When purpose and passion come together, bridges form to horizons that were never seen.  

In the opening EHHS Divisional meeting, I spoke about the importance of working between departments and programs to provide the best education possible for our students (e.g., students in education, counseling, nursing, speech-language pathology, and education leadership all work together in public schools but may not fully understand how they need to work together).  Today, I am expanding my message to emphasize the importance of collaborating across divisions and campuses. 

I recently participated in a meeting with two members of the Education, Health, and Human Services (EHHS) Division and four members of the School of Business and Economics Division.  The purpose of the meeting was to talk about developing a new certificate program that would combine courses from both divisions; no additional resources will be needed. Purpose and passion were in the room as ideas were discussed in an atmosphere of collaboration and trust.  Next steps were planned and a date was set for another meeting to continue building the bridge.

Bridges have been built in the past connecting the EHHS and Arts and Science Divisions.  There are clear examples of this in many of our departments with cognate requirements.  The biggest bridges exist for education students who complete concentrations (each of the ten concentrations consisting of no less than 30 A&S credits) that are approved by The State Education Department (SED).  Some of these bridges connecting cross-divisional departments/programs need to be redesigned and rebuilt due to recent changes in SED mandates.  New ideas and positive energy are found in these meetings, something experienced recently in a meeting I attended with a faculty member from the English Department, a faculty member from the Education Unit, and the Dean of the Branch Campus where improving students’ writing was the focus.    

Margaret Wheatley said, “…the critical task for a leader is to increase the number, variety, and strength of connections within the system.” Each of us has a responsibility for strengthening connections.  Improving communication where there are existing connections is just as important as developing new connections.  There are many necessary and creative ways in which connections need to be increased so we can move thoughtfully into our future.  In the present moment, it may seem like it will take more energy, but this is a process that actually gives energy by deepening our purpose and passion.