Strengthen Culture as We Embrace Change
As we respond to uncertainty and change in the societal and higher education landscapes, we will strengthen our university culture by expressing the values of respect, honesty and transparency, by engaging in open dialogue, and by committing to continued personal and professional growth.
Changes in the employment market, global demands and headwinds faced by higher education all require a culture on campus that is adaptable and flexible. We must integrate across academic and non-academic departments and find ways to improve how we work together and make decisions. We must be vigilant stewards of our resources and always remember that they emanate from student tuition and philanthropic support. We must incorporate data and technology, break down silos and integrate operations. In doing so, we will find better and less costly ways to deliver the services that support our students’ education.
Valued human traits such as compassion, communication, empathy, ethical decision-making and creativity are key to the health and success of any organization. People are our most essential assets. In this time of uncertainty, we will develop a culture that values community and cares for one another. Communicating openly with faculty and staff and providing transparent access to information will foster trust and encourage full engagement in the university. Our convictions of personal attention and gratitude call us to foster a caring culture that supports the well-being of each member and celebrates the achievements of all members of our community.
St. Thomas must be welcoming – students, faculty and other members of our community must feel like this is a place they belong, are accepted, and are treated in a manner that makes them what to come to and stay at St. Thomas. Members of our community should be able to achieve work/life balance while engaged on our campus and beyond.
Universities are very complex organizations with very particular bureaucratic and governance structures that make change and innovation difficult and slow. However, only those organizations that create effective ways to innovate and create structures that support change will be able to thrive in the next decade.
Systems of governance and bureaucracy required to manage complex and large universities can create barriers for continuous innovation.
Communication and collaboration are essential in overcoming barriers to innovation. We need more creative operational models and a more deliberate integration of resources and expertise to foster innovation.