Project Management, Change Management, and Now F’ing Management: Strategies for Managing Teams Managing Innovations in Higher Education

Workshop Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Strategies for managing academic technology teams in higher education can make or break a campus initiative.  The F’ing Management strategy covers the principles of Family First, Friendship, Forgiveness, Fun, Fairness, Facilitation, and Flexibility.  The sessions will discuss the application of these principles and why they work in higher education.


Gerard L. Hanley Ph.D. is the Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, and SkillsCommons ( for the California State University, the Director for the Center for Usability for Design and Accessibility and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach. At MERLOT and SkillsCommons, he directs the development and sustainability of the international consortium and technology strategy to provide open educational services to improve teaching and learning and continues to development the US Department of Labor's open repository of educational resources for workforce development. Gerry's previous positions include Assistance Vice Chancellor for Academic Technology Services at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, the Director of Faculty Development and Director of Strategy Planning at CSU, Long Beach.

Extended Abstract

After 36 years in higher education, about 20 years leading academic technology initiatives for the largest 4 year higher education institution in the US, and 25 years leading MERLOT, I have developed team management principles that I have found very helpful in empowering a team of people in institutions that under-resource, over-commit, and under-compensate the people who design and deploy academic technology innovations. While a foundation of project management and change management are essential foundations for planning and implementing innovations in higher education, more is needed.   F’ing Management is needed.  The presentation will review the principles of F’ing Management, with discussions after each principle about how it works in real life.   The principles are:

  • Family First:  Our employees are people before they are personnel.  Employees at all levels of the organization should choose to put family first for the well-being of all.   We work as a team so others can adjust their work to support people’s choices.   Enable people to choose when then need to be with their families enables people to choose when they need to be with colleagues.
  • Manage through Friendships:   Friends help each other, strangers do not.   Friendships take time and effort to develop and develop through shared collaborative experiences. Whether people are team members, stakeholders, partners, vendors, or others, building friendships builds trust in communications and willingness to take collective risks.  We do our best to create teams to complete assignments and create opportunities for shared collaborative experiences. Trust results from friendships and trust enable us to achieve our goals more successfully and productively.  (Steven Covey:  You work at the speed of trust).
  • Manage with Forgiveness:  We all make “wrong decisions”/mistakes.   We need to learn from our past decisions and decisions of others AND then forgive and continue to trust your colleagues to make better decisions in the future.   Fear of making mistakes/failure does not foster creativity and humanity, forgiveness does.
  • Manage Fairly:   Fairness is achieved through equality when appropriate and equity when appropriate.   Transparency in decisions and actions is critical to achieve fairness. Communicate with colleagues so everyone has an equitable opportunity to understand and support the work.   We all must be fair to each other in our working interactions and check to make sure that each person is feeling that they are being fairly.  Compensations will be equitable and bonuses will be equal.
  • Have Fun:   Joy is good for the soul, the heart and the head. Be a source of Joy for your colleagues.   If we don’t laugh at least once during a meeting, we are doing something wrong (which we then have to forgive and learn to do it right).
  • Facilitate:  Give a Gift and Not a Burden.  Focus on enabling other’s success.   Enable other’s individual and organizational agendas to be achieved through positive support.
  • Be Flexible:   Adjust your work schedule and priorities to support projects that fulfill the institution’s mission.  (Remember to balance this with the Family First principle).   You commit to do what you can contribute and you don’t commit when you can’t do it.

The session will prompt participants to reflect on these principles and suggests ways that they might adopt these principles to improve the functioning