This is a Time of Renewal

Photo of Emory's Cox Hall in springtime

A refreshing view of the Cox Clock Tower.

I love the Fall, especially October. There is always something special about starting a new semester, feeling the chill in the air, seeing the leaves change, watching football and soccer games, and experiencing the thrill of learning while not yet being behind in anything.

But Spring is my second favorite time of year.  In the Spring we emerge from our winter doldrums, the days are longer and warmer, and it feels good to get outside and stretch again. At work, Fall opens the year with the excitement of new beginnings. Spring renews that excitement after the inevitable lull in January and February, which are often all work and no payoff.

By March and April we start to see some projects close out and achievements become more substantial rather than small incremental advances at the beginning of the year. In talking with the Directors over the past few weeks they can now point to firm dates, completed proofs of concept, and the first successful milestones of many of our projects.

Photo of Emory in springtime

The blooming trees of Emory in the Spring.

For example, after a year of research we have just purchased a monitoring tool. We are also launching the Blackboard Analytics proof of concept. Every director area has something to show towards their annual goals and now they see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Also on my mind this Spring, and another form of renewal, is the manager training program. I’m already very proud of the effort the managers are putting towards their own professional development and I am confident they will continue to make strong strides forward in their ability to lead and nurture the people in their care.

To validate this confidence, I asked us all to take a survey at the end of February. The survey asked questions about our engagement at work and how our managers are doing in terms of courage, competency, and consistency. This will give us a baseline of comparison when the year-long training program is complete.

The polling showed areas of comparative strength and no real deficiencies overall. Within UTS, we do a good job of telling people what is expected of them. Our weakest trait is in routinely recognizing good performance. One question in particular asks whether we have been recognized for doing good work in the last seven days. Alas, that was our lowest score.

There were positive surprises as well. There is evidence within the survey to suggest that many managers are very highly regarded. We can even see that there are different styles of management and that some of our least visible managers are valued the most highly by their employees. In a deeply technical division like UTS, I should not have been surprised by this, but I admit I was. And I am glad for it.

With goals and projects now bearing fruit and manager training starting to flower, I want to wish each of you a new beginning and a very happy Spring.

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