Failure Competition Finalists

When you return from Thanksgiving break, you will be able to watch videos from our failure competition finalists. One video will post each day Monday through Thursday. Voting will take place Friday.

Good luck to James Guerne, Lisamarie Alexandre and Luke Anziano. They got out of their comfort zones to tell their stories and have made the finals. Now finalists, don’t forget to turn your video in on time. The deadline is tomorrow at 5 pm.

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Whose Names are on the Wall is Important

We had the honor of welcoming Sam Lupfer and his wife, Leila, to the College last Wednesday.  If the name sounds familiar, look at the wall in the atrium in BA-1.  Yes, that guy.  Lupfer is the right name for the atrium because he is the FTU version of what many of our current students are like: He is humble, thoughtful, down-to-earth and committed to sharing his success with his school and community.  Sam is the kind of guy you want to share a beverage with and invite to the football game because you have an extra ticket. We were introduced to Sam by Ken Dixon.  They are neighbors, and Ken’s gift to name the School of Accounting inspired Sam to contribute to our efforts to remodel the common spaces in BA-1.

This week, we welcome Ravago to the College on Thursday.   The company is active in the distribution, resale, compounding and recycling service for plastic and elastomeric raw materials. They have offices in a Maitland and are another key contributor to our remodel efforts.  The company believes in the same things we do:  connectivity, modesty, data-driven decision-making, partnership and ethical operation.  You’ve probably never heard of them, but you can check out their corporate values by clicking here.  They plan on being a key part of us for years to come.

We started our remodel project with two goals: First, to provide spaces where students wanted to hang out and have the kinds of conversations that would transform them— spaces that would encourage them to immerse themselves in the life of the college. Second, we wanted students to walk in and understand this is a place where winners are made.  The new names on the wall are important because they are success stories who share our values and vision.  They represent us well, and we are better because of our association with them. Thanks, Sam and Ravago.  We plan on using our remodeled spaces to produce many more winners like you.

Whose Names are on the Wall is Important

We had the honor of welcoming Sam Lupfer and his wife Leila to the College last Wednesday.  If the name sounds familiar, look at the wall in the atrium in BA-1.  Yes, that guy.  Lupfer is the right name for the atrium because he is the FTU version of what many of our current students are like: He is humble, thoughtful, down-to-earth and committed to sharing his success with his school and community.  Sam is the kind of guy you want to share a beverage with and invite to the football game because you have an extra ticket. We were introduced to Sam by Ken Dixon.  They are neighbors and Ken’s gift to name the School of Accounting inspired Sam to contribute to our efforts to remodel the common spaces in BA-1.

This week, we welcome Ravago to the College on Thursday.   The company is active in the distribution, resale, compounding and recycling service for plastic and elastomeric raw materials. They have offices in a Maitland and are another key contributor to our remodel efforts.  The company believes in the same things we do:  connectivity, modesty, data driven decision-making, partnership and ethical operation.  You’ve probably never heard of them, but you can check out their corporate values by clicking here.  They plan on being a key part of us for years to come.

We started our remodel project with two goals: First, to provide spaces where students wanted to hang out and have the kinds of conversations that would transform them— spaces that would encourage them to immerse themselves in the life of the college. Second, we wanted students to walk in and understand that this is a place where winners are made.  The new names on the wall are important because they are success stories who share our values and vision.  They represent us well and we are better because of our association with them. Thanks Sam and Ravago.  We plan on using our remodeled spaces to produce many more winners like you.

Professionalism doesn’t just happen on Tuesday.

On Thursday, I met with our SGA representatives.  We do this once a semester to talk about things of concern to students and to further our mutual interest in providing an engaging experience for our students. Naturally the SGA representatives wanted an update on our new course format ( we call them REAL courses—Relevant, Engaged, Active Learning).  One representative also respectively suggested changing the professional development courses from four to two and having them be two hours each.  He thought it would reduce what he saw as some redundancies in the courses and place the credit hours more in line with the workload.  I responded with only half an answer, noting that one of the reasons we chose to have four courses was because we wanted to have a touch point with students each semester.

What I neglected to include in my answer was why we want a touch point with each student each semester.  I was reminded of this reason Friday when less than half of the 400 students who signed up for Careerfest showed up for the event.  They missed meeting some very influential people.  More than that, they demonstrated that they didn’t understand what we are trying to teach them in our professional development courses.

