Advantages and challenges of Alt-Ac hybrid and remote work

Advantage

The challenge

Talent recruiting

  • Significant advantage in hiring full-distance talent, as alt-acs often have significant geographical / partner challenges.
  • Hybrid job options can entice alt-acs to join a university or team within an organization.
  • Onboarding entirely distant non-faculty academics remains a challenge, little in the way of established institutional policy.
  • Expectations of hybrid work flow in most organizations with little understanding of what the new “normal” work on campus will be. This uncertainty can increase the recruitment challenge.

Retain talent

  • Hybrid work options can be a “sweet spot” for retaining alt-ac talent, as work flexibility allows for a more sustainable balance of professional and family needs.
  • Hiring talented full-distance alt-acs can be easy, but hard to hold.
  • When a remote work culture is not created and maintained, non-resident alt-acs may feel less connected to the organization and less hesitant to move to another job.

Diversity

  • The deeper recruitment pools that occur with remote and job options improve the diversity profile of eligible candidates.
  • Institutions may run the risk of a remote / hybrid diversified non-faculty academic staff due to being less woven into campus fabric.

Entertainment

  • The epidemic has shown that there is no loss of productivity when alt-acs work remotely or hybrid.
  • The alt-ac workforce can increase productivity as it is able to work more flexibly, and can be recruited independently from geography as a more talented team.
  • It may be that the high productivity of remote / hybrid alt-acs being remote / hybrid during the epidemic was mostly a job.
  • It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

Faculty collaboration

  • Teachers are now universally comfortable with virtual meetings.
  • The advantages of using the same tools for faculty collaboration that are used in synchronous teaching / learning (zoom, etc.).
  • Remote and hybrid work reduces the chances of unscheduled and random conversations with teachers on campus.
  • Faculty and non-faculty educators spend less time in each other’s physical spaces and probably miss out on some interconnectedness and understanding.

Staff cooperation

  • Moving to virtual (zoom) meetings required for remote and hybrid work has enabled alt-acs to increase the intensity of meetings with colleagues. (No travel time).
  • The proliferation of asynchronous collaboration tools, such as Slack, has helped keep colleagues away from e-mail.
  • Rules regarding mixed-private and virtual meetings (xMeetings) have not yet been established and these meetings can be frustrating for everyone involved.
  • Now it is common for alt-acs to spend their days zooming in, with back-to-back scheduled meetings.

Student collaboration

● Distance Alternative Educators are ideally located to teach online programs at their institution. (Or in other organizations).

● Hyflex (personal and virtual) programming can be designed to include student participants and is accessible to a wide variety of students.

● Completely remote alt-acs are challenged to teach private courses at their institution.

● Completely remote and hybrid alternative educators spend less time on campus and therefore have less disorganized interactions with campus-based students.

Campus community

The campus community benefits from the integration of talented alternative educators who can work in the organization due to new remote and flexible work options.

● Campus culture that depends on the interaction density between students, faculty and staff can be challenging to replicate the dynamic power of residential higher education.

Institutional leadership

  • With existing strong campus networks and relationships, alternative educators cannot be influenced by the ability to apply institutional leadership when working hybrid / remote.
  • In institutions whose influence depends on relationships and absolute knowledge, completely distant and hybrid non-faculty academics may find it challenging to form alliances and create influence.

Disciplinary / professional contribution

  • With less emphasis on “seat time” in a new more flexible work culture, alternative educators may be able to free up time to contribute to the discipline / profession.
  • The disciplinary / professional contribution of remote / hybrid alt-acs may be less visible and valuable to the organization.

Long-term career growth

  • Distance / hybrid career opportunities may enable long-term flexibility and growth opportunities for alternative educators.
  • Alternative academics who are either completely remote or hybrid may have little chance of taking on a leadership role on campus if academic leaders return to a predominantly personal manner.

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