News & Events
Explore ALU’s Innovative Work Environment
- July 13, 2017
- Posted by: Sumedha Sharma
- Category: News
For many, “the workplace of the future” has come to mean an office setting with a fire pole or a slide to get from one floor to the next. Snack machines have been replaced with healthy foods. And, with sitting being seen as the new smoking, desks are being replaced by slow-moving treadmills that allow you to walk and work at the same time.
While all of these changes are certainly healthier than sitting at your desk eating donuts, the African Leadership University is committed to doing more than simply tearing down the walls of your cubicle to create “the workplace of the future.” It is committed to tearing down the old-fashioned notion of top-down management, bringing in a collaborative, meaningful dialogue between its community – a dialogue that enriches the lives of everyone involved in the life-long learning experience at ALU.
A recent Fast Company article examined current business trends and explored future workforce preferences. The article postulates that millennials – the fastest-growing worker demographic – prefer the flexibility of working in teams when appropriate and working individually the rest of the time. In other words, hierarchies need not apply. The article also stresses differentiation. Why work at ALU when you could just as easily work at any one of a thousand similar institutions? The answer is simple – there is no other workplace like ALU.
While certain traditional educational dynamics exist, ALU focuses on the most positive educational experience for its students, its faculty and its staff. For instance, the weekly Friday Late Discussions (FLD), is an ideal opportunity for ALU staff, faculty, and interns to gather as a community, share ideas, get insights, align on new development, keep up to date with what’s going on in different parts of the organisation, and most importantly to connect as a group. Alongside announcements and department updates, there are shout-outs that are an opportunity to thank someone who has made a positive contribution recently, as well as a “Deep Dive” session, that take a closer look at one aspect of the organisation. The purpose of this is to either gain organisational alignment, get input for an idea, inform teams about an ongoing project, educating the community about a tool/system being rolled out, or debriefing on an event/project that has reached completion.
In keeping with traditional educational dynamics, ALU’s staff includes faculty, admissions, finance, marketing, human capital and many of the other roles one might encounter in tertiary education. Breaking from tradition, ALU incorporates business development. This arm of the university nurtures collegiate relationships with businesses eager to train ALU students and benefit from their exciting breakthroughs. Learning Experience Designers (LEDs) craft thoughtful, growth-enhancing experiences for undergraduate and graduate students to prepare them for their chosen career paths. Many of ALU’s staff and faculty members come from diverse backgrounds – from nations throughout Africa and around the world, and from other colleges and the business world. Each one of them brings a unique skill set and an intense desire to further ALU’s mission and vision.
The entire ALU experience can best be summed up in the words of Obadeyi Oluseye in his Open Letter to ALU Staffulty. Simply the title expresses the ALU’s overarching belief that every member of their society provides a valuable contribution to the educational whole. “Staffulty” is a mash-up of “staff” and “faculty”, an indication that the traditional hierarchy of top-down educational ideas does not apply to ALU. In his letter, Mr. Oluseye stresses two points that are not found in “traditional” universities, with their posted office hours and staid professors. To quote, “We appreciate every cup of morning coffee you miss, every bathroom break you don’t get, every rushed step you take to meet the demands of your days,” and “We appreciate the care you take to make sure we know our value is more than a grading system.”
Curious to see what it means to be part of rock star teams and what you could learn while helping others further their education? Visit ALU’s Careers page to explore “the workplace of the future”.