In this global crisis, we are all witnessing the boost of the experts role. Science determine public policy decisions. At the same time, leaders across the board navigate the storm, at all levels. Consulting firm McKinsey has just released a document to help company directors reflect on their role in these circumstances. University leaders also face simultaneous challenges and imperatives. Why not also reflect on these?
According to John Kotter, change begins with the need to create a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, this time this is assured. Problems crop up: ensure continuity to classes, make educational resources available in digital format, obtain resources for university hospitals, mobilize research groups with potentially relevant contributions, give interviews to the press, not forgetting discussions with governments on the regulations governing distance education or with teachers unions not always favorable to the digital transition due to the impact on working conditions. Such accumulation of difficulties makes the Rectors feel - in the words of one of them - that "reality runs over us".
This will be a period of experimentation in every sense. It will be important to move from a crisis state of mind to a opportunit state of mind. Beyond emergencies, rectors and their teams can adopt a "test and learn" attitude. They need to be ready to recognize what isn't working and change it quickly.
These urgent notes are devoid of any academic claim. Furthermore, in such dramatic contexts, they may seem remote from reality, and in fact, in some way, they are. But, when the urgent displaces the important, they can help to think holistically. Their sole intention is to assist navigation in unknown waters.