College of Education

Dean's Perspectives

Reflections on Being Temporarily Disabled

April 9th, 2014

As many of you know, I slipped on the ice and suffered a knee injury in early January. By the latter part of February I was on crutches and I remain dependent on them for the next few weeks.

The good news is that I am clearly on the mend, making improvements each day. As of yesterday I have started a process of weaning myself from the crutches. I have another 12 weeks of rehab but could be walking unaided in 3-4 weeks. I am ecstatic about this positive turn of events.

I want to thank many in the college who have asked about my status from time to time and have genuinely rooted for me. Know that the positive energy has clearly helped me stay focused and positive and is helping me to heal.

Mike Trevisan addresses College of Education visitors from Thailand. Since February, his crutches have had many photo ops.

Mike Trevisan addresses College of Education visitors from Thailand. Since February, his crutches have had many photo ops.

It has been interesting to observe the reactions of people seeing a middle-aged person on crutches. Some don’t seem to know how best to react in seeing me. I particularly get interesting looks from people when Alaska Airlines carts me through the terminal in a wheelchair. And yes, while not always easy, traveling for business can be done. I have been on several trips now with crutches on airplanes, in taxis, and staying in hotels.

I think what has struck me the most is how a set of crutches connects me with other people, particularly those that have had injuries that required long rehabilitation and recovery. I have heard many personal stories about multiple surgeries that required months, and sometimes years, to fully resolve. And if it was a leg injury, how long the individual was on crutches (sometimes for months!).

Being dependent on other people has been probably the most difficult thing for me. It is humbling to be carted through the airport in a wheelchair. My wife Fran, has waited on me without complaint, to do things like iron clothes, move a glass of water from the sink to the table, or go to the store for me, all things I normally do myself. And in the office, my assistant Stacy Mohondro, has done much the same for me, including scheduling many doctor and physical therapy appointments around a packed schedule and somehow, making it all work.

I anticipate 100 percent recovery within the next 3-4 months. Paradoxically, I feel very lucky. I will treat winter here on the Palouse quite differently. My faith in others has been re-affirmed. Most have rooted for me and I am grateful for this support.



Pointing ship in the right direction

December 20th, 2013

As the year comes to a close and I look to the next, a number of thoughts come to mind. I think it is a fair to say that this year was one of “pointing the ship in the right direction.” To this end, the college worked to successfully close a budget gap, make a number of staff changes, and re-organize various units. An energetic and productive new cohort of faculty members were hired, and those hired in Pullman have quickly changed the tenor in Cleveland Hall. In addition, a variety of small, but important, revisions to various protocols have been put into place so that we remain one college across four campuses and honor each campus’s need for flexibility.

One of the things that struck me most during this last year is how people pulled together to move the college forward. Staff, faculty, administrators, and even graduate students, worked to make this a better place. Good will and a can-do spirit is evident. The college is thinking less about constraints and more about possibilities. This is a fun place to be a dean!

Another key factor in the college’s success this last year is the leadership team. This is a group of bright people, thoughtful and strong in their thinking. I depend on their feedback and wise counsel for all key decisions. Ultimately, there are some decisions which are mine, and mine alone. I make better decisions when I have the solid counsel of the leadership team.

Communication and marketing the college, its accomplishments, and its initiatives, has been a strong priority this year. In August we hired Brandon Chapman, who in a very short period of time has changed how communication is done on behalf of the college and in many ways, has begun to re-brand the College of Education on the WSU campus. Brandon is highly skilled with social media, web delivery, and a strong writer. He is savvy about communication and marketing and the college is fortunate to have him on staff.

I mentioned in a previous column about the importance and strength of our new development team. So I won’t go repeat detail, but think it worth noting that under the leadership of Andrea Farmer, the development director, development has a new face and energy that is poised to break development records. I couldn’t be more pleased with their near-term success.

Next year will bring a number of challenges and opportunities. I think we can expect this mix from here on out. To be sure, a key challenge will be how best to deploy limited resources effectively. The college will see the beginning of a host of new initiatives that are being driven by faculty and staff willing to take risks, invest time and energy, and step up to meet new expectations. Discussion of these however, can wait until next year!

It is time now to enjoy the holiday.

Happy Holidays to everyone and here’s to a great 2014.

- Mike



Many reasons to be thankful

November 27th, 2013

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it is a time of reflection for me as I think about the many good people and initiatives in the College of Education. I want to take a few moments here to identify some of the things that I am thankful for as the dean of the college. I wish I had space to identify all individuals, programs, and initiatives. The following will, however, provide a few specifics about our college that make this place special, and for me, proud to serve as dean.Oak Leaf book 2

I think the thing I am thankful for, first and foremost, is the people in the college, both faculty and staff. We have people who have just started in the college, and those who have worked here for more than 30 years. Some have worked here and left for a bit and then returned. Regardless of the job classification, the general tenor among employees is upbeat and they approach their work with a can-do attitude. As a consequence, I think we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

I want to make special mention regarding our staff. These professionals provide the support faculty and administrators need to do their work. Our college could not succeed without these individuals. These unsung employees work hard to meet increasingly higher expectations on a campus that is moving fast. I want to thank each and every staff member on all four campuses, for the work they do to make the college a great place to work, study, and build a career.

The legacy of the college is the educational leadership program. The college trains the majority of the superintendents in Washington. Thus, I am thankful for a top-notch educational leadership program. The academic faculty, and the faculty that have left the K-12 administrative ranks to enter higher education, are the heart and soul of the program. Their tireless efforts in providing the best possible experience for students studying to become administrators keeps WSU and the college in the forefront of K-12 work in the state.

I am also thankful for our development team. In fact, I think it is fair to say that we have a “cracker jack” development team. These folks are continually on the road making contact with potential donors. They are continually working to maintain links to previous donors. And they’re constantly strategizing on ways to position the college to receive the kind of development support we need to be successful now and in the years to come. As a relatively new team with an upwardly revised expectation for growth, they are on target to meet their revenue goal for the first year. Well done and keep up the great work.

I think a program we will begin to hear a good deal about in the coming years is kinesiology. With a key faculty hire this last year, a search for another faculty member under way this year, support from President Floyd, and plans to develop a master’s program, kinesiology is positioning itself to become a solid choice for many students interested in this field. In short, I am thankful for a program that has momentum and is working to reach higher.

I think the above provides a bit of what I am thankful for in the college, why I enjoy working in the college, and why I am positive about the college’s future. In the coming weeks and months I will highlight other programs, people, and initiatives that make this a wonderful college. In the meantime, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and trust that this holiday will be a special one for you and yours.

 

 

 




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