What’s the Buzz?
Happy November! We have successfully completed our first Faculty Edition and Staff Edition of Engage West! and we are preparing for the next LDI, to be held on Nov. 6. My hope is that each of you has taken advantage of one or more of these professional development opportunities and that so doing has helped you begin to connect to your work and to the university on an even deeper, more “engaged” level. We are currently in the living year of this process, and it’s critically important that we all begin to incorporate the principles and culture of Engage West! into our daily lives with the goal of continuous improvement and impacting others.
I am excited to share with you that we now have concrete proof that others see – and believe in – what we’re doing with Engage West! Anecdotally, we’ve known this for months; many of our senior leadership team have received emails, phone calls, or personal inquiries about the initiative. Last year, the fledgling Engage West! program earned UWG a bronze in the Chancellor’s Service Excellence Awards. This year, we were honored with the title of Institution of the Year for the way in which we’ve grown and expanded the program. You can read more about that honor at Perspective Online.
In addition to this validating system acknowledgement, we have also begun to earn national recognition. Last week, I had the great privilege of accepting, on behalf of UWG, the national Leadership Development and Diversity Award presented by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). We were one of only two institutions to be honored this year in this category. You can read more about that award here.
These honors have demonstrated that the world beyond our doors sees that Engage West! has the potential to be a game-changer for higher education. We’ve begun submitting entries for additional awards (and if you see or hear of such an opportunity, please email me) and thinking back through all that we’ve accomplished thus far has been truly motivating.
We are not in a comfortable place right now...change is never easy! We are in the midst of improving policy, realigning/focusing priorities, assessing, validating and overhauling our culture. We are dealing with the discomfort of change and the growing pains of becoming who our students and community need us to be as an institution. None of these things are easy. No part of this is simple. But it already has been, is, and will be rewarding – not only in terms of outside recognition, but in terms of the difference this will make in each of our lives and in the lives of our students. Remember…we are in the business of transforming lives!
Please continue to invest your energy and passion in this worthy endeavor. I so appreciate your engagement thus far and your continued work to help UWG truly become the best place to work, learn, and succeed.