Tuesday, January 14, 2003

What would success look like? 

While at the SCSU Association of Scholars meeting today, I asked the question: How would you know when you had enough diversity? Would the student union building look like the UN General Assembly? Would there be any "students without color"?

I then went to read some other blogs, and ran across the story of Edmund Gordon from the New York Times (link requires registration.) Both Joanne Jacobs and Highered Intelligence comment on this story. To be successful, they all say, you have to know what success looks like.

One of the books I got when I becamse a department chair was the One Minute Manager. After that I picked up The Heart of a Leader. The latter book is like a daily reading for me: I randomly open the book and read a page, which across from it has some motto. Ken Blanchard and Don Shula once wrote, "Success isn't forever and failure isn't fatal." Finding out someone is ahead of you means they're only ahead of you today. Where you are tomorrow is up to you.

To do that, we have to know as a university where we are going; where is the goal line? "Priority strategic goals" that have no endpoint are no more than lip-sync for action. The diversity-firsters want us to "walk the talk" on diversity, but not a one of them can tell us where the goal line is because you can't measure when you have enough diversity.