One of my goals for the 2012-13 academic year was to have a campus-wide conversation about values. That plan was, as a thesis advisor of mine used to say, O.B.E. (That’s not “Order of the British Empire.” It means “Overtaken By Events.”) But it’s not too late. Here’s my plan for moving forward on the consideration of SPSU’s shared values.
In developing a previous strategic plan in 2002-03, we identified a set of “enduring values,” which were reaffirmed by the University Institutional Effectiveness Council in 2009 for the 2010 – 2013 strategic plan. We have not accomplished all the goals in this most recent plan, so the UIEC is currently revising and extending the 2010 plan through 2015. As part of this process, I would like to reevaluate whether our statement of values remains accurate and valid.
Listed below are the values that we identified a decade ago. An extended description of these values is posted on the web at http://www.spsu.edu/aboutus/univvalues.htm. The narrative in the version posted on the web also lists some things we value, such as students, faculty, staff, alumni, the larger community, knowledge, and diversity, but not all of these fall clearly under the definition of values. The values we previously identified for Southern Polytechnic are:
So here is my question for the University community: Are these still the fundamental values that hold us together and guide us as a community?
I propose some analog crowd-sourcing to move this conversation forward. In the reception area of my office, a set of pages are laid out with the name of a value on each one. These will include the values we have previously identified, as well as ones that have arisen in various discussions on campus over the last year and others that we may want to consider. I’m asking members of the University community to come by and vote for the top six values that you think are critical to Southern Polytechnic State University. You’ll get six colored dots to cast your votes. We’ll collect feedback in this way until May 24. By using this approach, we will be able to see how other members of the University community are voting, and I hope this will stimulate some rich conversation about what we collectively value.
So here is what I am asking the University community to do, over the next month:
After May 24, I’ll summarize the responses and share the results, and we’ll see where the conversation takes us.
For perspective, I have attached (below) some examples of “statements of values” from other colleges and universities. You’ll see some common themes and some areas of unique focus. This list is only a sampling, and you may want to explore in more detail how some other institutions have approached the question of articulating their values.
Thanks to all of you who will contribute to and enrich the process of clarifying our shared values. And good luck as we conclude this spring semester!
Boise State University
California State University – Northridge
Central Michigan University
Ferris State University
Indiana State University
Michigan State University
Santa Clara University
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
University of Denver
University of Edinboro (Pennsylvania)
University of Missouri