It’s one of those weeks! Too much happening to be able to choose what to write about, which results in too little time to sit down and write about it all. But that’s what happens in the month of Augustseptember. I know those are two months, but the last two weeks of August and the first three weeks of September are really their own season, aren’t they? So much to do and only bits of space and time to do it all.
But it’s a good problem to have because, except for a few situations, all of the ‘stuff’ that’s happening is good – actually it’s great! From the start of Move-In Day through the very loud and Rowdy inaugural football game, this year’s opening weeks have been energetic, positive and fun. Students are showing up in record numbers starting with Late Night at the Rec (7,200+ more than double last year’s attendance) to the Roadrunner Connections Mentor Program from the Office of Inclusion and Community Engagement (70 student participants compared to 4 last year). While enrollment is up some, that’s not the reason for the increases. UTSA students are engaged!
Now, as we begin to get past all of the opening events and into the routines of the semester, it’s worth remembering two things. First, for all the fun and excitement of the beginning, all of this is really directed toward the ending – graduates who have had a great educational experience inside and outside of the classroom. In Student Affairs Council this morning, we started the work on the first part of our next 5-year strategic plan – developing ways to articulate the outcomes students should experience from the work we do with and for them. This will help us know more clearly how we are (or are not) contributing to their education and progress to graduation. We’ve always been asked about the value of the work we do and more and more we will be expected to demonstrate that value.
Second, the first weeks are full of long workdays, but we want, and need, everyone to be able to sustain their energy for the rest of the year. Remember to take care of yourself and support your colleagues as you take care of and support all of our students. The work we do can be great fun, but it is also physically and mentally draining.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone! It takes everyone doing their parts and doing them well to make the opening of the academic year go as smoothly as it did this year. Well done and have a great Fall 2011!
Best wishes, Gage
*Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll