Fall 2012 Convocation Speech
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate
Fall 2012 Speakers
August 22, 2012
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairss
Chair of the Faculty
Associated Students President
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate
Here I am in the Green Center, on the stage of Weill Hall in my $6.99 dress from the Goodwill. I had depression era parents, so I know how to be frugal. This is truly a bucket list moment. I even got to sit in one of the notorious expensive chairs. Susan, did you get the pic for my Facebook page?
This semester we will travel into unknown territory. When doing so we need to go back to basics.
A Common Goal
Being a relatively small campus with fewer than 1,000 employees and 8,200 students allows for the types of relationships that foster success for faculty, staff and administrators. Sonoma's mission is to serve students and prepare them to be learned men and women. This is accomplished through the daily work by Sonoma's highly dedicated employees.
Working together as faculty, staff and administrators, it is our responsibility to educate and nurture our students and to support and assist our fellow employees.
Like many on campus, I am a goal and service oriented employee. There is no question that we are dedicated. After what we have been through the last couple of years and we are still here speaks to what we are about on this campus. We are all doing more with less.
We are here with a group of students that tweet, Facebook, instant message. When they are unhappy they spread their unhappiness globally. The students were very unhappy regarding 12 unit cap in the May and waiting until Aug 6 to get their other 4 units. They were extremely unhappy when PeopleSoft went down. The students do talk to other CSU students and find this is not the case on other campuses. The SSU class of 2016 already has a Facebook page though they joke that it's more likely the class of 2017 or 2018.
As the Math/Stats department is large, I see and hear a lot. We are a group of 30. As a group we provide education and nurturing to over 2000 students each semester. We work as a team with everyone on equal footing including lecturers and staff. We respect and support each other. We designed an office that is inviting and not intimidating. We welcome students to engage with us. We rally together when one of us is in need. We agree to disagree. We believe in this goal and try to practice it. We have 5 past Academic Senate chairs, 5 excellence in teaching award winners, and one staff excellent award recipient. I feel blessed to work in such a wonderful department and to have the job I have.
During the past semesters, Staff has been directed to various Seminars: "Managing Emotions in the Workplace and Excelling Under Pressure", "Current Challenges for CSU: Managing Change During Difficult Times", and my favorite: "Put Fun to Work". HR was trying to prepare us for the changes coming.
One change we were not prepared for was Steve's accident. During those eleven days in June that we hope for the best but prepared for the worst, it was suggested on Steve's Facebook page that we did something Steve like. I carried that into the summer. I enjoy quiet moments. I look at nature in a new light. I take a little extra care with my garden. I ride my bike to work. I try to live simply, like Steve.
Steve was my neighbor, my friend, a colleague and most importantly a role model. I miss him.
This is an excerpt from his eulogy by Reb Irwin Keller:
"But I will admit that there is an important kernel of truth in the idea that everything happens for a reason, a kernel of truth that is especially true in this case. Down the road many or all of us will look back at how Steve influenced us and at how his loss affected us; we will one day see the sharp or subtle turns our lives made as a result; the new work we undertook; the ways we came to relate to the planet; the ways his memory subtly touched on our decisions both big and small, our hobbies, our pastimes, our beliefs, our political actions, even how we get around. We will notice how loving Steve and losing Steve helped form who we are in the world, how we live and how we guide others. We will see that we are different people, better people, because of him. We will look back at the landscape of our lives and we will think aha.
This tragedy did not happen for a reason. But still, it will have meaning. We will, knowingly or unknowingly, take something of Steve forward with us into the future, and we will pass it on to our children and our students and our friends, even if his name is no longer attached to it. The ripples of Steve's life will continue to spread out, and who can say how far."
We need to stop and reflect on our goal and our mission of guiding students and to remember why we are here.
Staff, always remember you are an important part of this campus. We are the people who make things happen behind the scenes. Whether we rustle students, herd faculty, mow lawns, pay the bills, prepare the meals, work the circulation desk, make lattes, paint walls, solve computer problems, clean or repair campus, prepare labs, etc. we are an important part of Team Sonoma.
Words I live by: "To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the respect of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
I believe every good AC is still on the hunt for the elusive other pot of money for their department. I have heard about it, read about it….oops no this is empty. Most importantly, we must have humor during these trying times.
So in closing:
May your strength be forever present, your love forever felt, and your smile forever remembered!