Professional Development

Discussing Hazing from the Outside-In

Most conversations about hazing are inside out:

  • They start with a narrow set of behaviors banned by state law.
  • Then they expand to include additional behaviors outlawed by university and organization policies.
  • From there, they can extend indefinitely in multiple directions to include things that are potentially harmful, ethically questionable, impractical, or more.

This approach inevitably leads to a dead-end conversation with students asking, “What else can’t we do?”

Why 'Change the Person' Strategies Fail

This sounds reasonable, but why do these strategies fall short (when used alone)?

There is more oxygen in the air in Vegas, we have increased exposure to risky situations in college, and there are social taboos against calling out a friend. Environment is a powerful enabler, and despite our best attempts to be the one to do things differently, the world around us always has a trump card.

The Learning Styles Myth

Asking a trainer about learning styles is comparable to asking a fraternity/sorority advisor if they teach keg-tapping.  It’s a tempting idea, but it makes about as much sense as believing in bigfoot or tryptophan.  Like these examples, the myth is interesting and popular, but the evidence is elusive (Curry, 1990).“Although the literature on learning styles is enormous, very few studies have even used an experimental methodology capable of testing the validity of learning styles applied to education. Moreover, of those that did use an appropriate method, several found results that flatly contradict the popular meshing hypothesis” (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2008, p. 105).

Every Professional Active?

This past summer, RISE revisited its purpose, and accepted the challenge to help every member become more active and engaged in their fraternity / sorority experience.  While the extent to which members are “active” will vary, it is an appropriate goal for us, a company committed to improving the fraternal movement. As dedicated  supporters of the interfraternal community, we challenge our fellow professionals to be more “active" in their role. By active we don't mean volume, we mean intention.  Here are five ways you can become more active as a fraternity/sorority professional:

    Get Off the Talent Bus

    In a recent Made to Stick column in FastCompany magazine, Chip Heath and Dan Heath challenged the ‘Talent Bus’ metaphor – the idea that your goal as a leader is to recruit talented people, get them in the right seats, and drop off the slackers at the next stop. Using research from Harvard Business professor Boris Groysberg, they show us that this talent/no-talent dichotomy doesn’t exactly translate into reality. Groysberg studied highly talented Wall Street analysts, and learned that their performance often suffers after switching to a new firm. Despite their individual abilities, they were trumped by the culture, systems and support available in the new environment. In other words, even the most talented passengers can’t go very far if they’re on a broken-down bus.

    Bringing Sexy Back ... to Policy Training

    Last week a colleague called me to ask for help. Apparently, a handful of chapters are showing a pattern of violations and confusion around risk management policy and the NPC unanimous agreements. She has now been charged with creating and presenting a policy training session for each chapter. She was concerned, because the program could very easily turn into the typical pain-filled policy reading. Instead, she wanted to do something more meaningful and interesting that might actually work. If she had done what most people do: