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Happy New Year

There’s a special kind of excitement this time of year. The start of the fall semester is academia’s equivalent of New Year’s Day. It’s like life starts all over again–a new routine, fresh faces, plans to do this-or-that a little better, the promise of a clean slate. Another chance to get it right.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the beginning of the new academic year. As a result, I decided to make my own version of New Year’s “work” resolutions–goals for functioning better and more effectively in my job. As I was mindlessly scrolling my way through Twitter one night last week, I ran across this little gem:

Ouch, man.

That right there, friends, is what you call a slap in the face.

Of course we want OTC to be a place where people want to teach; that’s a given. But I had never considered the thought in quite this way. While the course evaluation asks students if they would recommend you to another student, how about asking if you, dear faculty member, would recommend OTC as a place to teach?

The good news? I believe that, in general, most of you do enjoy teaching at OTC. However, even good things can be made better. In that spirit, I landed on this one, simple resolution for the academic year: Making OTC better for teachers.

Some of you may be thinking, “Duh…isn’t that your job?” And the answer is, yes, it is. But so are lots of other things, and I’ll admit that in the crush of all my other responsibilities, this one hasn’t always gotten the love it deserves.

I shared some pretty exciting data with the full-time faculty last week that show 90-plus percent of students report a great experience at OTC. You’re doing a great job! As a result, your professional judgment is valued and trusted.

So in order to keep my resolution, I need your help. Please share with me your concerns, your complaints, your challenges. Share your vision, your victories, and the ideas that get you really, really excited. For example, I returned to my office late last week to find an anonymous suggestion left on my desk. Hey, I’ll take it. But I’ll also take a good old-fashioned heart-to-heart over a Starbucks.  And if you’re not on the Springfield campus, I’ve got visits scheduled at every campus and center this semester. Let’s make a point to visit while I’m there.

Until then, I wish you a Happy New Year. Let’s make it the best one yet.


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