Portfolio > 6b > 2. Application > Email - Deans' Council
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6. A competent scholar with a working knowledge of:
(b) Theories of learning and human development

Email following Deans' Council

I wrote this email to update the Vice President for Academic Administration about what I had learned concerning the WordPerfect requirement for affiliates, and to outline our plans for surveying the campus regarding word processing needs and preferences.

Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2002 10:43 PM
From: David Heise [dheise@andrews.edu]
Pat Mutch (mutchp@andrews.edu)
Niels-Erik Andreasen
Subject: Office Suite follow up

Hello Pat,

I have a web-based survey ready to go for collecting information about topics to cover in the word processing seminars and workshops we are planning. Dan Widner and myself are hoping for a good level of interest in the whole-day workshops (these will be like the one we attended in Livonia). These sessions normally cost $225 per person but the price would come down to less than $100 per person for 12 students (a little less for additional students up to 18), and that is very good value. The company (New Horizons) would also customize half-day sessions to our needs, so we are asking about interest in short seminars, half-day and full-day workshops. Dan and I would run the short seminars, based on topics identified in the survey.

I have been planning a series of questions to put to each of the Deans in one-on-one interviews, partly to use for one of my Leadership competency projects, but also as a follow up to the Deans' Council where Dan and I came and talked about software support. I also want to get a handle on the extent of the WordPerfect document exchange between Andrews and our affiliates that takes place in each of the schools/colleges, since this was given as a major argument for maintaining support for WordPerfect. However, after doing some preliminary checking on this, I found that unless I misunderstand what is meant by the term affiliates, it could be embarrassing to raise this with the Deans. The fact is that Andrews has to use Microsoft Word, not WordPerfect, when sending documents electronically to our affiliates. Most institutions are unable to use documents sent in WordPerfect format.

This leads me to make an observation. On two occasions now, I have been given arguments for maintaining support for WordPerfect that were based on wrong information or perceptions. One author I have seen referred to in my reading is Dr David Perkins from Harvard, and he says almost all the errors of thinking are errors of perception. I think there is some mis-informed thinking going on with respect to which office suite to use, and it could be leading us to make wrong decisions. Another article I was reading talks about "counterfactual thinking". "Work in this area has thus been central to our understanding of the cognition-emotion interface. Research on counterfactual thinking is by now also an important part of the literature on social comparison and comparative thinking." In any discussion about Word vs WordPerfect, Mac vs PC, or UNIX vs Windows, there is often an element of emotion. I hope we will be able to approach a decision about which office suite is right for Andrews based on the facts, and that we can find ways to counter opposition that is based only on personal preference.

The first of the two occasions I mentioned above was when one department told us (about a year ago now) that Andrews is a GC institution and follows the GC standard, so we should not even be talking about Microsoft training. This happened about a year after the GC officially moved to Microsoft, so if the argument was valid in the first place, it was an argument for Microsoft, not for WordPerfect.

The second instance is the one about having to maintain support, all across campus, for WordPerfect. I know some Deans pushed this harder than others, but it bothers me that the Deans' Council is resisting what is probably a necessary change on the basis of mis-information. I have to hope that they make other decisions on a more well-informed basis.

Well, you have said all along that training is the key, so I am putting a lot of hope in receiving some good input on topics to cover in the training survey. We are thinking we should announce the survey in the first week of September (after the initial rush of getting a new year started is over), and leave it online for 2 or 3 weeks. Hopefully, this will give us something concrete to work with. I'll keep in touch.


David Heise  email: dheise@andrews.edu
Chief Information Officer  phone: (269) 471-6124
Andrews University  cell: (269) 208-9292
http://dheise.andrews.edu  fax: (269) 471-6900

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Created: Sunday, February 20, 2000 06:01 PM
Last Modified: Sunday, November 23, 2008 1:17 PM