I’ll keep this brief. When you spend some time in your life blogging, you quickly become aware that outside perceptions often paint you as being completely self-absorbed, and add to this that you don’t do any work because you spend all of your time whining on the web. I have the hate comments to prove it; unfortunately, I can’t share them, as they all go right to the trash largely unread. I mean, it’s not like I get paid to be up in this joint.
So let me be positive today.
Yesterday was our convocation at UWGB, and I was humbled to receive one-half of a Founders Award for Collaboration (the Founders Awards on our campus are a big deal). Let me assure you that I am the least accomplished person in the above photo. On the right, in the sweet leather jacket, is my collaborator Caroline Boswell. She is a top-shelf historian, tireless worker, and all-around genius. Behind her is Denise Bartell, who I’ve watched for years almost single handedly dig into student retention and achievement issues. On the other side of me is Amanda Wildenberg, a staff member, who pretty much helps everyone in a fifty-mile radius. If you want to read about everyone pictured, here’s the skinny. I could go on. UW-Green Bay is a special place, and I’m sure everyone else out there in the system who might read this can say the same thing about their campus, some program, some tradition. In all cases, it is the people who make the difference. The UW’s most valuable resources are its human resources. The linguistic tide of neoliberalism and austerity would like to flex, efficiency, and nimble pivot your brain into thinking differently, but we all know it. That’s why we’re the UW. This is why I spend my time blogging, writing what I do—not to navel gaze, not for sympathy, and not to whine—I do it to represent.
And let me say this: It has been more than a surprise that this blog has picked up a readership. Bizarre. And while I feel compelled to blog for many reasons—one being that it helps prepare me to teach students about new media—this doesn’t take up much of my life. I work hard. I work a lot. And I’m also good at my job. I better be by now. The majority of UW employees should feel the same way about themselves. Even so, I have light years to go to match the efforts of some of the people pictured above. The UW is its people, whether they be students, staff, faculty, alumni, etc. When a state, via its legislature, deliberately tries to assault people who are so good—in deed and in intention—you have to speak out.
Anyway, our Convocation, even in these tough times, felt really hopeful. This is the 50th anniversary of the founding of UWGB, and we’re excited about that. We have new hires to meet and welcome. Our deans and provost and chancellor all spoke with great hope, endurance, and vision yesterday. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I can be slightly cynical. I felt good yesterday. When our chancellor, Gary Miller, listed the recent successes of our campus, of which there are many, I could only wonder how more people don’t know these things about all of our campuses. Efficiency does not mean doing more with less; efficiency means calibrating the appropriate support to produce the greatest results.
The new year starts. I hope anyone who reads this, especially employees of UW campuses, persevere and flourish this year. Let us not forget what we must do to restore the things that have been lost. And let’s remember and address those things through the work we do. I know that I’ll be focusing, as I always do, much more on my work as an avenue for changing perception than I will be on any blog posts I might write.
All the best to you of the UW.