A Vision Enlightened by Reflection

November 21, 2019

Michael Gibson

As so many of us tend to emphasize to our students the value of reflecting on their processes, we too might wish to step back and think about all we’ve accomplished (and even failed at) in the past many years, especially as we look forward to the years ahead. 

None of us were here 100 years ago when our institution was established; many of us weren’t even here when our department began several years ago. But each of us can think about where we’ve gone since we have been here. Our department has seen numerous great leaders with clear vision and genuine support for what we do. And that vision and support continue to be manifested through our present leadership. It’s always a joy to work with leaders who not only know where we’ve been but also have great ideas for where we can go.

Each of us can be a part of the strategic plan for our department, which is closely aligned with the university’s plan. The five pillars, Quality of Education, Internationalization, AUC Experience, Institutional Effectiveness, and Innovation, should continuously be at the forefront of our thinking as we prepare for classes, interact in various co-curricular activities, and participate in committee work. Such conscientiousness can drive our intentions in a positive way, keeping us motivated and energized. 

As a Writing Center team leader, I have the privilege to incorporate all of the aforementioned “pillars” in our own vision and plan as a center. We seek out the best tutors from various countries to help graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplines enhance their communication skills whether they visit us in person or submit their written work to the Online Writing Lab. We offer workshops also to help students hone their abilities. And as a center, not only do we seek to meet every objective of the university’s goals, but we also endeavor to share in the mission of the department in which we are housed and the school under which we fall. That is, we encourage and equip student learning, particularly that which pertains to communication, as a lifelong and enjoyable process.

Also, our Publicity Committee is working hard to promote our Minor, which we are grateful to have back in our department. This Writing Minor, containing two tracks (Creative and Academic/Professional) also feeds into the same mission, vision, and goals of our department and school project: preparing great thinkers for the present and the future. If you see students in your classes who you think have promise, please urge them to think about declaring the Minor – a simple addition to their experience that can either complement their majors or offer them an opportunity to grow outside of their field of study. 

So, as we reflect upon where we have been and what we have done, both individually and collectively, may the inspiration we gain from such an exercise inform our thinking and propel us forward to greater achievements. The bottom line will always involve asking the question, “How can we serve our students and one another better?”, but how that can happen through new ideas and innovations conceived must be continuously evaluated and updated.  Let us then fully strive to be the best we can be, offering our students and fellow colleagues the best we have to offer, ever in the spirit of gratitude and appreciation for all we’ve passed through together. May we always be willing to learn from our mistakes and not allow complacency to take over because of our successes. Stay the course. Be willing to change as needed. Keep the learning and teaching always fresh and new, full of vision enlightened by reflection.