Action, not Knowledge

The great aim of education isn’t knowledge, it’s action– Herbert Spencer.

We believe this in the College of Business. Two cases in point: Tuesday is our Hall of Fame Induction Celebration. About eight hundred of our alumni, faculty, staff, ambassadors and partners convene at Rosen Shingle Creek to honor three alums (i.e., Shelia Jordon, Terry McNew, and Dawn Olivardia) as well as Dr. Hitt. We honor them not for what they know, but for what they have done in their careers. It’s not a knowledgeable award, or a good grades award, it’s a doer award. And it’s incredibly difficult to get: of our more than 60,000 alums, less than 100 are in our Hall of Fame.

Second: This same thinking goes into our professional development courses. These aren’t read about it courses. These are doing courses. You need to do things that will help your professional development– maybe that’s job shadowing, maybe it’s learning what people do in the EXCHANGE, maybe it’s networking, or mentoring or joining professional associations or going to the internship invitational or sharpening your negotiation skills or competing in the failure competition. You just need to convince Lonny it fits.

Don’t misunderstand, we aren’t telling you that knowledge isn’t important. We are telling you that knowledge is a necessary but insufficient condition for success. Reading about swimming isn’t going to make you a good swimmer. You need to get in the pool and swim– to get really good at swimming you need to do it consistently even on days you’d rather be doing something else. Same thing with your career. You can’t just be engaging in your professional development one semester or on Tuesday, or decide to just read a book about it. This won’t get you very far, let alone into the Hall of Fame. You need to practice, refine and expand your skills everyday. And you need to start now because it’s a cumulative thing.

No one can tell you the precise path to your career success, but they can walk you through a process that will help you actively manage your career and keep you focused on doing the things that will help get you where you want to go. We think this is so important that we give you college credits for doing this and require that you do it consistently over four semesters so it becomes part of your professional DNA. It’s how you get to the one. Whether you seize the opportunity to do it or not is up to you, but I will tell you that the choice you make here is way more revealing to employers about who you are and your potential than those grades you get on multiple choice tests….

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Visit From a Secret Shopper

A few weeks ago, we were visited by a group of deans who were here to see if we really are providing a quality education to our students. The results aren’t official yet, but the team was impressed by our culture of engagement and the many opportunities we provide our students to connect with each other, the faculty, and the community at large. That said, the team’s visit wasn’t very secret and they are all pretty far removed from making a choice about where to go to school.

I try to get insights into how our students see us by hosting lunches with a handful of them each semester. Having lunch with the Dean can be intimidating and most students want to leave me with a good impression, so the conversations tends to be both polite and positive. Every now and then, I gain an insight into a common student struggle or perception, but it’s fairly rare. Besides, they all chose UCF, so we must have done something right….

This week, I have a unique opportunity to see how high school students perceive UCF as my stepdaughter and her friend visit campus. My stepdaughter got accepted a couple of months ago and is choosing between three schools. She’s not likely to be a business student, so in that sense the college is off the hook. Yet, I’m eager to hear about how she perceives the campus–what went right on her visit and what went wrong. Unlike those polite students I meet at lunch, she’ll tell me exactly what she thinks and since she doesn’t share my last name, she will get the typical visit. It will be just one person’s opinion and the diversity in our students’ preparations, expectations, and aspirations undoubtably mean that many students will disagree with her view, but it’s sure to be a learning experience for both of us.

If you have a suggestion on what she should do during her visit to get the best sense of whether UCF is the right place for her to pursue the next chapter in her life, I’d appreciate it if you’d provide it in the comment section below. I’ll pass it on to her. Let’s see if we can make her a UCF Knight.

Flat Dean is Missing

He was last seen at Welcome to the Majors. Some believe he joined a fraternity. Others believe he got a better offer from another school. I suspected Snaith was responsible– he fancies himself the pretty face of the college and doesn’t like the competition–until I found this disturbing photo:

It’s always that seemingly kind, friendly neighbor that you never expect…….

At any rate, he’s missing and no one is claiming responsibility. This is what happens when Tina is not around to keep people in line. It’s a gentle reminder that she alone stands between us and total chaos.

Whoever has Flat Dean, we would appreciate his safe return. No cash reward. Just immunity for the perpetrators.