Discordant Realities

In universities, there is often a gap between what leaders think is happening and what students know is happening based on their daily academic experiences. Here is as example illustrated by two articles: one from a university publication (October 13) and the other from the student newspaper (30 October 13).

In the first article, the university president highlights recent successes and challenges, including enrollment and student retention:

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“The single most important thing we can do is to commit every single person on the campus to support student persistence and success above all else.”

In the second article, the students are upset with various administrative and academic processes:

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“The former student felt as though the school’s administration as a whole neglects the many difficulties students face while attempting to complete their program.”

In Lean world, we would say that the president needs to go to the gemba – the actual place to ascertain facts first-hand, in a non-blaming and non-judgmental way, and participate in improvement. The gemba is reality.

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