Hello IBAM Colleagues,
I would like to share with you my reasons for becoming and staying an active member of IBAM. As you well know, there are many associations and conferences that call out to us each year and we have the privilege of choosing which ones will receive our attention and our submissions. I have been choosing IBAM as my primary conference since 2005.
IBAM has a surprisingly simple and compelling mission: To provide a forum for management educators, business practitioners, and students to share their ideas, research, and experiences in a friendly and supportive environment. Consistent with its mission, IBAM boasts of members from a variety of institutions, backgrounds, disciplines, and viewpoints. We have faculty members who engage in classic academic research, some who specialize in the art of teaching and pedagogy, and others who push at the margins and nurture nascent ideas that may never become mainstream. We also have practitioner members who apply the research, administrative leaders who provide an institutional angle on higher education, and student members who represent the promise of the future. Sometimes this variety makes for contentious discussions that seem to highlight only our differences, but most of the time it leads to rich debate and new appreciation for perspectives we never truly considered.
Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, has written about an attitude that he calls “the scholarly temperament.” He describes it like this:
To set aside one’s pre-existing beliefs, to hold simultaneously in one’s mind multiple angles of seeing things, to allow yourself to believe another view as you consider it – … the extraordinary, unique thrill of thinking about a subject one way until you feel there cannot possibly be another valid perspective, and then beginning with another line of thought and feeling the same certainty settle into our minds, all the while watching in amazement as it happens (Bollinger, 2005).
It isn’t always comfortable to engage with others with differing presumptions, experiences, and beliefs, but it exercises our intellectual imagination and always contributes to our personal growth (and comfort is overrated, anyway.) It helps me to avoid the natural tendency to assume that what is good for me is good for everyone. Diversity in all its varieties is the strength of our society and is the celebrated spirit of IBAM.
My best memories from IBAM conferences are those unplanned moments when someone makes an observation that seems irreconcilable with my beliefs, and it forces me to challenge their assertions and to reconsider my avowals. I may not come around to an agreement with my IBAM colleague, but it always starts a conversation that stays with me through the year and is ripe for further contest at the next IBAM conference. I hope you started some conversations that you will continue next year at IBAM 22 in Orlando. I’ll see you there.
Christy Hutchison, JD
IBAM President 2009-2011
Bollinger, L. (2005) The value and responsibilities of academic freedom. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2005, retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/The-ValueResponsibilities/14037/