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.