption of the masterplan-a truly impressive effort.
Chris Jagger and his team of professionals (specifically Christopher Strong, Barry Chadwick, and Elaine Eggleston) worked tirelessly to deliver an exemplary program that was engaging, insightful, and timely in its content and delivery. They were gracious hosts attending to every detail ensuring that our stay was both pleasurable and memorable. It was impressive and refreshing to see the comradery the group has developed over time. It was like attending an old family reunion with folks from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Australia jesting and jousting with one another. The "Scots"-Angus and Donald in their kilts-were a delight. You will, of course, remember Vic and Jackie Slater from their attendance at numerous APPA annual meetings (now called the FORUM). Vic is now AUDE's designated Executive Director. It was great to be with them for the first time on their own turf. We have made wonderful friends we hope to see again in the very near future.
As the official APPA liaison this year and in support of our formalized strategic alliance agreement with AUDE, I was given the opportunity to deliver both a plenary session to all attendees on "Leadership and Motivation" and present a workshop as an overview of the content and benefits of the first track of our Leadership Academy-the Individual Effectiveness Leadership Skills/ 7 Habits program. As a result, I remain convinced that the content and delivery of our Leadership Academy programs are applicable worldwide.
As for my plenary session on leadership and motivation, my premise was: "Leadership is not about your position or vested authority. Leadership is about the influence and personal power you build over time with those with whom you come into contact." Ultimately, it's about relationships and, more important, how effectively you use your head, your hands, and your heart to build lasting relationships. It is also about connecting and engaging your mental, physical, and emotional and spiritual dimensions (your head, your hand, and your heart, respectively) to build effective interpersonal relationships that will improve staff morale and increase your organization's productivity.
To my pleasant surprise, Brigadier Alex Birtwistle, retired (who led the military team providing assistance to the government in the fight against Foot and Mouth disease in Cumbria county) gave the closing address. He emphasized the importance of the "heart" in matters of leadership versus that of management. It was quite satisfying to have your own points reinforced by such a highly acclaimed and well-renown public figure.
Ultimately, leadership cannot be adequately discussed without first establishing the context. In my case, I explored the impact of a rapidly changing world and the influence of information technology on leadership and the built environment today and well into the future.
It is interesting that the challenges of change and the driving forces I identified as impacting society, the higher education industry, and the facilities profession were very similar to those stated by Lord Dearing in his keynote address. Lord Dearing was the former Chancellor of the University of Nottingham and is an extremely influential individual in the educational and governmental affairs of the United Kingdom. He focused on the need for:
This is a familiar list of challenges and driving forces for those of us on the North American continent and the Australasian region as well.
The conference programming was incredibly informative and further reinforced the importance of our international efforts and the enormous number of similarities in issues and concerns we all face as educational facilities professionals.
My visit abroad also incorporated a fruitful meeting with the Paris headquarters Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). OECD is primarily a European organization with two programs similar to APPAs that represent educational buildings from a "countries" perspective (PEB) and also from an institutional management level (IMHE). One of APPA's goals is to launch an international symposium on the management, utilization, and construction of facilities as matrixed against the driving forces mentioned by Lord Dearing above. Again, it is uncanny the similarity across the world in the issues and driving forces that are affecting higher education institutions.
Therefore, I have a renewed passion and zeal for APPA's vision of "becoming a global partner in learning" having interacted with another significant part of the world. It is even more essential as the "global village" forms in the early 21st century that we look outside ourselves for better practices and new ways of thinking. We can only benefit from these important international influences.