No, it is not Christmas in June. This is my last week at UNLV and I have been reflecting on my time here: what I thought went well, what I might do differently at UCF, and what I would like to see the next Dean of LBS achieve. LBS has been my baby for the last five years. I want to see it thrive in the future.
For those of you who have heard me speak or are regular blog readers, you might think my wish for LBS would involve a new business model for Nevada higher education, a more radical revision of the MBA curriculum, or a more engaged undergraduate student body. You would be wrong.
Nothing has driven me more crazy in my time here than our missed opportunities or hesitant efforts to collectively celebrate achievement, whether it be students admitted into upper division, graduation from the EMBA program, our victories in the Governor’s Cup or award winning teaching or research by faculty, to name just a few. Don’t get me wrong, such successes are acknowledged: they are featured on our website, congratulatory emails are frequently sent by faculty, and on occasion we even serve cake. But rarely (the Nevada Business Hall of Fame being the biggest exception) do we create the kind of ceremony and ritual that adequately underscores the significance of the achievement to the life of the individual or the reputation of the school. Frankly, I have walked out of too many LBS events thinking “that just didn’t look or feel right”. There was even an event not too long ago where I felt obligated to remind attendees that this was a celebration and not a funeral.
Rituals and ceremonies are a collective expression of our identity and what we value. Without them, we have a diminished sense of who we are. If we are ambivalent about who we are, it is difficult to identify what should be celebrated and how. I’ll know that LBS has arrived when it learns how to celebrate its success in a way that affirms a collective identity and set of values. This is something I plan to make more of a focus at UCF, and it is my wish for LBS.