SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 26

FEATURE ARTICLES
FRAMING COMMITTEES: A Two-Part Series
Katie M. Lewis, University of North Florida
Dr. Cathy " Coop " Roberts-Cooper, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
What is something all of our departments likely have, and yet rarely make the effort to examine for their value?
We are writing about committees. What does serving on a committee mean? As a chair, how should I guide my
committee? As a collective, what is in each committee's control? Our combined years of leading or serving on
committees, work groups, councils, and taskforces have taught us how these groups are formed, how they can
function (or not), and how they are sustained or concluded. While there are a seemingly infinite number of ways
for housing professionals to reflect on a practice many of us do, we invite you to think creatively and critically
about how committees function by exploring organizational theory: Bolman and Deal's Four Frames Model.
Welcome to part one of our two-part article series! In this edition, we focus on providing a crash-course
overview on the Four Frames Model, and dive deeper into two particular frames. The next article will unpack the
other two frames and recommendations for engaging effectively with committees in your future work.
Bolman and Deal (2015) describe a frame as " a [blend] of beliefs and assumptions that you carry in your head
to help you understand and negotiate... an accurate frame makes it easier to (a) know what's going on, (b) see
more options, and (c) make better choices " (p. 35). Boiled down to it, frames are both windows on a territory
and a compass for navigation. The primary goals of a committee chair are to monitor progress and keep the team
motivated.
Kicking us off first is the Structural Frame. This frame is grounded in the 'how' and logistics, as this frame
is all about tasks, organization, and coordination. It emphasizes and concentrates on strategy, policies, goals,
technology, roles, responsibilities, deadlines, and data-driven decisions.
From a structural lens, write down your initial thoughts to the following:
1. How do you approach committee formation?
2. How do you identify the committee charge?
3. What are the major milestones and tasks/deliverables that make up each one?
4. How is progress assessed along the way?
5. What is relevant? What is outdated?
When leading a team as a committee chair, your team members do not always see the whole picture and how
they impact others in a project. A successful chair sees the impact of each process and communicates those
impacts to the team; they ensure everyone understands their task goal as well as the big picture goal for the
finished project (Google Career Certificates, n.d.). Benefits of the Structural Frame include tactical approaches
to implement and maintain a measuring process for success: document when tasks and goals are completed,
adjust deliverables if responsibilities change, and let the team know if the project is on track or not. Implement
tools and software that allow for simultaneous collaboration, connection, and quality assurance. Maximize time
in committee meetings by coming prepared with discussion items, employing the flipped-classroom approach
of members reviewing material in advance, and offering workgroup time embedded into the schedule. In our
experience, the elements of the Structural Frame are where housing professionals can most commonly excel. The
purpose of housing departments means we must tend to the logistics of every move-in day, closing, training,
selection, room assignments, or a multitude of other events and processes that would severely impede the
experience of students if we neglect the Structural Frame. The opportunity to excel in this frame does not mean
success comes without intentionality or hard work. Lack of organization, follow-up, and communication within
the typical Housing committees also makes dysfunction easily visible to those outside of the group.
The Human Resources (HR) Frame is grounded in the philosophy that if you hire good people, support them,
and engage them, then good things will happen. It's the belief that individuals will do their best when they help
to decide what they want to work on, how they are seated and heard at the table, and where they can make the
greatest contributions. Central themes include relationships, needs, emotions, and empowerment.
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Contents
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - 1
SEAHO Report - Summer 2021 - Contents
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