I am delighted to welcome you all to the University of Iowa campus, to the Iowa City community, and to this innovative and important meeting. I am grateful that our College of Education and Tippie College of Business have partnered to bring educational and business leaders together to exchange dialogue on issues of leadership and collaboration.
With the continued rise of globalization, swifter and more interactive communications, and integrated economies, societies, and cultures, partnership and team-building are becoming only more and more important in today’s world. As leaders, it is our job to steer, direct, and manage the increasingly collaborative nature of our organizations, and to help our employees, our constituents, and those whom we serve work together in the most productive ways possible.
We must also remember that leadership itself is no longer the domain of an individual authority. I think you all know, as do I, that we cannot do our jobs as leaders without the help and direction of many other talented partners. Today’s organization, whether it’s a school, a business, or any other kind of organization, is not so much a free-standing entity than a node in a network of interacting groups. Partnerships are no longer just advantageous to success but essential.
Today, you will engage in much dialogue about strengthening partnerships: with the University of Iowa, within your own schools, and with businesses. We have much to teach and learn from each other. Dialogues like this can open up multiple paths of conversation and understanding. We hear a lot today about “business models” in education. Perhaps as these dialogues continue, those of us in schools can also help businesses see the advantages of “education models” in business, or help teachers see the importance of leadership within their own classrooms, or help school leaders remember the role of teaching and learning in their own administrative work, and so on and so on.
Leadership, education, business: none of these is a one-way street, and they’re not even two-way streets any longer. In a lot of ways, the street metaphor no longer applies. It is too limited. Networks, partnerships, collaborations: they aren’t narrow, contained, and uni- or bi-directional like most of the streets we travel on every day. Today’s work, learning, and community environments are full of multiple lines of communication; layers of talent, duties, and responsibilities; and infinite kinds of exchanges and possibilities, many we have not even imagined yet.
Through dialogues and meetings like this, you are on the leading edge of the discussion of how we can go about our business most effectively in today’s world as well as setting the pace for the future. And so, once again, I thank all of you, our attendees, our guest speakers, and our Colleges of Education and Business, for being here, for all the innovative and caring work you do, and for your openness to doing things in new ways for the betterment of all. Once again, welcome, and I extend to you my best wishes for an enlightening and productive meeting today.