January 23, 2013
Aiming too high is not something I’ve ever thought of as flawed thinking or poor management. On the contrary, I would argue that aiming too high should be considered a virtue, for it is in the setting of lofty goals and achieving them that great, sometimes unexpected things can be accomplished. For that matter, even if one doesn’t hit the original target, simply coming close to it can yield impressive results.
It is in this spirit that I welcome the New Year, the new semester, and the opportunity to cast fresh eyes on our strategic decisions as an educational and health care resource. I don’t think there’s a university president, board of trustees or team of deans out there that isn’t waiting for the next “great idea” to come along, but ingenuity and innovation rarely appear gift-wrapped at one’s doorstep. Instead, creative, off-the-beaten-path thinking – and lofty aims – is what’s needed to build a framework not only for the future of this institution, but also for the future of health sciences education and patient care.
Tomorrow cannot depend on practices that were honored in the past but do not fit today. For example, teaching and learning cannot simply be about sending and receiving information – anyone with a library card or a wifi connection can do those things on their own. They also must foster creative, even audacious ideas that will transform our classrooms and laboratories, trading honorable but timeworn techniques for fresh approaches that are better suited to the challenges facing us today and in the future.
The same mindset applies to such matters as financing health professions education. Our strategic plan – our future – must be grounded on new models and new ways of doing things that measurably enhance the quality of our educational programs, increasing value for those who come to our University to learn and creating opportunities to grow for those who teach and conduct research here.
Our goal should be nothing short of greatness. We must aim high for WesternU to be considered the national treasure I hope we all agree it deserves to be.
As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU’s Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.
My best to you all,