Colleagues and friends,
It’s the end of July!
I must admit the last day of July always feels to me like it’s the end of summer. While some of you may still have vacation or weekend getaways planned for the month of August, it always feels like August 1 means students return and the whole shebang starts again.
This time of year also reminds me of all I promised myself I’d get done over the summer; this means two really important things that I’ve been putting off that I need to put some energy into right away.
What does the end of July mean to you? And, are there one or two (or dozens) important things you want to finish before students return? Do you want to join me in renewing the energy needed to finish and establishing a clear deadline for completion?
Below are a couple of things I’ve been thinking about over the course of past few days. As always, I invite your observations.
A thought I can’t get out of my mind
As part of my summer reading list, I am reading “The generosity network: New transformational tools for successful fundraising.” I am about 3/4 of the way through it and recommend it to all–advancement folks and those of you in enrollment and communication, too. While it is principally a book for non-profit fundraisers, I have discovered that it’s really a book about connecting, listening hard, telling stories and building authentic relationships and is applicable to the work we all do in higher education. I will probably reference this excellent book on many occasions in the future, but a thought I have not been able to get out of mind that seems applicable to our work, throughout the division, is the following: “Fundraising is not just about money–it’s about energy, creativity, human connections and joy.”
I think one could replace the word fundraising with “recruiting,” “marketing,” or “communication” and it would be the same theme. When we focus our work on high energy, maximum creativity, making genuine connections, and the all-important measure of joy, we can get a lot done. I recommend the book to all of you whether you work in fundraising or another area of the college.
Three things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)
Why your company needs to hire varsity athletes–This is an excellent article that certainly fits into so much of what we do here. There are some nice tidbits about why student-athletes make great employees and are trainable. There is something is here for those of us involved in recruitment and fundraising and reinforces the high value and impact of varsity athletics, particularly at the D3 level. What is your experience with varsity athletes in the workplace?
The dark spots on the ivory tower–I have a colleague on LinkedIn who posts lots of thought-provoking articles about boards, fundraising and the college presidency. I think this article is applicable to all of us in higher education and the concluding paragraph is particularly pertinent: The author writes, “the skills university leaders need to be successful now are often the same skills traditionally learned at college—complex problem solving, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, cognitive flexibility, people management and collaborating with others among them.” These seem to be the skills all of us need to be successful today. Do you think one of these skills is especially important to your leadership?
3 ways colleges will help tomorrow’s students get jobs–I feel really good about two of these three things. I think we are really good about soft skills and hands-on learning. I don’t feel quite as good about life-long learning. I also wonder if there is a way to be more articulate and transparent about the soft skills development. Maybe the SLOs we have do the job, but there may be more room. What do you think? Are we doing enough of what the author suggests to ensure tomorrows students get jobs?
Somethings for you (and me) to think about
Google Keep–Kyle Ekberg (new athletics gift officer) turned me on to Google Keep last week and I absolutely love it! Google Keep is an app that synchronizes across all the platforms you might use (computer, phone tablet) and allows you to keep notes and save articles to review later. Before Google Keep, I was printing a bunch of stuff and placing it in my “read later” pile of stuff. Now, when I have a couple of minutes of downtime (waiting on a meeting or picking up one of my kids), I can read what I’ve saved and determine if it’s really work saving and sharing. I am a convert from Evernote to Google Keep. Thanks, Kyle!
Social Natives–Finally, please see the attached photo of a really cool infographic about the so-called “Social natives.” Three things really stand out to me: 8 second attention span (scary), about 1/2 are comprised of ethnic minorities (opportunity) and the preference for “real people” to influence social media influence (volunteer engagement).