Friday (Thursday) Letter, 8-18-16

Hi All –

I am meeting today with the executive team in our annual summer retreat. I thought you might be interested to know some of the topics we’re discussing:

  • We are discussing compiling a Diversity and Equity Plan. More than anything, this tool might help us document the myriad of efforts we execute around this topic and who is associated with each effort. From the Pluralism Committee to Cavolines to faculty efforts…there are about a dozen things we do.
  • We are discussing a Communications Plan. We want to make sure that when we communicate important decisions and information to employees that we are following some guidelines to make sure we can get the message out to everyone in a comprehensive manner.
  • We are discussing long term financial planning. We will have a few extra bucks over the next few years and we want to think about a structure to engage the campus in discussions about how we will manage those dollars.
  • We’ll be discussing the mission statement and reflecting on the meaning of Learning-Centered Community and Integrated Learning. Are we really showing these things robustly, how do they manifest themselves, and how is it demonstrated in the strategic plan.
  • And, each team member will share their goals for the coming year with regard to furthering the strategic plan.

I know you’re all hoping to listen in…but I’ll save you any tediousness. I am pretty sure you’ll see the results of these discussions over fall quarter.

I also wanted to report a tidbit from Natalie Serianni in light of last week’s letter. She writes:

Thank you so much for sharing my students’ work in the Friday letter. We really enjoyed exploring movement and exercise as it relates to higher education learning practices. I did want to add one small note: I did not create this assignment stated in the letter. As is regular practice within our English discipline, we constantly share assignments, handouts, readings, materials and ideas with one another. I tweaked it and modified it, of course, to fit my Summer Bucket class, but the original concept for the assignment was created by Courtney Putnam, who focuses on movement and education in her classes. Like all of the good work Courtney does for Cascadia, through class and particularly her tremendous efforts with Cascadia’s creative arts magazine, “Yours Truly,” Courtney should receive credit for creating this assignment – and her support of students. 

I love team efforts, and thanks to Natalie for sharing about Courtney’s contributions. And Courtney…thank YOU.

Finally, I was at a breakfast yesterday in downtown Seattle where Ana Mari Cauce was the speaker. If you don’t know, Dr. Cauce is the President of UW. Two things she said intrigued me. First, they asked her about who her role model was. She had an answer, but I turned that question back to me and wondered, “Who was MY role model?” I also have an answer, but we can save that for a hallway conversation. Who was YOUR role model?

And, Dr. Cauce gave an example of how she is handling some diversity issues at the U. Apparently, each fraternity and sorority will now have a Chief Diversity Officer. The students came up with this solution and each fraternity and sorority will choose a student to be their CDO. These students will become educated on issues and help navigate. I wondered about this model. Could Cascadia do something similar, but within departments and disciplines? Could an employee be a Chief Diversity Officer for their unit? This is just a conversation starter. It’s a fascinating concept about continuing to manage our own learning and commitment to Pluralism.

Have a great weekend.

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