• Ginese – Defiant Learning Theory

  • $71 billion spent on corporate learning & development, how much of that could campus experts and specialists tap into? How much benefit would there be to Johnson & Johnson bringing in a specialist from Rutgers? […]

  • Interesting article about the moves a chancellor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is trying to […]

    • Or, as I heard this weekend from a recent graduate: I just tell them I graduated from Princeton, and they really don’t care about my GPA or major.
      The power of higher ed brands! Think it will get less so or more? I think “less.”

    • I think less as well but I’m not sure that’s the best thing. There is a certain expectation with the “brand” of the education perhaps to a fault. CUNY says now they are the greatest urban university in the world particularly, in my opinion, to try and bring that brand up to a new standard.

      Like the ATS buzzwords, if a recruiter sees CUNY on a resume, are they intrigued or dismissive?

      Without the story of the brand, there is nothing else to guide it. To live in a world where education no longer has a brand, people will struggle with that because they want to be able to distinguish quality. Much like the argument that raising tuition signifies (wow this must be worth it) a no-name college offering the same degree programs as Princeton doesn’t stand a chance unless there is something else there to distinguish it.

      If there is to be “less” power behind the brand, employers need to start the trend.

      Break it down and the power of the brand is less the education and more the experience and recognition that people from that institution have produced. Which begs the question, does anyone know the most notable CUNY product? Is the most recent one Colin Powell?

  • My first job out of college was a 40-hour a week graduate assistantship with the Office of Student Activities at Fairfield University in Connecticut. Having worked anywhere from 15 to 50 hours a week since the age […]

  • Ann Webster-Wright (2009) explores the concept of professional development through the lens of authentic professional learning. Her approach for this dichotomy is that professional development views the employee […]

  • 16 students will join the Micro College at the library starting in January.

    • Joe:

      This is great: micro and free. And it’s in my neighborhood.


  • Joseph M Ginese
    Defiant Learning

    Professional development in education is broken. My big idea is to create a framework, and potentially the basis for a theory, to help reassess, revamp, and […]

  • Article: Refocusing professional development to make good teachers great

    Spending millions on professional development with little proven return on such an investment seems to be a reoccurring theme in my […]

  • Last week, The Atlantic posted an article with the headline “Education Isn’t the Key to a Good Income” by Rachel Cohen. A key line from this article that struck me was from Jesse Rothstein, an economist from UC […]

  • Article: Wyoming school district looks to spreads successful system statewide

    When a school district becomes one of the highest performing school districts in the state, people start paying attention to what is […]

    • That’s one very interesting question: what kind of social group must be identified within NYC, or narrow it down CUNY, to show the value of continued professional development for the administrators on the college campuses?

      The Wyoming example underscores the strength of peer learning — they aren’t bringing in experts in pedagogy, but assuming that they will learn from and support one another. Important insight.

      • CUNY does attempt to do this in pockets. For instance, there is an Orientation Council consisting of one professional from every campus that has involvement or ownership over Orientation. It meets about once a month and has a different topic every time. It opens up idea sharing but typically doesn’t move the needle much (yet). Student Activities and other departments/areas have similar councils.

        After reading this and having class for a month now, I wonder how much more could be achieved if the effort was made to meet weekly. Does it need to be CUNY-wide or could it start on one campus and spread like the district attempting to spread statewide?

  • Hi,
    This isn’t for a lightning round. I just found this article interesting and wondered if this notion of kindergarten for life could/should potentially be applied to college courses & pedagogy (including […]

    • Joe:

      The idea of playful learning seems so natural that it’s strange to imagine it’s as rare as it is. Last weekend I went out to “The Junk Playground of New York” ( where kids from 3 to 10 play with hammers, saws and raw lumber — and no parents are allowed.

      Timothy Walker’s Atlantic article at the above link describes his trepidation at the “adventure playground” popular in Europe and how it doesn’t fit our “fear-based, control-obsessed, litigation culture.” Maybe undergraduates from the protected classes got the wrong kind of start in kindergarten.

