Advancing our vision, in tough times

I, along with Adrienne Colegrove-Raymond, will be taking the lead within the cabinet on realizing our “university vision.”  Although its current text is only several years old, that vision – including “learning to make a positive difference” and “social and environmental responsibility”– is one that attracted me to Humboldt ten years ago and continues to be reflected in my work.  I know I’m far from the only one.

But to say that the cabinet will “advance our distinctive vision” is both ambitious and ambiguous.  I’d like to offer a sense of what it means to me.  My key academic interest is environmental politics and ideas.  I came to Humboldt excited to find many others with similar interests.  And over time, I’ve become involved in a variety of programs related to this (Environment and Community M.A. program; Environmental Science major; CCAT; HEIF).  Yet despite the obvious connection to the university’s vision, there’s not yet been a clear plan or commitment by the university as a whole to coordinating the success of such programs.  By contrast, in recent years, a great many other universities – including CSU campuses such as Chico – have developed systematic and highly visible approaches to sustainability and environment.  To me, advancing our university’s vision would include engaging in such a systematic approach on this campus, returning our university to its rightful place at the forefront.  This approach can only work by bringing together the energy, knowledge, experience, and creativity of those already working hard on this to craft this action plan.

Of course, my example only addresses one aspect of our university vision.  But I hope the broader point is clear:  current efforts must be strengthened by a university-wide commitment to action – and in so doing advance much of what is best about Humboldt.

We all know that this is a difficult, even dark, time – for our university, but also our community, state, nation, and world.  Economic crises highlight deeper social, cultural, and environmental problems.  And here on campus, these challenges are exacerbated by miscommunication and mistrust.  In that context, talk of “vision” can seem out of touch while we struggle to hold on to what we’ve had.  But I believe that Humboldt’s vision can be energizing, because it speaks to these problems and challenges directly.  To empower Humboldt’s graduates to make a positive difference in the world, we must be able to do the same as a campus community.

Posted by John Meyer at 12:54 PM
Filed in: University VisionPermalink


On 03/25 at 02:43 PM, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said:

HSU’s vision should be a budget philosophy: it should guide the priorities of the university.  Every action at HSU should be guided/evaluated in reference to HSU’s stated vision.

Those programs and expenditures that further HSU’s vision should take top priority in difficult economic times and should be expanded when times are more prosperous.

Individual programs, moreover, should use the vision of HSU to evaluate their institutional integrity.  Administrators should be hired ( and fired) based on their individual ability to guide the university towards our collective vision.

Leadership at HSU needs to understand what this vision means to our community and they need to demonstrate, by their actions, that they understand this vision is part of our institutional commonwealth and that it serves the interest of our collective community.

A much deeper conversation about our collective vision needs to take place on this campus and the leadership of the university must be educated as to the importance of this vision in shaping our collective future.

On 03/28 at 06:59 PM, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said:

I agree, Dan.  For the vision to be meaningful, it has to be integral to the budget and other key administrative decisions.  The cabinet has discussed this at some length in the past week.  And as you suggest, for this to work, the vision itself need a much higher profile on the campus as a whole.  I’m confident you’ll be hearing more about this soon.

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