At the heart of professionalism is doing what you say you are going to do.  When you sign on to do something, you show up with your “A” game. You do this no matter what else is going on, what else you have committed to doing, and how motivated you might feel when you first get up in the morning. If you do this consistently, people come to respect you.  They want to work with you and are glad you’re  on their team.  You are seen as a professional. Eventually, you may even get an opportunity to lead.

When you don’t show up or don’t bring your “A” game, you are seen as unreliable, inconsistent and untrustworthy.  People don’t want to work with you or do business with you. Chances are you will be looking for a new opportunity soon. This cycle will repeat itself until you change your behavior.

This is why we want you to demonstrate professionalism everyday you are with us.  It needs to become a part of who you are.  Just being a professional on Tuesday isn’t good enough… not even close.  So, we have four professionalism classes, not two.  If some of it seems repetitive, it’s because we want you not just to “know” what it is to be professional.  We want you to repeatedly “do” what is professional, so when you leave us, it will be second nature to you. It’s what employers expect and it’s what we expect, too.

Professionalism just doesn’t happen on Tuesday.

At the heart of professionalism is doing what you say you are going to do.  When you sign on to do something, you do it.  Showing up is necessary, but insufficient.  You show up with your “A” game.  You do this consistently and people come to respect you.  They want to work with you and be part of your team.  You are seen as a Professional. You don’t show up or don’t bring your “A” game with consistency, you are seen as unrealizable, inconsistent and unworthy of trust.  People don’t want to work with you or do business with you.  This is why we want you to demonstrate professionalism everyday, not just in GEB courses or for points.  It needs to become a part of who you are.  Just being a professional on Tuesday isn’t good enough… not even close.

A Thank You to Dr. Hitt

We learned this week that Dr. Hitt is retiring at the end of June.   A great deal has been said about his leadership and a great deal more will be said over the next several months as we celebrate the legacy of one of the most remarkable presidencies in higher education.  But I think  the best thing we can do for Dr. Hitt is to thank him.  So write him a note or add your thanks to mine by commenting on this post.  We will make sure he gets a copy of them all.

I want to thank Dr. Hitt for the unique institution he has created, the “can do” culture he has cultivated, the enormous number of lives he has changed, and the future he has provided to all of us who continue to work toward his vision and know UCF’s best days are yet to come.  The many years Dr. Hitt has devoted to UCF have been years well spent indeed.  So, thanks Dr. Hitt.  For our part, we promise to charge on!  

How To Win At Failing

Everyone fails. It is part of life. Rather than pretend it won’t happen, you should count on it and know what you will do to recover from it. Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. Today, we begin the twelfth  installment of our Failure Competition. Entering our competition is simple:

  • Write an account of a failure you have experienced in the past. Your failure story has to focus on a time you stepped out of your comfort zone to experience something new: the farther the better. Tell us why this was such a stretch for you, the failure that resulted and what you learned from the experience that would be of interest to others. It needs to be genuine, people can spot a fish story a mile way.
  • While the Failure Competition began with students in our capstone class, it is now open to any UCF student on campus: undergraduate, graduate or EMBA, business, education, engineering or whatever. The only requirement is that you currently be enrolled at UCF. About a year ago, we had a music student win the competition.
  • Need inspiration or guidance to tell your story? Search my blog. We have posted many stories about failure over the years.

Here are the ground rules, complete with important deadlines:

To enter you must post your essay in response to this blog. If you are a capstone student this semester include your section number and name of your instructor. If you are not in this class, tell me your class standing ( e.g., freshman, senior, graduate student) and your field of study. You must complete this exercise by 5 pm on Friday November 10th. Don’t Worry If You Don’t See it Right Away. I Have to Accept It

 A panel of College staff will choose no more than five finalists for me to consider. I will select three finalists by November 13th at 5 pm.

The finalists will be asked to submit short videos based on their essays. Those videos must be sent to me by 5 pm on November 21st.

I will then feature one video each day on my blog starting November 27th with a vote by everyone reading my blog taking place to determine the winner on Friday December 1st.