      Young people are a lot more capable than we give them credit for.

      • Jack,
        I’ll admit, I want a playground like that for me! Haha. In any case, I could see how it would be hard to imagine my 2 year old in a year going around playing with saws and nail but then again, in my childhood I could have been doing that without my parents knowing as long as I was home before the street lights came on. Great find, thanks for sharing.

  • Article:
    Petriglieri, G. (2014, November 06). Learning Is The Most Celebrated Neglected Activity in The   Workplace [Blog Post]. Retrieved from […]

    • Hi Joe,

      There is a 2006 book by Anna Neumann (“Professing to Learn: Creating Tenured Lives and Careers in the American Research University”) that delves exactly in how and why university professors keep learning in their workplaces after they have received tenure (although is only about professors in major research universities, thus is not representative of the entire system). The book argues that learning doesn’t cease to happen, but even increases in that period of a professor’s career. The author distinguishes between scholarly learning (learning about the topic(s) the professor is passionate about) and instrumental learning (learning about other things that are important in order to carry on a professor’s tasks -teaching, research, service). The book argues that a professor learns through his/her research, teaching, and even service, and tries to portray stories of professors that successfully uses all three tasks to advance their scholarly learning.

      It might be an interesting source for the topic you are studying.

      • Alvaro,
        Thank you! Looks like CUNY has the e-book version that I’ll be able to download.

    • While I agree with the idea of transitional learning, you also bring up the point that it is not often the type of learning that occurs in most work places. While skills are valuable, I’d like to see when do these converge or diverge in the workplace. More specifically in jobs requiring BAs as a base line minimum but still required to use skills based learning within their tasks and responsibilities. Is transitional learning only for the elite or higher level managerial positions?

      Also, in regards to burnout. Here is an interesting article recently in the times bringing this to the forefront.

      • Hi Amanda,
        I don’t think transformational learning is only for the elite or higher levels. In fact, I’d argue that it is needed moreso in those entry-level positions and/or low-wage positions. If a person who is making minimum-wage doesn’t understand the why behind their duties, what are we expecting of them? Are we giving them the tools needed to develop? Are we giving them the guidance and understanding of their position that could spawn new ideas or approaches? Are we providing any opportunity for ownership of their task/role/responsibilities?

        Unfortunately, I’ve only seen transformational learning converge on the job in situations where the manager/leader takes it upon themselves to put the effort that is required into it. It is not something that can happen organically without someone encouraging that exploration to take place.

        Skill-based training is great to get short term production but once that need is met, what happens to the worker? Do they get more training on a new set of skills?

        In the end, transformational learning in my opinion is having workers/employees/team members understand the “why” behind what it is that they do what they do.

    • So going with that concept and your focus on entry-level/low-wage positions, what happens to the individual once they do understand their larger purpose in the grand scheme and reject that notion? For example, they understand how even the simple task of cleaning up or event saying hello can help someone, but after years or even in your example of the front desk assistant, they get burnt out from increased output. How can we use transitional learning in a way that doesn’t feel like pandering to “the boss”?

      • Joe replied 6 months ago

        Interesting question. You keep mentioning transitional learning which is different from the transformational learning that the article was focused on.

        Transitional learning is moving from one stage to the next. For example, transitioning from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college, etc.

        Transformational learning is not about moving from one stage to the next but rather understand each stage thoroughly and being able to articulate why the stage exists and what the stage is trying to accomplish.

        I don’t believe this exists in an vacuum. If a supervisor/manager believes in transformational learning and that approach, then there shouldn’t be burnout occurring. If a front desk attendant is excelling in this new approach and does so for an extended period of time, there should be opportunities made available to them to continue their growth.

        If they understand their role in the grand scheme and reject that notion, then they really need to reassess whether or not that job is right for them. There is no use in employing people to provide a service if they no longer believe in the service they are providing or the organization that facilitates it.