Thursday, August 25, 2005

Taking Responsibility for the Whole and Creating Good Karma

As some readers know, Dormgrandpop has an additional responsibility at AU, in addition to being Dormgrandpop. He is Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, CTE. CTE is responsible facilitating the quality of teaching and learning at AU and for delivering a variety of technology support services – information technology, Blackboard, multimedia, video conferencing, audio and video to faculty students and staff. About 60 full and part-time staff are members of the CTE family. Tomorrow is staff orientation day. Since I will be speaking to the staff as a whole, I have been thinking about how best to introduce new staff members to our distinctive CTE culture and to reinforce that culture in our old staff members.

I wanted to share a bit of this with you – what I believe to be most important.

The first page of our orientation book is a letter signed by all nine CTE managers. I will be asking new staff members what they believe to be the most important sentence in that letter.

The answer is this:

We expect you to take responsibility for the whole of CTE, to bring passion to your work and to think “out of the box.

What do I mean by ‘taking responsibility for the whole.’ This is elaborated in a one page document entitled Serving the AU Community and Relating to One Another – CTE Priorities. Priority number 4 in that document reads.

In CTE, every staff member, from the Director to our most junior hourly worker is expected to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, irrespective of their job descriptions. Even more, CTE staff members are expected to proactively and creatively seek out what needs to be done, without waiting to be told. How can I make a difference? How can strengthen the results we produce? How can I improve the quality of work life and the quality of human relationships in CTE? How can I create positive Karma? These are questions we must be asking ourselves every day.

What do mean by ‘creating positive Karma.’ Every CTE staff member is not only expected to know the answer to that question but to live the answer during every minute that they are representing CTE as a staff member. The answer is this:

We are creating positive Karma when every person – faculty, student, staff, administrator or unaffiliated drop-in – who enters a CTE space or comes in contact with a CTE professional, completes the interaction feeling more positively about CTE and more positively about themselves.

I will also be asking new CTE staff members: What is the phrase which, if I hear it or hear of it, from you, when you are representing CTE, is most likely to be the last phrase you utter as a CTE staff member. The answer is this:

That’s not my job.

Any questions?


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