What do we value? In addition to Integrity, our University values "Excellence." What does this mean?
As we pause between the spring and the summer terms, I would like to continue a discussion of some concepts that we as a University value. As an institution, we chose five ideals that we call "Core Values" when we recrafted our University's mission a few years ago. These Core Values are the foundation for our decisions:
I - integrity
D - diversity & global awareness
E - excellence
A - access
S - student centeredness
Without consulting the dictionary, we know what excellence is. From our very first gold star on a homework assignment, our first field goal in basketball, or our first five-point buck, regardless of the accomplishment, we understand a job well done. As we grow up, our parents, teachers, and others, pat us on the back for doing a good job. When we grow up, it is up to us to excel without that pat on the back.
I will never forget a job interview I was part of a few years ago. We interviewed a young man for an hourly position. As we talked about the work involved and his background, he shared a phrase that essentially ended the interview for me. In describing a previous job, he called it a "minimum wage, minimum effort" job. As I said, the interview was over. Of course more words were said and pleasantries exchanged, but I knew that he was not the man for this position (that paid better than minimum wage).
The point is that in whatever we do, we need to strive to do the very best that we can. If our task is to write a term paper on the heroes of World War II, make it the best term paper that we can write. If it is performing a procedure in a nursing clinical, do it to the absolute best of our ability. Excellence demands that regardless of the task or the reward that we do our best.
It is our hope that in all things that we do as a University, we motivate our students to excel. If we succeed, our students will be successful in getting jobs and keeping them. If we succeed, our students will be the community leaders that they need to be. If we succeed, our State will thrive in a world of uncertainty.