I have written only one memo to the faculty since I came to UCF. I find them far too impersonal a way to manage and I would much prefer to start a conversation or float an idea via my blog. Can you imagine a memo entitled “I want to invite Popeil, Kiper and Snooki to the College” or “Your Friends Are Redundant”. So wherever possible, I leave the memo writing to Taylor and Foard.
But memos are appropriate to announce official policy and begin the process of embedding certain values, expectations, and actions into our organizational DNA. I have talked for most of the Spring semester about the need for our college to lie at the cross-roads of town and gown: to become an engaging place where people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives meet to get out of their comfort zones, collaborate across disciplines, take risks, and use real-time data in ways that revolutionize how we think, create value and shape the future.
It is time to put some weight behind these proclamations by proving rewards for people who help create this culture through their actions. So, I’m devoting about fifteen thousand dollars a year to annual awards to students, faculty, and staff who exhibit excellence in their efforts to engage others, collaborate across disciplines, take intelligent risks, and use real-time data to bring insight to a compelling problem or issue. Some of the awards will recognize classroom interaction, some service to our profession and community, and others to research. Some of the awards will be awarded by students, some by the college’s advisory board, and still others by elements of the faculty. All of the awards are meant to call attention to important contributions to our culture. I hope to announce these awards and recognize the winners at an annual Spring event in late April.
Look for the memo with all the details next week.