Intro -- John D. Smith LO2819

John D. Smith (smith_jd@WIZARD.COLORADO.EDU)
Thu, 14 Sep 1995 18:34:22 -0600

I've been reading this list for several weeks and want to send an
introduction before the gathering at Richard Karash's house next Sunday!

I've worked in planning and institutional research at the University of
Colorado for the last 18 years. There's a lot of learning going on around
here. I do quite a bit of it myself. And yet, the institution certainly
does exemplify some notable learning disabilities! How very peculiar!

I'm interested in learning about my own learning disablities. I've
touched on this subject as a Buddhist practitioner for the last 20 years
but am coming at the issues from a new perspective since reading the Fifth
Discpline and attending a conference on Systems Thinking in Higher Ed last

For the past three years I've been trying to establish a data
administration department that seeks to manage administrative data
resources at a logical (technology-independent) level. We've been trying
to think about the institution's data not as bits, bytes, files, or even
data models, but as statements that describe a student or issue a command
or provide alternative ways for the institution to recollect and think
about itself. That has been quite a learning project itself: how do we
teach others now that we have some notion what data administration might

I'm interested in helping my own department become a learning
organization: too many data administration offices get too bogged down in
proclaiming and controling. I don't want us to act like some dry old
'lectronic elocution teacher that's ignored by everyone in the
marketplace. It seems to me that an organization's data resources have
value depending on its learning style and ability: I'd like to know how to
close the loop so that administrative staff can read the electronic text
(to use Shoshana Zuboff's provocative phrase) that they AND OTHERS write.

I'm glad to "be here" !!

--      --
John D. Smith,    Director,    Information Resource Management
Campus Box 50, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO  80309-0050                    (303) 492-9473
**      No theory, no learning  --  W. Edwards Demming      **