The Boston Consortium for Higher Education believes that the competitive advantage of our schools and their tradition of excellence can be ably supported by the creation of dynamic and actively facilitated communities for discussion, innovation and shared effort. We are committed to acting as a special resource that can augment and complement the ongoing efforts of continually improving our schools' operational functions.
Our Vision is one that involves the creation of a learning organization. This will be accomplished by several means:
- Trustful relationships will be established by respecting the diversity of opinion and approach, where the value of the individual is viewed on a par with the needs of the organization, and that our development efforts acknowledge that the intellect, interest, and energy of the staff are our greatest asset.
- Effective use of manager and administrator time. The Boston Consortium cannot become an overlay of additional work for school staff. When properly structured, joint efforts will ultimately reduce the effort typically invested by individual schools for a given 'project.' Moreover, Consortium efforts must be timely and responsive to the changing needs and priorities of our schools' functional and administrative managers.
- Furtherance of Systems Thinking. Complex organizations often unintentionally obscure cause and effect. By leveraging group process across and between traditional school hierarchies, The Boston Consortium will amplify and expose areas of contradiction and unnecessary work, and assist in developing a deeper understanding of organizational systems. Dynamic communities of like-minded professionals can exchange information, develop fresh insight and identify trends that might not be visible by routine, internal review.
- A schema for identifying areas where common purpose and common interest lay. When viewed superficially,
one might ask why competing schools with such a wide variation in size, complexity, and culture would ever
believe that they have more capacity together than individually. The Boston Consortium believes that the
disciplined education of functional staff managers in behavioral and organizational processes will result
in the acquisition of new skills and insights. This culture of understanding, combined with a "safe" place to
explore new or even radical ideas, will result in increased freedom of expression. Traditional management
conservatism will transition to a willingness to experiment. Some experiments will fail, but no one will fear
for their security as it will have been done within the "practice field" of The Boston Consortium. Team
learning and collective thinking will avoid "The Tragedy of the Commons."
- Planning for the future requires an understanding of the past. How we got to where we are, and what culture and constraints created the present, all affect our current mental model. Combined with consensus about what the future holds, we can plan today for the steps we must take in order to achieve that more perfect future. The creation of a common language and common understanding of key internal and external challenges will focus effort where it is most needed.
- Verifying the value of our difference. The Boston Consortium is not about standardization or homogenization or interfering with internal school planning or strategy. It is precisely those differences that make each school unique and The Boston Consortium of potential value. Looking externally often improves internal understanding. Finding commonality of approach at the essence of a process will not surprise anyone, however it may suggest a common infrastructure that permits sharing of cost and increasing the chance to tailor and customize in the unique manner of each school.
- Building a shared vision. The Boston Consortium does not have any authority at any school. We are of the group, but not one of them. It is, of course, the right and obligation of each institution to do what is in its own best interest but, the power of a shared vision can aid immeasurably in addressing seemingly intractable obstacles. The Boston Consortium will make the case for leveraging the power of group process for the betterment of the individual schools. The Boston Consortium will market itself internally as a unique tool and externally as a college-derived effort to control tuition costs. To the degree possible, The Boston Consortium will remain transparent within the functional areas. We facilitate and provide off-balance sheet funds, but any successes are the direct result of staff effort at member schools.
- Voluntary nature. Commitment to The Boston Consortium as a forum for networking, community, and growth must come by choice: we are a voluntary organization. Encouraging participation will be necessary, but involvement is at the discretion of each functional manager, and will likely be determined by what he/she feels they will receive in return from it. And what they get will be determined by what they invest. Further, The Boston Consortium will not be governed by consensus. If two, or four of our eleven members wish to work together on an issue, that will constitute a group. We will not need "majority" participation to engage the services of the Consortium, however, heavy emphasis will be placed on persistent efforts to collaborate collectively.
- Extraordinary. Finally, our vision is that we will manifest the Extraordinary Consortium. We will create a new model for educational consortia by acting as a catalyst for energy and enthusiasm in pursuit of positive change. The Boston Consortium will become an innovation because of a focus on underlying behavioral issues, ignorance of which limits practical implementation of desired solutions. Our benchmark will be effective and rapid application of practical solutions that work in the real world of daily school operations.