Things to Know – Wednesday, March 1, 2017

1.     Did you know 78% of Americans Think Incivility and Political Dysfunction Prevent Our Nation from Moving Forward?

This morning, I am deeply concerned as I work through some of the issues at Southwestern College. The emails and communications that lack respect and that are just “mean spirited” take away from the type of collegial environment that is a foundation for supporting students. It is extremely troubling to read and witness some of the disrespectful behaviors.  SWC adopted Institutional Values that include some key components of my beliefs:

  • Mutual respect
  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Cultural competence and commonality – positively engage our College community in developing a deep appreciation of and collegiality among all cultures

When I applied for the job as your leader, I was particularly engaged with your commitment to commonality. Your diverse screening committee reflected the adopted values, which engaged me, and made me want to come to SWC. It saddens me to see actions that are inconsistent with the above values.

In trying to find the words to discuss the importance of respectful civil discourse, I want to share with you what Chancellor Block noted to the UCLA community because I can’t say it any better today:

…just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive.

Political speech that stigmatizes or casts aspersions on individuals or particular groups does not promote healthy debate but debases it by trying to intimidate individuals and groups. It does not strengthen the bonds of mutual respect and engagement that sustain a diverse community able to manage differences; it weakens them. If we shut out perspectives, if we silence voices, if we allow innuendo to substitute for reasoned exchange of ideas, if we listen only to those who already share our assumptions, truth gets lost, our intellectual climate is impoverished and our community is diminished. 

I would submit to you that “mean spirited” speech does the same thing as Chancellor Block notes above. We can speak our truth in respectful ways and be far more effective.

Most of you who are starting to know me, know I am a pretty positive and upbeat person, so for me to share this with you means I am saddened, and as the college president will work to find a way to ensure we are living up to our values and our Institutional Code of Professional Ethics (Board Policy 3050)

Respect the personal values, beliefs and behaviors of others and reflect this in all interactions with colleagues, students, and the public;

Ok I am done with my reflection for this morning…thank you for indulging me.

2.     Did you know that Stanford University has a Center dedicated to Poverty and Inequality? There is short talk on the website regarding the Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck. The Growth Mindset is “When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.”

Carol Dweck’s Utube:

This Center on Poverty and Inequality website is a wealth of information and there is a course on Poverty and Inequality…I took this course last summer and it is worth the time.

3.        Our SWC students are amazing. We had a great turnout of students at our Governing Board workshop on Facilities Planning last evening.

Mirella Lopez, the Southwestern College Sun editor-in-chief wrote an opinion that was published in the San Diego Union Tribune.

And one important thank you…to Collete Ojeda and Rene Aguilar with the Campus Police Department for this wonderful idea and for bringing it to our attention. Their love for Southwestern College will help bring more pride and unity throughout the campus community.