This essay is in two parts, in order of importance. The first and most significant is about obligation, then within the bounds of those constraints, the second part is about vision. That I must include this obligation part at all is an unfortunate consequence of failing to make my loyalty and integrity clear to a previous employer.
When I am in a relationship of paid employment, ethics and the law of
the land both specify certain moral and fiduciary responsibilities, which
I accept wholeheartedly. Subject to ethics and the law of the land, I serve
the agenda of my employer to the best of my understanding and belief. There
is a problem when my employer fails to communicate its agenda clearly,
or ambiguously promotes a public posture at odds with its true corporate
agenda. If I can discern the corporate agenda, I will try to serve that.
In the more common circumstance that the public posture conforms to the
law while the true company policy does not, and I am unable to comply with
ethics and the law while serving the true agenda, I will serve the public
version. However, this is not a viable long-term employment situation,
and I will actively seek other employment (if I'm not fired first). Such
employers really don't want me, and I don't want to be there, and we both
I do this informally in the documentation I prepare with the software I write. I do it intentionally by the software tools I create for other users. And when in a formal classroom setting, I design the presentation to stimulate and encourage in the students thoughtful analysis of ideas rather than rote memorization of facts and formulas.
Thinking is hard work, and students do not often volunteer for the task. My aim is not to be liked, but to be respected -- especially ten years later. The greatest compliment I have received as a teacher was, "He is tough, but you learn..."
In a formal classroom situation, most often I am not the highest authority.
I seek and relish academic situations where this my vision aligns positively
with the corporate agenda of the institution hosting the class. I will,
as noted above, comply with other corporate requirements, but "in the best
of all possible worlds" I can find some way to serve both the corporate
agenda and my own adacemic vision. The world is a big place, and this is
usually possible with a little creative thought.
First draft 2007 October 3
Revised 2008 June 25
This document is http://www.IttyBittyComputers.com/Essays/EduVisio.htm
See also Statement of Professional Goals