What a lovely day! How can anything be better than a beautiful fall day in Southern Minnesota? Today, we are involved in university-wide sessions on improving our corner of the world. This morning, we started with a light breakfast and two hours of preview for the day and a student panel from our very special KEAP Center.
Considering the state of the university right here, right now…I found four words (well, five really), that perhaps capture the spirit of the day and what we are doing: Busy! Vibrant! Actively Attending! and Evolving!
Busy: Oh yes. Every hand in the room was raised when I asked who was busy. We are moving paper through offices, madly readying the campuses for winter, grading and testing, handling accreditation visitors, analyzing data, remodeling, recycling, planning for new directions strategically, working, working, working!
Vibrant: Really part of being busy, the university has so many things happening that we frequently schedule several events at the same time. That is a wonderful embarrassment of riches! The “say Something” event, the teach-in, the workshop on the achievement gap, art show, accreditation activity, assessment work, planning….whew. Vibrant is the ultra-positive side of busy.
Actively attending: This phrase speaks to our efforts to face our challenges and outright weak areas. We actively attend to issues of civility in all of its forms, from bullying to expecting professional behavior, to encouraging respectful debate. We are actively proactive in identifying and naming and addressing racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, any-ism, homophobia, transphobia any-phobia. We positively move toward cultural competence and inclusiveness. We look clear eyed at data that suggests we are not perfect and have a ways to go in achieving a truly welcoming environment. We listen to our students who are building the KEAP Center!
In a different view of environment, we actively attend to our climate, to sustainability of physical resources, to the pride of place we enjoy and must actively protect and nurture.
Evolving: We are moving forward! We are focusing our energies (busy!), building on all of our strengths (vibrant) to power our active attention to challenges and concerns as we TRULY live our mission as a community of learners re-dedicated to improving our world!
Some samples of today’s activity:
“Examining the Higher Education Achievement Gap” Dr. Luke Wood
“Sustainability Futures: Anthropocene Teach-in.” Dr. Joan Francioni, Dr. James Armstrong
“Presentation: KEAP Student Panel.” KEAP Student Leaders
Enjoy the day!