Where We’re Going, There Are No Roads

For the past 6 months I have been co-leading the “Mission Team” in Envisioning Marylhurst, my university’s strategic planning work.  This past Monday all seven teams came together and presented their final 5-year strategic plans and 2-year action plans. The devil is, of course, in the details, spelled out meticulously in the multi-paged documents, complete with prioritized action steps, assigned departments or leaders, and rough cut budgets. It goes without saying that actual implementation is yet to come and will require more energy and work, but in the meantime, here’s a glimpse at what our team presented: Embracing Our Mission

RiskNotTakingRisksCartoonI feel quite fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such great colleagues throughout this process. Every one of our team members was creative, generative, cooperative, respectful, and supportive of the process, and I am grateful for their participation, energy, and care.

I am also so thankful that our team received such thoughtful feedback from so many people as we drafted and re-drafted (and re-drafted again) our plan. Faculty, staff, students, and community members provided us with ideas and good energy to move us forward in our work, and I cannot imagine how our plan could have possibly come together as it did without their input.

Of course I am also immeasurably grateful to the salmon-fishing Sister and our team’s co-leader, Pam Miller. I thank her for her hard work, cooperative nature, reflections, and guidance.  I almost turned her down when she asked me to work with her in leading this team; I am glad that I gave it a second thought.

As this phase culminates, I have come to realize that serving in this role and on this team allowed me to learn so much more about this University — its history, its values, its educational intentions, its “learning” centered-ness, its founders, and now, its future. While the skeptic in me — the realist, perhaps? — is tempted to worry about implementation, about funding, about feasibility, about contingencies and conflicts, for now I leave this process feeling optimistic that by our walking, the roads will be built.

That’s a good feeling to have.

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