A team of Hope students had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and see the results in print after working together to edit the book “Paradigm Flip: Leading People, Teams, and Organizations Beyond the Social Media Revolution” by author Ben Lichtenwalner of Zeeland.
Senior Kara Robart of Newaygo and junior Katherine Sauer of Brookfield, Ill., served as senior editors. The other students on the editing team were 2013 graduate Lydia Blickley of Grand Rapids; junior Hannah Gingrich of Potsdam, N.Y.; 2013 graduate Chelsea Grainer of Clarkston; sophomore Hope Hancock of Tremont, Ill.; and junior Taylor Ann Krahn of Mishawaka, Ind.
Lichtenwalner wrote the book, published in the latter fall, as an advocate of social media and servant leadership principles, a reflection of the more than 10 years that he has studied leadership and the more than 15 years that he has worked in business technology. Having been impressed with the students he met when giving talks on campus through the college’s Center for Faithful Leadership, he made Hope his first stop when seeking editing help.
He connected first with faculty members Dr. Peter Schakel, who is the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Professor of English, and Dr. William Pannapacker, professor of English and director of the Mellon Scholars Program. Word went out through the college to students via e-mail. Would any be interested? Would one or two? In the end, seven signed on, volunteers all.
“I was immediately almost overwhelmed with the response,” Lichtenwalner said. “There was such a great group of students that was interested.”
As it happened, the editing process, conducted this past summer, and extent of the team dovetailed well with the book thematically, with the seven students and Lichtenwalner working exclusively through electronic and social media, including video conferencing via Google+, Google Docs and Gmail.
“The whole idea of a team excited me because it also gave the students a chance to experience what we were talking about,” he said. “Everybody experienced how the digital platforms were supporting us in our work and allowed us to function as a team.”
The quality of the students’ contribution also impressed him. They provided crucial copy editing, to be sure, but also helped shape the content, making suggestions when, as laypeople themselves, they felt that terms might be defined or concepts explained more clearly.
“It was fantastic,” he said. “And honestly, I don’t think a professional editor could have caught as much as the entire team did.”
Robart and Sauer, along with Hancock, are participants in the Mellon Scholars Program, which engages students in developing research projects in areas of scholarly interest in the arts and humanities with faculty mentors, with a particular emphasis on teaching them how to use new and emerging digital technologies in pursuing and sharing their work. They noted that the structure of the editing project meshed nicely with the Mellon program’s emphasis.
“It represents what Mellon is looking to help you do, which is the digital aspect, the collaborative aspect,” Sauer said.
Robart, interested in a career in publishing, also appreciated the chance to use, and build on, skills that she’d already had a chance to hone through two internships while studying off-campus through the Philadelphia Center in Philadelphia, Pa., where the Mellon Scholars Program has a new initiative called “Digital Liberal Arts in the Workplace” designed to offer more students opportunities similar to what the editing project supported.
“That’s where I learned a lot of the skills that were useful in this project,” she said. “This was another experience to add to projects that I’ve worked on.”
Sauer, likewise considering publishing and editing, valued the opportunity to learn more about what the work involved—and discovered that she found it rewarding.
“That was one of the small things that surprised me, was how much I enjoyed watching it evolve,” said Sauer, who did additional work helping design the layout. “It was very satisfying to read it over and over and see what I had said embedded into the edited text.”
Lichtenwalner is going to continue to be involved with Hope in other ways. Next year, he’ll help teach a course through the Center for Faithful Leadership, “Leadership in the Digital Age.” He is also keeping Hope students in mind for the future.
“I was thrilled to work with them and I’m already figuring out what the next project is and how I’m going to involve the students of Hope,” Lichtenwalner said.
“Paradigm Flip: Leading People, Teams, and Organizations Beyond the Social Media Revolution,” which is 248 pages long, is available at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle formats, and in the second quarter of 2014 will also be available as an audio book.