The winner will get a letter of recommendation from me along with a $500 prize. Second place will get $300, third place $200. These monies are awarded through our financial aid office.

Good Luck

Opportunity Can Take You Places

My professional career has taken me from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Madison, Wisconsin, to Iowa City, Iowa, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Lexington, Kentucky, to Las Vegas, Nevada, to Orlando, Florida.  Sometimes I had to go in search of opportunity, sometimes opportunity took me along for the ride.  Either way, my address changed.

While roughly 70 percent of our alums stay in Florida, the other 30 percent travel far and wide. This week I’m in New York City and Washington, D.C., talking to alums about how they got to these cities and how we can get more of our students opportunities to live and work  there. UCF has almost 5,000 alums in NYC and more than 3,000 in the nation’s capitol. We have even established a Capital Markets Advisory Board in New York made up of highly placed alums who can help connect students with potential employers. We are hoping to create a similar board in D.C.

One of my biggest responsibilities as dean is ensuring we expand students’ horizons— that we help them see possibilities they didn’t know existed for them. Some of those possibilities are beyond Florida, like working on Wall Street or in the U.S. Treasury Department. To do this, we need to reduce the barriers people perceive to striking out in a new direction. Perhaps the biggest barrier is fear of the unknown. If you don’t know anyone in the town and fear getting lost in the crowd, you are much less likely to see a place as a viable choice for you.

The EXCHANGE, presented by FAIRWINDS Credit Union, is designed to give students a better picture of the careers that await them. Our initiative to build alumni networks in key cities is meant to help overcome fear of the unknown and ease the transition to new places when career aspirations take students beyond Florida. What I’m looking for this week, is a few alums who will act as guides for those Knights who are interested in joining them in a far off place. It’s how we all need to work together to extend the UCF brand and ensure our students have the opportunities that will take them places.

An Opportunity to Redefine Hospitality

My good friend Abe Pizam is retiring as Dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Abe is the college’s founding dean, has conducted research, lectured and served as a consultant in more than 30 countries and serves on the editorial boards of 20 academic journals. His big reputation is matched only by his big personality.  By any ranking you can find, Abe has built the Rosen College into a world-class operation. So, when the Provost asked me to chair the search to find the next dean of the school, I knew I had a big task in front of me.  It’s tough to find the right person to follow a legend who put his school on the map.

The good news is that Rosen is well positioned to lead the transformation of the hospitality industry.  With all due respect to Cornell University and Ithaca’s 300 hotel rooms, UCF sits in the heart of the hospitality industry.  Rosen has first class facilities, oodles of industry support and the best donor anyone could ask for: Harris Rosen.  It has amassed a faculty that meets Abe’s high academic standards and has a reputation for partnering with other units on campus to create innovative programming.  With advances in technology redefining many industries including hospitality, having an innovative, technologically-intensive university in the midst of one of the world’s great tourist cities offers the Rosen College tremendous opportunities to marry research advances with practice in ways that move the industry forward.

The search committee’s challenge going forward isn’t to find the next Abe Pizam (there is no other Abe Pizam), but rather a leader who can take the very unique assets of the Rosen College, Orlando and UCF and combine them into an educational experience that equips the next generation of hospitality leaders.  Reputation as the undisputed leader in hospitality education will follow.  If you think you might be up to that task, you can learn more about the position and how to apply by clicking here.

Should I Smile?

One of the best smiles at the College belongs to Professor Ze Wang.  She is a wonderfully warm optimist whose smile lights up a room.  But we’re a business school people, a smile isn’t an asset unless we can put some sort of value on it.  In a world where I frequently joke my faculty study what they don’t understand (e.g., I once had a faculty member who studied dual commitment; let’s just say he had trouble sticking with one relationship), Ze studies the value of her grin.  Does smiling make people think you are more competent or less?  Are people more or less likely to invest in your idea, if you smile?

If you think you have a winning smile, are considering developing one or think projecting grumpiness is the way to go, you might want to sign up for Ze’s talk at the Citrus Club Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 4:30 p.m. and learn about the value of your smile. Note that this is our first Dean’s Speaker Series to end your workday rather than begin it.  I’m not sure what Tiffany has planned to replace the bacon, but I’m sure it will be worth showing up at 4:30 p.m. to get a sample.

You can sign up for Ze’s talk here.