Back in September, I started this new job as a Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Bothell. The first activity in my job was to join the other new faculty for a six day long Faculty Fellows program. The purpose of this program is to help new faculty enter into the important mission of teaching. A mission that most of us have not had much instruction in how to do. The program is run by a set of faculty who have received distinguished teaching awards, and who clearly care about this mission.
It was wonderful to see this emphasis on teaching. And, since then, to see how deeply and authentically this emphasis sustains itself in the academic and administrative community in which I work.
Anyway, the point of this blog entry is that the most memorable aspect of those six days for me was the welcome given by Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs Ed Taylor. He stood there, in front of dozens of new faculty, a man of distinction and power, a man who never envisioned working within the administration, a man who knows so more about this system that we were entering. And he was unbelievably gracious. He welcomed us authentically. With great humility. With a grounded vision of the importance and huge responsibility of the positions we were entering.
My notes from his talk consisted of two words:
What a wonderful aspiration: to be as gracious and humble as he.