All the players on the New Paradigm Team

               Theo. R. Leverenz, Ph.D.  EPPA Consulting, Georgetown, KY

The achievements of an organization are the
results of the combined effort of each individual.

Vince Lombardi

Everybody on a championship team doesn't get
publicity, but everyone can say he's a champion.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson

n the nineties, notions of "teamwork," "partnership," and "collaboration"
became in vogue.  None of these terms were  particularly new to sports, of course, but 
what about education?  Education is a team effort, too, isn't it?  

As Vince noted, educational achievement is the result of the  COMBINED effort of many 
individuals.  And Magic hit the nail right on the head.  Very few on the educational 
"team" get the publicity, but EVERYONE on the team is the champion! 

One topic that is either overlooked (intentionally or otherwise) in discussions about 
education, assumed, or hotly contested is:  Who, exactly, is "on the team"? 

The following categories are outlined as obvious --- and not so obvious --- members 
of an educational organization team. 

If we were to name the various parts of an automobile, we would all include body, 
wheels, engine, trunk, windows, headlights, etc.  But I doubt anyone would also 
mention the less obvious, but no less essential parts such as lugnuts, windshield 
wipers, decorative trim, nuts and bolts that hold the parts together, etc.  But all 
of these parts are absolutely essential   They are, in fact, part of the automobile. 

Similarly, so it is with the educational "team"   Many members of the team are rarely 
mentioned, many are rarely considered, most rarely come to mind when the concept of 
educational teams is the focus. 

The educational "Team" includes:

Players on the field
The true players on the field are the students.  That's right. The students are the 
primary and only preeminent focus of colleges and universities --- or should be.   
Virtually all the resources, physical plant, facilities, programs, initiatives, and 
activities of colleges and universities are designed to be of ultimate value to the 
players on the field - the students. 

The coaches of players on the field are, of course, the faculty ---the teachers in 
each and every classroom.  Very close are the "major administrators" (provosts, deans, 
admissions directors, financial aid counselors, etc.).  These are the team members that 
are the most noticeable and most frequently cited. 

But there are other members of this team "squad" as well:  the substitutes, visiting 
professors, interim professors, etc.  As with almost any team, there are less noticeable, 
but equally vital people who are, indeed, considered part of the team.  These less 
frequently mentioned team members are: 

Vice presidents, department and division chairs in colleges and universities can be 
considered team trainers.  These are the team members that contribute through 
coordinating, planning, facilitating, supporting, and defending the wide variety of 
team "plays" (a.k.a.  courses, majors, inter-disciplinary activities, etc.) 

And trainers are the ones that provide the often intangible support without which no 
team could continue --- successfully.   So it is with librarians, information technology 
staff, and other resource coordinators 

Team physician(s)
When a player is injured, the team physician is normally the one the team turns to.  So 
it is when a student encounters difficulty   Tutors are there specifically to assist the 
players facing obstacles or suffering educational "injuries." 

Equipment managers
Far, far too often overlooked (and frequently) ignored are the maintenance and housekeeping 
staffs of colleges and universities.  Just as no team can practice without practice 
equipment, balls, rackets, mats, running tracks, nets, and clubs, etc., no player on the 
field or the players' coaches can perform with distinction in rooms with dirty blackboards, 
non-functioning lab equipment, no heat or air conditioning, dirty floors, inadequate or 
leaking plumbing, etc.  These are members of the team without which no team could, in fact, 
function.  And they are the members of the team too often overlooked. 

At times, teams face overwhelming challenges.  These challenges may be the need to carry 
out a key play successfully, succeed at winning a series of games, complete an entire 
season successfully, or achieve success in post - season tournaments. CheerLEADERS 
provide assistance by leading support for the team.  Cheerleaders provide vocalized support 
for the team.  Cheerleaders provide encouragement. 

In Colleges and Universities, alumni play a similar role. Alumni can be utilized to cheer 
the institution on, to lead support for the institution, to vocalize support for the 
school. And don't students' parents and families cheer "their" team as well? 

No team would be complete without its fans, would it?  What are fans? Fans are the people 
who, although perhaps having no other association with team, are nonetheless strong 
supporters of the team.  Fans are the people who will give up their time to follow the 
team, to attend the team's competitions, who often will also make financial sacrifices 
for the sake of "their" team. 

The community around an institution and an institution's donors are fans of the school.  
They may have no other association with the college or university other than a keen 
interest in its success  Consequently, the community and donors will willingly make 
sacrifices for the institution, most notably a financial contribution. 

Promoters / PR
Teams need, strive for, seek, and thoroughly enjoy press coverage.  Press coverage is 
what communicates a team's records of accomplishment, news making achievements, 
recruiting successes, etc.  So is the importance of an institution's public relations 
and media operations.  They are the essential part of the team that insures that others 
off campus are aware of an institution's distinct characteristics and achievements 

All athletic teams have owners.  They may own the team in the sense you may expect --- 
they have the title or deed to the team.  But other types of "owners" exist, too.  
The "owners" of high school football teams are, ultimately, the local Board of 
Education.   Schools, arenas of education, have owners.  These owners are normally 
referred to as "Trustees" or "President" or "Superintendent" or similar terms.  
And as with the owners of professional teams, their jobs, too, may depend on how 
successful their "team" is. 

A "team" is a wonderful and marvelous entity.   I, and hopefully you too, am filled 
with wonder when I witness a successful educational organization.  And I also marvel 
when I stop to consider the multiplicity of team members who have contributed to the 
team's success (remember what Vince Lombardi said?) and, without publicity, are still 
most certainly champions (remember Magic Johnson's comment). 

It is vital for us to remember the education "team" is more than the few that can be 
seen wearing team colors when the team marches onto the playing field!