Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And so it begins....

I have reached the 12 week mark in my journey at UCSC, and in an effort to find new ways to keep communication flowing with my team members I have launched this blog. It will serve as one of the many tools I use, including the BAS listserv, the new VCBAS newsletter (the Xylem), Twitter, Facebook, coffees, various meetings, and good ole' "management by walking around." Different team members have different communication preferences, and I want to ensure I utilize as many avenues as possible.  Though colleagues outside of BAS might read this blog, it is written to my teammates within the division.

You will note that the tag line at the top of the blog reads "we sit beneath the shade of trees we did not plant."  This is a variation of a saying I am sure most of you have heard in one form or another over the years.   One of the most important mentors in my life, Andy Westmoreland, would use this phrase often to articulate the fact that the universities in which we serve are larger entities than any one of us. The students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who have been a part of the fabric of our university since its founding have planted seeds along the way. Many times, the fruits of their labor are not fully realized until after their tenures have concluded.  This holds true for our work as well.  Our daily experiences in BAS can be dominated by transactional work, and with the fiscal pressures and uncertainty of recent years it can be extremely difficult to keep the long view in mind.  Long-term stewardship of this amazing campus we call UCSC must be our guiding compass.  I held the first BAS Managers Team meeting a couple of weeks ago.  This group essentially consists of the direct reports of my direct reports. We started the session by hearing from a third-year UCSC student.  She is a first-generation college student and she and her family are sacrificing everything they have to be able to achieve her dream of a college degree.  She shared her story with our group, and she eloquently spoke about what brought her to UCSC and the sacrifices she has faced. After she left, I took the opportunity to remind our BAS leaders of why we are all here. We need not confuse our specific tasks with the larger outcomes of our efforts, and we need not confuse the vital support system BAS provides with the core educational mission of the campus.  As we move into a new era of public higher education, it will be incumbent upon every team member within BAS to play an active role in charting the course forward for our division. Ensuring our front line team members feel empowered and engaged will be one of my highest priorities.

Here is to the journey ahead!