Friday, January 29, 2016

Leadership is a community activity, not an individual endeavor

As we spent time over the holidays with family and friends, many of us paused to reflect on what is truly important to us as individuals.

As we begin this spring semester, I encourage you to take this exercise one step further to consider what is important to our lives as members of this campus community, reflecting on Bloomsburg University’s core values, especially those of respect and community.

These values, included in our university’s strategic plan, serve to guide our behavior and define our culture.

My number one priority as president is the education and success of Bloomsburg University students. For our students to be successful, we must have an outstanding faculty and staff working in an environment where all may flourish, learn and grow. And, more importantly, where all students, faculty and staff feel respected.

Respect, particularly within an educational community, obliges us to listen and learn from others, even when we may not agree with or understand their perspectives. Active listening does not seek to advance an idea, agenda or opinion. We listen to gain a broader perspective of the fundamental issues affecting our community. I am well aware that not all decisions my leadership team and I make are understood or accepted by all, but they are made in what we consider to be the best interests of the university and our students.

Bloomsburg University is not unique in the need to strengthen certain areas that will, in turn, enhance our students’ educational experience. There are challenges we must address, including improving student retention, building a strong and proactive student advising model and achieving financial sustainability with continually inadequate state budgets. For each of these challenges, there are many viable solutions. The issue lies in our ability to have true, respectful dialogue while arriving at the best solutions for our university.

This semester, I ask you to join with me as we renew our commitment to our students and our institution. Let us resolve to work collaboratively and creatively, in an atmosphere of respect and community, to address our challenges.

After all, it is our strong work ethic, dedication to service and devotion to our university, our students, our colleagues and our community that define the Bloomsburg University experience for everyone.

#CollaborativeLearning #SenseOfCommunity #CoCurricularLearning

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