Welcome Fall 2012-Page 4
Earlier this year, the college professor who was one of the most influential on my future beyond my undergraduate years retired after 40 years of teaching. I had the honor to give an address at an undergraduate conference held partly in his honor. I give him credit for many of the successes I have achieved. I can do him no greater honor than to contribute to the success of the next generation of students. This is a reason I do what I do.
I encourage you to take some time and remember who it was that supported and nurtured you. Share your stories and make it your work to ensure the success of others.
I hope we continue to compromise and accept differences as we move our strategic plan forward. There is still much to be done as we advance the strategic actions related to our identified priorities:
• to promote, and value the liberal arts identity of the College of Letters and Science;
• to optimize student learning experiences;
• to enable COLS faculty and academic staff to reach their highest potential in research
and creative endeavors, teaching, and service;
• to provide leaders who foster sustainable and inclusive communities;
• to maintain and enhance community engagement; and
• to cultivate connections and collaborations across disciplines.
I can think of no better reason to do what we do than to be part of an intellectual community that has committed to this set of priorities. As we stay focused on these priorities we will create new reasons that motivate our work. You will see examples when we present our second annual college awards.
In line with our strategic actions, I am pleased to announce two other initiatives you will be hearing about this semester.
The COLS Dean’s Office has requested and received University funding to support a Global Learning Initiative. In its Strategic Plan, the College dedicated itself to providing students with the kind of learning that helps them explore what it means to be responsible global citizens in the 21st century. The College’s dedication to global learning aligns with the learning mission of the University, the campus Essential Student Learning Outcomes, and the emerging University Studies Program, all of which cite our students’ preparation for global citizenship as a campus priority.
The goal of the Global Learning Initiative is to focus on global learning outcomes across the College curriculum. By increasing global content in COLS courses, the Global Learning Initiative will help students engage the social, civic, and economic challenges of a diverse world and prepare them to take responsibility for common global problems.
Many of our strategic actions can be met through enhancing current and developing new graduate programs. The College of Letters and Science will use initiative funds to support an expansion of its graduate offerings. This expansion will include the exploration of developing new programs, expanding current programs and increasing graduate student support.
More details about these two initiatives and how to apply for funds will be provided later this semester.
I noticed that the letter Q connected the talks we heard in the University-wide session this morning. As I always expect the College to be at least one step ahead, I used the letter R for reason. However, out of respect for our higher administrators I thought I would take a step back to Q and mention Martha Quinn and Don Quixote.
Martha Quinn was one of the original MTV VJ’s in the early 1980’s. This was during my college years, during which many of us spent too much time watching Ms. Quinn, and I am sure she had some influence on us during those years. To paraphrase Ms. Quinn: Demand no more out of your colleagues than what you are willing to give yourself.
The adjective quixotic has it origins in the actions of Don Quixote and is defined as exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical especially in the pursuit of lofty ideals. I don’t think anything we are doing is quixotic, although at times it seems that way.
Don Quixote is one of the world’s most famous and beloved literary creations. Most people have heard of him through the adventure of the windmills or as the protagonist following his impossible dream in the musical, Man of la Mancha. In a less well-known song from the musical, “What Does He Want from Me,” Aldonza asks repeatedly, “Why does he do the things he does?”
I invite you to join me, during my Sabbath year, to reflect on why it is we do the things we do. I have given you four reasons this morning and I will end by giving you more reasons, a lot more reasons – about 1,900 more reasons. They will be taking their first college classes beginning tomorrow.
Thank you. Have a good year.