For example, in a framework presented by Cook-Greuter (here), there are three conventional stages of adult human development in which 77% of adults typically find themselves: diplomat, expert, and achiever.
- In diplomat, an individual makes meaning by conforming with group norms, and a leader in diplomat will often use words, like “family” and “loyalty” to describe what is important to them at work.
- In expert, an individual makes meaning through exercising and advocating the expertise of his or her discipline. Other disciplines are typically less enlightened than the expert’s, and sarcasm and phases such as “yes, but…” rule the expert’s speech.
- In achiever, an individual makes meaning through making goals and getting results with others, and disciplinary expertise gives way to working with others to get the job done. Deadline and metric talk rule the speech of the achiever….
To those inside the university, none of this is particularly noteworthy, except to say that expert is a very early stage of adult development. And here’s the rub. To the extent that universities are organized to keep their faculty in expert, they retard their development as adults, and keep them in a relatively immature stage. In business, the move to achiever occurs relatively early for someone rising through the leadership ranks. In universities, it is fairly common to enter as an Assistant Professor and exit as a Professor Emeritus and be in expert the whole time.