New (School) Year's Resolutions
Like anyone whose life revolves around the academic calendar, I’ve learned that each year actually begins twice: formally and officially on Jan. 1, and happily and expectantly the instant our new students show up.
Friends sometimes chide me and remind me that the whole world does not behave according to an academic calendar. But even they admit that things do change when their kids go back to school. And now that Xavier’s kids have come home to school again—our freshmen for their first time—and our own New Year has begun, what better time for some New Year’s resolutions? Here are some of mine.
• To use the academic vision statement, crafted by the faculty last year, to guide a thorough, collaborative review of all programs, especially our academic programs, to help us sharpen—in turn—our own quest for excellence within the context of our specifically Catholic, Jesuit mission.
• To enhance the institutional collaborations that impact the person each student becomes, whether those collaborations are within the curriculum, across the University or between Xavier itself and the world around it.
• To continue gazing into the crystal ball to see what Xavier might become if we dare to dream big enough and work hard enough, and to build upon last year’s launch of our new division of information services to create the necessary nerve center to help us make informed choices among the many opportunities before us.
• To continue finding ways to make Xavier a better institutional citizen of the city and the region we call home, by better sharing our best assets—our students, our faculty, our staff—with the communities around us, and by learning better as well how to learn effectively from those communities in turn.
• To reach out better to our many alumni and friends wherever they are and in any way we can, and by finding new ways to excite them—to excite you—so as to better Xavier’s ability to deliver on its mission on behalf of the generations of students to come who will learn to call Xavier home.
• To move further forward into the remarkable new world that technology continues to shape, not only to improve processes and procedures across campus, but to make a greater difference where those processes and procedures matter most: in the privileged interaction of student and teacher, the interaction that is the heart of all we do.
• Now that the Gallagher Student Center and the plaza in front of it have been completed and the curtain has come down on this most recent building boom at Xavier University, to begin dreaming about the campus of the future in a way as big and bold as the Cintas Center or the new Gallagher Student Center itself.
Big resolutions? Ambitious goals? I should hope so! That’s what resolutions and goals ought to be, precisely because they are the stuff of hopes and dreams. For us, they must be lofty, and not only because our future is bright but because our mission is lofty as well: to form students intellectually, morally and spiritually, with rigor and compassion, toward lives of solidarity and service.
It was a great summer, all in all, but summer has come to an end. Time to put deadlines to some of these dreams. Our students—today’s and tomorrow’s—demand nothing less. May the New (School) Year be a great one for you and those you love best!
P.S. Oh yeah. One thing more: Is this the year we pack our bags for the Final Four, Thad?