Preparing for the New U

The dog days of summer are here, but MGA is not sitting back on the porch sipping lemonade.  A robust summer class is underway, and in less than one month our re-birth as a unified, state University takes place.  There is extensive work underway in preparation for what is truly a great achievement for our colleagues over many years and a wonderful opportunity for higher learning for the people of middle Georgia.
On Friday 7th August we employees come together as faculty and staff at Convocation on our central Macon campus.  Prior to that there will be small but important symbolic celebrations on each of our five campuses during early July, to dedicate publicly our calling to provide a University education at both baccalaureate and graduate levels so that lives and communities can be enriched and strengthened.  At Convocation a broader plan for our University future will be unveiled.  That plan will anticipate a set of key steps we must take to actualize the designation of “University”.  In a sense, we begin the task of demonstrating our University value on July 1, and over the next three years we will need to clearly and plainly achieve some milestones showing progress in that demonstration.
Over the past year we have been conducting a series of conversations and activities under the Provost’s leadership to develop a collective sense of “where we need to go next”.  This past month my Cabinet reviewed the outcome of those conversations, and developed a set of suggested priorities for our University.  I will be completing the work this summer, and then sharing with you our Plan on Convocation day.  It will be a plan that includes us all, raises expectations about our academic mission, educational promise, and professional performance – individually and collectively.  Like all plans it will evolve, change, grow and uncover new opportunities in the months ahead.
That change is at the heart of all learning.  It is captured in our core value of Adaptability.  We need to be comfortable with change, and to accept that all learning involves some risk and some failures.  Without those, no learning or adaptation will take place.  When those happen we need to be honest to ourselves and our colleagues, learn the lessons, and go forward.  That is how our two former institutions changed over the decades – through real learning and change – and the reward of that is that we now lie on the threshold of University status.
In his play Julius Ceasar, Shakespeare wrote: “There is a tide in the affairs of people, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.  Omitted, all the voyage of their lives is bound in shallows and in miseries.  We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”  Our tide is now here in these months of long days and hot temperatures.  Our wonderful journey is about to begin.