18 Sep 2013

All posts from 18 Sep 2013

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MCDM creates opportunity for Nancy Dick (’08), now Dean of Instruction at LWIT

Nancy_Dick 250x250At age 37, Nancy Dick (M.A., 2008) had little college experience. She had put a successful publishing career on hiatus to stay home with her young family for 10 years and had recently re-entered the workforce. Following a layoff, she attended Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT) to hone her multimedia software skills, and soon found herself recruited to teach because of her industry experience.

“Not everybody takes the university path for their education. I didn’t,” Dick said. “I wasn’t a traditional student and I wanted to make it easier for others to do what I was able to do.”

After earning an associate’s degree while teaching part-time, and later full-time, Dick earned a B.A. at City University. Taking the advice of a supervisor who reminded her that “no one values education like people in education,” she had her eye on a specific Master’s program.

“The [Master of Communication in Digital Media] program was, at that time, the only program like it, probably even nationally, and certainly locally,” Dick said. “It was really the fact that it was communications based and that it involved digital media, because that was my subject matter and I was teaching both online and in the classroom. I understood technology really well, but I wanted to be able to predict the future better.”

Steve Ater, lead faculty in Applied Design at LWIT, said he respects Dick for going back to do her graduate work when she did, especially after selecting the MCDM program.

“She chose kind of a hard road and I really admire that,” he said. “I think it’s made a huge difference in her impact in moving more into an administrative role in higher education. She’s doing some really hard and important work in a really unexpected place, and at a critical time.”

Although Dick found that many of her classmates were professionals from large corporations, like Microsoft and Amazon, and those working in government and in education, she discovered that they were all dealing with the same issues.

“I was really interested in what was happening with digital disruption if you look at many industries – journalism, TV, music – that underwent really incredible disruptive transformations,” Dick said. “I kept thinking this was going to come to higher education and I wanted to be ready for it.”

As a faculty member at LWIT teaching in the multimedia program, Dick didn’t intend to go into administration, “but three months after graduating from MCDM, I found myself with an opportunity to move into administration to launch the college’s new bachelor degree,” she said. “So my MCDM degree led to a job that I never anticipated or expected.”

As the Dean of Instruction for Design, Information Technology and eLearning, Dick manages several programs that involve about 45 faculty and staff and 800 students.

“I love my job. I always say I have the best design job in the state,” Dick said. “We’re the first public two-year college in the state to have a design-related baccalaureate degree and I get to manage that. We do amazing things in the two-year system. We help people transform their lives, we serve a lot of non-traditional students, and my goal is always to hire the best faculty to help these students reach their goals.”

Although she enjoys gardening and traveling in her spare time, Dick said she spends a lot of her energy thinking about higher education. She is interested in the transformations taking place in higher ed such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), prior learning assessment, competency based education, and online learning.

“If you look at the invention of the telephone, there were patent disputes and lawsuits,” Dick said. “Alexander Graham Bell may have gotten the credit, but there were others along the way. I was struck when I was studying in the MCDM program by the parallels to stuff that is happening now. As someone who is trying to look into the future and figure out how to train our students for jobs not invented yet, it was somewhat comforting to know that these messy transformations have happened before.”

One way that Dick stays interested in her job is her through her involvement with Adobe. She taught Adobe products for a long time and was an Adobe certified instructor and print master. She was one of the original subject matter experts for the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) Photoshop exam and recently worked with Adobe on the first ACA InDesign Exam.

“Above all, Nancy is a knowledgeable, professional and generous educator and leader,” said Tacy Trowbridge, Education Programs Lead at Adobe. “We count ourselves lucky to have been able to work with her over the years and value her participation and contributions to Adobe’s Education Community. Her impact on our programs and offerings is deep and broad and always informed by her commitment to serving the students in her institution and to preparing them for their futures.”

Nancy Dick is a 2013 inductee to the UW Communication Alumni Hall of Fame.

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MCDM creates opportunity for Nancy Dick (’08), now Dean of Instruction at LWIT
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BIF-9 Bound: Comm Lead Heads to Providence for Innovation Summit

The Business Innovation Factory Summit is an annual gathering of thinkers, doers, and rabble-rousers, held in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Business Innovation Factory Summit is an annual gathering of thinkers, doers, and rabble-rousers, held in Providence, Rhode Island.

I am composing this post on a plane winging its way east to Providence, Rhode Island.

My destination is the Business Innovation Factory’s annual summit: BIF-9. Three days of speakers—BIF calls them storytellers—sharing their thoughts on innovation to a rapt audience of 400. The range of backgrounds is impressive and the topics vary from innovative approaches to education, spacesuit design, cooking, and 3D printing.

BIF is fireworks for my brain.

I blogged about BIF-8 last year and have been counting the days to BIF-9 since. Not only did my time at BIF expose me to two key thinkers whose texts I use in my Comm Lead leadership course (Dave Gray’s The Connected Company and William C. Taylor’s Practically Radical) but the idea for the Comm Lead Flight Instructor was born over a meal at a Korean restaurant with a fellow BIF attendee.

What a year it has been since then.

But there is another reason I’m particularly excited for BIF-9: this year I’ve got company. Cohort 12 member Sarah Slaid is sitting a few rows behind me on the plane, her BIF-9 ticket sponsored by BIF’s Student Experience Lab. Here’s the unexpected tweet I encountered a month and a half ago from the BIF Student Experience Lab Director, Christine Flanagan:

What followed was the invitation by Chris to sponsor a Comm Lead student to attend BIF-9. With Sarah working with me on an independent study set for Winter Quarter on the Comm Lead leadership curriculum, this invitation could not have been more timely.

So stay tuned: we’ll be soaking up ideas and flying the Comm Lead flag over the next three days. Sarah will be posting her impressions of BIF-9 early next week, but in the meantime, you can tune in to the BIF-9 live stream on September 18-20—just keep in mind it’s East Coast time zone.

 

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BIF-9 Bound: Comm Lead Heads to Providence for Innovation Summit