Anita Verna Crofts is a Flight Instructor at the University of Washington. Yes, you read that correctly. She wrote this post last year and it's only appropriate to repost as we start the new academic year. Anita is one amazing lady who is taking education to new heights - Flying Lessons. There is hope for higher-ed! Thank you Anita! Come meet her at BIF-10!!
The University of Washington Announces Flying Lessons
I have never flown a plane or sat in a flight simulator, but I’ve been teaching people how to fly for years. This spring the Department of Communication at the University of Washington made it official by naming me their Flight Instructor.
Choosing to be named the Flight Instructor reflected my approach to teaching, which encourages students to lead and soar higher than they ever imagined possible, inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to the classes I teach, my punch card includes:
- Encouraging students to see their education as an opportunity to build knowledge and relationships that spread their wings. A degree isn’t just about making the grade, it’s about making a network that lasts a lifetime.
- Reminding students, faculty, and staff to seek the perspective that comes with altitude gain. The broader landscape looks different and reveals patterns that are invisible from the ground.
- Supporting faculty efforts to move students from co-piloting planes to taking over the controls themselves. Everyone has the ability to pilot their own plane.
- Championing opportunities for students to lead in class, on campus, and in the community. The sky’s the limit.
The vision for my role reflects the entrepreneurial instincts of the Communication Leadership graduate program, where I teach and serve as Associate Director, and the department as a whole. Our program houses two unique degrees in digital media and community/networks, both aimed at creatives who are on the frontlines of shaping superb communication strategies through story-driven content, audience engagement, and insightful analytics. The freedom faculty, staff, and students enjoy to dream, build, and grow is my fuel.
As the Flight Instructor, I help students navigate takeoffs, weather turbulence, and stick their landings. Last week an incoming student tweeted to me, “I would love to talk to you about my flight plan.”
Buckle up. It’s time for takeoff.