Members of the Western community – faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members – regularly raise questions, concerns, or issues with me: via email, at the bi-weekly breakfasts with randomly invited faculty and staff, when waiting in line for my favorite garlic chicken and noodles at the stand in front the VU, ...
I sometimes think: well, if one person has that question or concern, I bet a lot of others do as well. This blog is an effort to try to more publicly respond to those matters that might be of broader interest.
I do this with some trepidation, being of a generation that relied upon different modes of communication. But, blog I will attempt. Let me know what you think.
I have been fielding lots of questions about the budget. So, most of the initial subjects of this blog deal with a deteriorating budget situation.
I do look forward to opportunities to share thoughts on more positive subjects. There are many, many. Such positives about Western are, for example, suffusing and energizing the "100 Conversations" now taking place on campus, in the community, around the state, and even across the country. More on that in the months ahead.
Please do understand a principle I firmly believe in and that, by now, you probably have heard me repeatedly say: leadership is about asking questions, not giving answers; indeed, we should look with suspicion on those leaders who think they have the answers. Together, we have the answers. We share a responsibility to ask tough questions, questions that take us outside our zones of comfort.
So, what do I try to do with this blog? It's not to offer answers because our processes are not about what the President wants. It is an effort, though, to take our consideration of tough subjects beyond the level of the cliché, to get beyond the surface simplicities to stimulate our shared consideration of complications and nuances. You will see that I present ideas from the 50,000 foot level and I stress that they are simply ideas to produce provocative thought. The fact is I could see our bottom-up process producing plans and recommendations that go in a completely different direction from an idea I express.
And, where the subjects are not heart-attack serious, I try to let some humor sneak in.
If there are subjects you would like to have considered in Bruce's Blog or thoughts you would like to share on a blog entry, do send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. As opposed to trying to answer every e-mail, I will use this blog to address the most common themes that emerge from responses. Your thoughts, nevertheless stimulate my thinking; simply hearing what is on your mind is also helpful. Open communication is a two-way responsibility, and I much appreciate those who make an effort to stay in touch.