A Culture of Creativity and Innovation
Creativity and innovation are at the core of MICA’s mission and vision and serve to guide and align the College’s institutional priorities. From our approach to teaching and learning to our business processes, MICA strives to foster a culture of intellectual curiosity and innovation—for our students and our employees—that challenges the status quo and seeks better ways of doing things.
It is this same creative spirit that continues to drive us forward as an institution, using the disruption of the pandemic to reassess existing practices and integrate the lessons and innovations from last year to reimagine the way we work, teach, and learn as a community.
As MICA reopens in an expanded Operational Mode 4 on August 1, we welcome students and employees back to campus as a transforming institution, with new perspectives, understanding, and approaches to our employees and our work. We understand that reopening will pose many challenges for those returning to the campus. Managers and employees may continue to use flextime or flex-scheduling arrangements on an as-needed basis to help employees integrate work and life obligations day-to-day. Flex-time is currently available and managed on an ad hoc basis. The development and formalization of an Institutional telework policy is an important and foundational next step in this institutional metamorphosis.
A Culture of Community and Gathering
As we work to define this Policy, however, it is critical to acknowledge that MICA is, in its present state, a primarily residential College: an institution of higher education that prioritizes in-person community and the learning that takes place in the context of social gathering and the shared work and experience that physical co-presence affords. There are many MICA employees—both faculty and staff—whose presence on campus is essential to supporting this core, in-person and residential experience. MICA’s telework policy must therefore be aligned with this foundational priority.
During the pandemic, the College’s successful pivot to remote teaching, learning, and remote operations demonstrated that defined alternative work modalities can support students, employees, and the College. This experience also broadened our imagination of the nature of work and future possibilities in educational delivery. As we innovate and seek to maintain our identity as a residential college, we will need to strike a careful balance between flexibility and our service needs in order to achieve MICA’s short and long term strategic and operational goals. We anticipate multiple stages of adaptation as we continue to develop and refine this provisional Policy, and we welcome input from the MICA community as we work throughout AY21-22 to strike the right balance between MICA’s priorities and those of its employees.
The Goals of MICA’s Provisional Telework Policy
Because the post-pandemic new order is still emergent, MICA’s provisional Telework Policy is being established as a pilot for AY21-22. The goal is to provide immediate flexibility, learn as we adapt, and harvest lessons to inform long-term strategic goals.
Specifically, this Policy aims to:
● Align operational practices with MICA’s mission and vision
● Recruit and retain talent
● Recognize the unique situations of individual employees
● Develop a more diverse and global workforce
● Strengthen the College’s operational agility and capacity for operational innovation
● Gain efficiencies in operations and resource allocation through better support of seasonal, cyclical, or project-based work
● Enhance MICA’s competitive perception in the marketplace
● Promote better facility for and acceptance of technology within the work culture
● Enhance MICA’s unique culture and residential community through more inclusive channels of participation, interaction, and congregation
Defining Telework at MICA
Due to the diverse array of positions and associated position responsibilities, it is not possible to establish “one size fits all” remote and telework agreements for all employees. Some positions may necessitate a fully in-person and on-campus engagement and some may be best structured as fully remote, while others’ job responsibilities may be fulfilled in a hybrid manner, with some days in-person and on-campus and some days teleworking.