Extra Mile

“Going the extra mile” has had various meanings throughout historical literature.  We currently know it as providing extra service beyond what is expected.  This is part of the heart and spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh that I addressed in my recent blog of the same name.  Last week, I spent eleven hours interviewing potential candidates for several positions on campus.  The conversations often reached a point where candidates asked about the qualities of someone who would be hired.  My first response to this question may surprise you.  I talked about the importance of who the person would be as a colleague and emphasized the value we place on our relationships and ability to work together.  I then expanded this answer to the collegial atmosphere we value on our campus.  One committee member shared that we are like a family, a sentiment shared by a diverse group of people around the table.  This is to say that I would select someone with great character over someone who only has intellectual gifts and talent. Intellect and talent will serve little purpose unless the person possessing them can work well within a community.  Most importantly, caring community members are willing do what it takes to make a positive difference in others’ lives.

Going the extra mile for our students and colleagues is a defining quality at SUNY Plattsburgh.  I shared with more than one candidate our pride for helping our students discover their potential.  I did not voice my belief that this process also helps us discover our own potential as advisors and mentors, but it does.

Under the “Honesty” heading of our shared values we emphasize, Following through with our campus commitments: students, colleagues, college.”  This time of year, the number of commitments we have made result in feeling each step of our extra mile; the soles of our shoes are worn from this semester’s journey.  This is when it is more important than ever to support each other.  This support allows the extra mile to go faster and allows us to continue our growth as we learn how others travel the extra mile well.

I remember a speech by Zig Ziggler where he said, “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”  Our extra mile makes a significant difference in students’ lives, in our colleagues’ lives, and in the fabric of our beloved institution.  This, in turn, makes a difference in our lives.  While there may not be traffic jams on our extra mile, I am very happy that there is plenty of company on the extra mile as we finish this semester.

Photo. thejoesweeney.com 11 May. 2011. 10 Dec. 2012 http://thejoesweeney.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/extra_mile.jpg