Information overload. We all feel it, don’t we? It might be the scroll rolling at the bottom of the newscast telling you tidbits of information while the newscasters talk about something completely different. It might be the three different places on the screen projecting information during the football game. It could be the busy little people at the bottom of the screen telling you about a new TV show while you try to watch your current favorite. And then we come to work!--Just how many e-mails are in your inbox?!
This morning, during the meeting of the Student Affairs Council, I was reminded, yet again, how hard it is to keep track of all that is happening at UTSA. Not only are we a big, complex organization, we are an organization in the midst of radical change. The fact is, what we knew yesterday about UTSA may not be accurate today and certainly not the day after tomorrow. We have all experienced meeting someone from San Antonio who is completely unaware that we have over 30,000 students enrolled, or that we have students living on campus, or that we have a museum downtown. And why are we surprised? Keeping up with the changes at UTSA is challenging enough for those of us who work here.
There are two parts to keeping up with it all. First, to do well in our jobs, we have to pay attention to what is going on around us. We have to make sure our information is correct, not just assume that it is; we have to develop ways to learn about the events, programs and services at UTSA. Luckily, there are some simple remedies for the ‘I can’t keep up’ malady. This newsletter is an important source of information for Student Affairs. We should all read all of it when it comes out. UTSA Today is another important daily read. It doesn’t take long, but checking in with UTSA Today each day will go a long way toward keeping up.
The second part to keeping up is realizing we don’t have to know everything about UTSA – we just have to know the people who do. I don’t have to know everything about financial aid because but I know the people to ask. I don’t know everything about Anything, but I have a couple of sources who might be able to answer my questions or point me to someone they know who can. ‘Networking’, it’s called by some. Others call it ‘knowing the right people.’ Connect, we call it Student Affairs.
But to know the right people, to have a useful network, we have to get out and meet people (at least by telephone, preferably in person.) We have to develop relationships. We need to have at least a basic understanding of what other people do in their jobs, which means we need to talk to each other. Oh, my goodness, I think I’ve moved into Communicate! Then we can move from Connecting to Collaborating – in other words we can partner to create new programs, share resources, find ways to be more effective in all we do. When we do that, we Create new opportunities for our students and for ourselves – oh great, something more to know about!