with grace he goes

By robynjay On January 28th, 2016

Today my beloved Steph leaves his workplace of 16 years for the last time. To those who matter, he will be remembered for his intelligence, energy, unending support, innovation and skills. Those that matter grieve the loss. It is of course not (only) about technical assistance. It’s about providing informed advice and guidance, patiently, generously, at any hour. It’s about designing effective learner-centred solutions to the issues and challenges that appear, often with little warning. Looking from the outside in, the programs Steph led were cutting edge; the organisation as a result, was seen to be a leader in the elearning field.

Despite this, he is ‘unsuitable’ for the reformed institution he has dedicated the bulk of his working life to. The fact that he is a ‘deep thinker’ is now seen as a liability.  Somewhere along the track, someone decided Steph was an IT guy; the person who managed platforms and upgrades. How did they get it so wrong?

He has no role in a space of vacuous agendas, stilettos and gym jocks. Few of the ‘old guard’ do. The Whitlam generation of educators that fought for innovative, learner-centred, service-focussed, life-long public education, driven by social justice and learner centred design, is either retiring, resigning or being retrenched. This brave new world of enterprise, business growth, efficiency, performance, risk management, competition,  and operating models has little regard for the values we hold dear.

Sometimes it’s best to just walk away; he will do this with grace and humility. When the pain has passed I’ll see this man’s spirit revived; I am certain of that. His skill and passion will find new avenues; his qualities will be valued. They know not what they do.

Steph at beach

9 Responses to “with grace he goes”

  1. Thankyou for your eloquent view Robyn
    I don’t know Stephan in this capacity, but appreciate your candor
    Please wish him every good thing from me beyond this squeeze out and into a bright new future
    He is a lucky man to have you by his side
    Best ( to you both )
    Margy

  2. Rest in the peace & stillness you both have. What goes around comes around! It hurts but will cease soon enough. You will be so busy, you may wonder how work ever got so much of your time. Thank you for your generosity Stephan, your worth is growing!

  3. An eloquent and heartfelt tribute on this Steph’s last day, and a true outline of his skills and talents. A pity a ‘reformed’ institution couldn’t see that. They will learn as he becomes missed. I hope his spirit not only revives but jumps headlong into wonderful pursuits in the future.

  4. What a sad loss to TAFE – a gem of a man with the tolerance and sensitivity to work with luddites like me!!! One of Steph’s last projects was at Eora College where he worked at beak neck speed over a month to set up a interactive learning system for Indigenous students that would normally take 6 months. Commitment and passion as always – we are forever grateful!!

  5. As I said on Facebook, beautifully written and so true. TAFE will be less because of your departure Steph and I wish you a great future with many adventures. You will find other ways to use your wonderful skills and knowledge.

  6. I don’t know what to say, except I’m so sorry that Steph has had to experience such ignorance.
    I really don’t know a lot about Steph’s job at TAFE but I know what he did for me and that was to provide sound, contemporary and informed advice. Despite the hysterics surrounding him Strph remained unflappable – solid and true, As he is no doubt today. Hold true sir, time will tell all.

  7. Robyn,

    This is indeed an insightful recognition of the way we, in the field of innovation, value Steph and his contribution to the journey of his staff, students and to our journey as well. My experience with Steph and his wonderful knowledge and experience certainly enriched my career in many ways – not the least being the excitement and passion for new technologies. I came away from many encounter with ‘my eyes wide open’ and I feel privileged to have had that opportunity. He will join many TAFE Innovators from across NSW on the metaphorical shelf!

    Both of you will have a fabulous life ahead as Steph and you share your passions with so many fortunate people! Thanks to you both for making such a difference! X

  8. Steph – as I wrote in my email – thank you on behalf of all of us for everything you did for the elearning world in VET and beyond. You were a real inspiration to me, and I imagine to countless others. I remember the time when I ‘discovered’ you and found out that you were in Sydney doing much the same as I was trying to do in Adelaide, and it made life easier and more enjoyable to know I had a colleague like you to share the experience with.

  9. This is a true description of Steph’s abilites, qualities and huge contribution to TAFE and the development and adoption of e-learning in Australia. In my time as the NSW E learning Coordinator I came to rely on Steph and Robyn as sounding boards and advisors as they were always across the newest trends and developments. Not just in a superficial way but with knowledge, insight and a thoughtful analysis of how new technologies could be applied to enhance educational experiences.
    TAFE has a geat deal of rhetoric flowing right now but the lowest morale in decades from what I have observed and the loss of someone of Steph’s calibre just deonstrates the reality of the lack of focus on quality in education in thia hollowed out institution. Thank you Robyn for writing this and i endorse many of the comments of others who have posted. It is a hard thing indeed to find oneself in this situation but with time and the freedom to pursue new paths i am sure Steph will find a place where he can exercise his considerable skills, outstanding qualities and be recognised and appreciated for them.

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