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:
We arrive today at the last item on our list of Core Values - Student-Centeredness. To be honest, this was actually first in the list as we were crafting the list of Core Values - we rearranged the list to make it easier to remember (IDEAS was easier to remember than SADIE). I wanted to start with this before I get into the practical, everyday, nuts-and-bolts description of what this means. We see ourselves as a University first as being student-centered. To me that is why I love coming to work everyday...
So what does it mean to be student-centered? It means keeping the needs and preferences of the students in mind as we make each decision. It means that when we make institutional decisions, the first question asked is "how will this affect students" rather than making it the last.
Student-Centeredness does not require us to always do what the students want us to do - it requires that we do what is in their best interest. When we make a policy that requires students to maintain a decent grade point average, that policy is not always popular with students. However, that policy does help ensure that students will continue toward success.
I was privileged today to sit in on a "Welcome to Arkansas" presentation presented by Scott Sudduth of the Arkansas Hospitality Association. He reminded us that our goal is to create an experience for our students (as applied to education). We are working together to build something that students will carry with them for the rest of their lives - we need to make it count.