Standards and mandates are not the elixir for passion. In fact, once standards are in place, the seduction of compliance mentality can erode passion. It is easy to imagine small, dark rooms in Area 51 where people gather to create standards that they feel will change the future. In other areas of the country, organizations involve their stakeholders in the development of standards and respect the passion of individuals in those professions who will inspire, change, heal, or cure untold numbers of clients and patients.

When stakeholders are not involved in the development of new standards, articles are written, posters are designed, protests are held, and buttons are produced. One of the more popular buttons in the field of teacher education reads, “Those who can, teach. Those who can’t, make education policy.” New standards may be perceived as having value by many, but the amount of value may not be proven yet with research. There is an increased risk of compliance mentality when standards are not developed with stakeholders – again, a psychological approach that holds little passion.

Personal beliefs, at times, may be in direct opposition to new standards. It is hard to comply with new standards when you don’t believe in them, a lack of belief that could be motivated by reasons other than a lack of research. This is when I think back to a statement from Dr. Linda Black, Professor of Counselor Education and Acting Dean of the Graduate School at Northern Colorado University, about the danger of dichotomous thinking; the truth does not lie on one side or the other. It also reminds me of the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald who said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

It is interesting to gain insight about standards and compliance from fields outside of those in the EHHS Division. Kirk O. Hanson, Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University stated, “If the ‘message’ to the organization is to comply, then it will often be understood as ‘do the least possible’ or even ‘don’t get caught not complying.’ Either message can undermine the effort to meet public expectations.” Kevin Jones, a consultant on workplace safety said, “Some who have felt the stick end of compliance might think some regulators believe their rules and guides are the only path to safety. But the fact is that even the best codes and regulations have flaws; they do change.”

In addition to standards for our professions, the EHHS Division is guided by values. We always have a choice to seek a balanced approach that brings the heart of our shared values to the head of our programmatic standards/requirements – this is where passion thrives for inspiring students. For professions that impose standards on professions that were not developed with stakeholders, researchers in the professions are afforded an opportunity to research the outcomes of new standards and to provide data that support changing the standards. For all professionals in the EHHS Division, the foundation of our shared values will support ever-changing standards in a way that brings passion to teaching and learning.

How do our shared values guide us through the rough seas of changing standards?

Hanson, K.O. (2011) Beyond compliance: Globalization demands more effective programs. In Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Retrieved October 14, 2012 from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/business/beyond-compliance.html

Jones, K. (2011). Compliance or confidence? In SafetyAtWorkBlog. Retrieved October 14, 2012 from http://safetyatworkblog.com/2011/05/19/compliance-or-confidence/

Photo. iCMIS.com 11 May. 2010. 14 Oct. 2012 <;http://www.icims.com/blog/post/2010/05/11/Following-Compliance-Easy-as-Pie.aspx>;