I want UCF students to get a great education. This is not just about whether they have a solid grasp of statistics, finance, marketing or management. Understanding these topics gets you a good education, not a great one. A great education requires things that transcend a specific course or major.
First there must be some “aha moments”: eye-opening interactions that expand your horizons; presenting you with new possibilities, challenges, and perspectives on the world. Aha moments come from interacting with accomplished faculty, dedicated staff and engaged students who challenge your values and world view while raising your aspirations.
Second, a great education helps students make good choices about their careers and life. It allows students to realistically preview different paths, better understand their interests, strengths, and weaknesses, and helps them develop a realistic plan to achieve their goals. This requires students to get out of their comfort zones, experiment, build relationships with people who are different than themselves and risk failure so that they can succeed.
Finally, a great education gives students the confidence, knowledge and skills to compete with anyone, anywhere, no matter what the competition’s pedigree. This comes from being in a competitive environment that helps students improve their performance through sustained effort combined with strong developmental feedback.
If you got these three things, you got a great education. And a tell-tale sign that someone got a great education is what baseball coaches call swagger. They look for it when players step up to the plate. It is a critical quality in a game where you fail (get out) way more frequently than you succeed (get a hit). Ricky Henderson, perhaps the greatest lead-off hitter of all time was famous for repeating under his breath: “You are the greatest Rickey” every time he stepped into the batter’s box. If he struck out, he could be heard saying on his way back to the dugout: “You’re still the greatest Rickey.” Rickey had swagger and people wanted him on their team.
Knights need swagger too. Be prepared: I am going to be looking to instill some swagger in all of you.