I hope all is well! We are cruising to the end of week three. Isn’t that remarkable? I think I often start these Friday notes with exclamations about how fast the year is going. I have already started that habit again this year. Yikes!
I am not sure I have lots and lots to report on today: will a short note do?
I have been in Estes for the Fall Forum or the Fall Leadership Retreat. I have been joined, this year, but Martin and a number of the CPD students, former students, and allies. The crew was extraordinarily effective in leading our conversation about evaluating teaching and curricular revisions.
A number of people commented to me what a great job the CPDers did facilitating conversations. This often led to conversations about how well regarded the department is regarded. Folks like the provost know how good you all are at teaching. They see and acknowledge the remarkable scholarship. Several deans commented on how important the classes we teach are to their students. And many people commented on my ACT Human Rights Film Festival t-shirt wanting to know more about this year’s festival. It is easy to tell your stories!
Well, that’s what I’ve got! Not much is it?
As I mentioned above, I was at the Fall Forum in at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park (I know, it’s a tough life!). At the end of the forum, Tony always does a short presentation with a Q and A session. He mentioned a startling statistic: the state of Colorado is the most efficient state in the union at higher education. Or, put differently, the state spends the least amount per student of any state in the nation. And yet, as he pointed out, when you combine the research productivity of CSU Fort Collins, CU Boulder, and School of Mines, we out-perform most other major public universities in the nation.
And when you look at CSU alone, we are in our fifth year of record enrollment, record research and creative activity, record fund raising. We are, as I have said often about our department, extraordinarily efficient.
You are extraordinarily efficient. You teach thousands of student credit hours and do so in a way that is the envy of the university. You produce ground-breaking scholarship. You serve our communities in innumerable ways. You do it because you are passionate about it and because it matters.
But, as Tony also pointed out, while we can point to amazing outcomes—books published, students graduated, meetings held—we need to acknowledge the daily effort this success represents. We need to acknowledge the class periods that flop, the students we couldn’t quiet save, the articles that were rejected (oh my, so many of those!), the meetings no one attended.
And we need to take a break and take care of each other.
For me, taking a break this weekend will include the official opening of the new art museum at the UCA. I will grab a snack at one of the food trucks and I will wander what I understand to be an amazing new art facility. And as I do that I will remember the hours it took to make the food I will munch on, the years of fundraising and nail pounding it took to build the museum, and the centuries of making art that fills our souls.
Have a great weekend.