A central tenet of the book Good to Great is "First 'Who' then 'What'." Or put another way, you have to work on the team. Wednesday and Thursday a little more than 50 University of Houston-Downtown leaders (faculty, staff, and students) met to discuss the issues affecting UHD, to discuss their views of leadership, how they might be better leaders, and how all of us might work together for a common purpose--making UHD a better university.
We were fortunate to have a nationally-known higher educational leader serve as our facilitator and guide, Dr. Tom Meredith, who served as president of Western Kentucky University, as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, as state Commissioner of Higher Education for Mississippi, and was Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. He understands higher education and colleges likes ours.
Tom was energetic and a helpful guide to our discussions. He also has a great sense of humor and a patient and calming attitude. He built in exercises to engage participants and kept us on schedule. But, I was most impressed with the attitude and energy of the participants. They worked hard, had many suggestions, and committed to continue to work together to extend the discussions throughout the campus and to lay basis for focus on where we go from here, the 'What' of Good to Great.
We identified barriers that hold back the university, issues that we have to address, and identified some priority areas which we will address in a follow-up retreat.
As we formally summarize the discussions, I will share them with the campus and on this blog. I am pumped.