Open Door Policy & Solutions

Last weekend I attended the annual State College Leadership Conference, and my college had the opportunity to host this year’s conference. Members of Student Government and Campus Activities Board (CAB) from each school were in attendance and it was a great chance to network with other student leaders in the state and develop leadership skills.

As Campus Activities Board Chair, I enjoyed coming together sharing opinions, practices, and issues with other student leaders. The roundtable discussion was beneficial for everyone; the exchange of ideas was both interesting and useful.

However, my absolute favorite portion of the conference was the formal dinner on Friday night. Why? Three reasons:

1. Getting dolled up was so much fun! It was like prom all over again…minus the awkward moment when I didn’t win prom queen. But we don’t have to talk about that.

Formal dinner

2. Well, because I love eating free food. And they had wayyyy too many desserts and what type of person passes up a second dessert?

CAB Exec

That’s me! Second from the right. With the CAB Executive Board and advisor.

3. My college’s president, Dr. Rhine, gave a profound, short speech.

In the speech he gave us two pieces of advice that are applicable, not only to student leaders, but to teachers as well.

Have an open door policy

Campus leaders represent the student body. If there is disconnect between the constituents and the student leaders’ actions, they will not be effective leaders.

An open door policy bridges the gap and improves communication.

The same applies to teaching. If students know that you are there to provide them with the best education possible, they may be more vocal about what they need from you. By listening to student concerns and responding to the feedback, teachers can become responsive and reflective, thus enhancing instruction.

Provide solutions

Dr. Rhine then extended his first point:

If you take the time to present a concern, be ready to also present a solution.

Student leaders who only complain and present problems will not change conditions for students. Similarly, teachers who only complain about working conditions, standardized tests, and new fancy reading programs will not see any change. However, if teachers present the problem and a realistic solution, then change may happen.

There are many parallels between being a student leader and being a teacher. Both positions require creativity, leadership, innovation, communication, and organization. More importantly, the best student leaders and teachers CARE about those that they serve.

Teachers that have open door policies and present solutions will care. They will be effective. They will get noticed.

They will change the system.