Living our Core Values – Inclusivity

Roger Dusing continues our series on Living Our Core Values with a look at INCLUSIVITY.

Visit our archives to read other posts in the series – on ACCOUNTABILITY, CIVILITY and RESPECT, EXCELLENCE and GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP.


We embrace INCLUSIVITY that fosters diversity, teamwork, and collaboration

In 1995, BJ Gallagher first published A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. This business fable told the story of a peacock who went to work for a company filled with penguins. The penguins felt the peacock was too colorful and did not fit in. They discounted his ideas and suggestions. But, when the polar bears attacked, the peacock’s new perspectives on the problems saved the day. (I hope I didn’t just ruin the book for you.)

The story is simple, yet the message is profound. If we are all alike, then we think alike and solve problems alike, and probably reach similar conclusions. That makes for a very comfortable environment, but not one that prepares us for the challenges that lie ahead. Park University needs creative solutions to complicated problems. We need a variety of perspectives and opinions. To get that, we need an inclusive workforce – one where those who bring new perspectives and ideas are welcomed and allowed to thrive.

Some organizations call this diversity rather than inclusivity. Here is how I see the difference. Diversity is a measurement – an external evaluation. Inclusivity is an action. We can act in an inclusive manner, and if we do, our actions will result in diversity.

When we behave in an inclusive fashion, we also foster teamwork and collaboration. The act of opening ourselves to other views and opinions encourages us work together. When we collaborate, we find synergy. Stephen Covey says that too many groups embrace the principles of compromise. It sounds easy. We each give up something that we want, so we can get agreement on something else. The problem is that if everybody compromises, nobody gets what they wanted, and the solution is dissatisfying to all. Covey instead suggests synergy. Synergy means that we all work together, collaboratively and inclusively, to reach a unique solution that is better than what was being proposed by any one party.

In addition, collaboration and teamwork foster a shared sense of accountability. When we work together with synergy, we become reliant on each other so we naturally come to expect others to perform. That expectation then translates to a sense of accountability to others and ourselves. If we are not successful, then the team fails and in an inclusive environment, we all work to make sure that does not happen.

Park University values inclusivity. We want people to welcome each other with open arms, and open minds. We want a diversity of thoughts, opinions, backgrounds, and perspectives. We want ideas collaboratively shared, nurtured, and developed. Another word for this idea is collegiality, and where better to experience a collegial environment, than a 140-year-old college founded on Fides et Labor?

 

Protect Federal Student Aid

A note from Park University President David Fowler:

Your immediate help is needed to protect federal student aid for current and future Park University students.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are expected to vote this week on 2016 budget resolutions calling for damaging cuts to the Pell Grant and student loan programs totaling $150 billion over 10 years.

Call or e-mail your senators and representative today and urge them to support financially deserving Park University students by rejecting proposed cuts to the Pell Grant and student loan programs contained within the FY 2016 budget resolution.

What You Can Do
Let your senators and representative know that:

  • In a March 2 Wall Street Journal article, Park University was mentioned as being one of the top 10 private colleges in the country for return on investment.   Park has also instituted a 2015-16 tuition freeze for returning students.  Park is doing its part to make college affordable for deserving students.  It’s time for the Senate and the House to do their part!
  • This proposal will make damaging changes to the core federal student aid programs that help more than 7,500 students attend Park University each year.  Approximately one of every two Park students would be impacted.
  • A vote for this budget is a vote to make college more expensive by freezing Pell Grants for the next decade and increasing student loan costs on a program already profitable for the federal government.
  • Freezing the Pell Grant at $5,775 for the next 10 years will force low-income students to borrow more, or to forego college because of the gap in their financing.
  • The federal government is already making $15 billion annually on student loans, and now wants to make an additional $40 billion by charging low-income students interest while they are in college.

We will keep you informed about this and other related legislation impacting the ability for students to attend the university of their choice.  Thank you for your help.

Making Summer Plans

Yes, we know it’s just the first week back from Spring Break, but it’s never too early to start planning for summer. Have a general education class that you want to knock out? Want to explore adding a minor to your degree plan? New student looking to lock in tuition rates through 2015-16? The Buccaneer Summer Sessions are the way to go. Our short-session options help you take care of all of the coursework from a traditional 16-week class in as little as two weeks!

Highlighting the Maymester (May 9-22) lineup is a class on natural disasters, that will take you beyond the traditional examination of life or economic loss and into their broader effect on human culture and population distribution.

During Junemester (June 6-July 1) you can embark on the journey toward a leadership minor. Learn about ethical leadership, group dynamics, servant leadership and leading change in communities, and explore your own potential as a leader.

Wrap it up during Julymester (July 11-August 5) with a look at the social processes and structures of society in Introduction to Sociology.

Of course, these are just a select few of the courses offered over the summer, and there’s also the option of taking a more “relaxed” accelerated approach with our 8-week summer term. Check out your options at park.edu and enroll today!

Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary Through Pictures

We continue our celebration of Park University’s 140th anniversary through pictures with a look at Mackay Hall. Below is a photo from the early construction of the iconic building, with a number of students throughout the scene, working in true Park fashion. Construction on the building took place over a period of seven years, completed in 1893. It is currently home to administrative offices as well as classrooms and offices for the Park University School of Business and Department of Political Science, but Mackay has undergone a number of renovations in the ensuing years.

Although the interior has undergone the majority of the changes – the basement originally housed scientific laboratories while the third floor was home to four literary society halls – the exterior has seen a few changes as well. Thermal windows were added in 1994, and in 2002 the roof was completely redone with an eye to historical accuracy. The slate shingles were removed, the roof completely resheathed, and the metal trim was refinished. The finishing touches included re-shingling the roof with slate and rebuilding the facade of the clock tower.

As Park University Archivist Carolyn Elwess described, Park University and Mackay Hall are inseparable.

It is impossible to imagine the Park University campus without Mackay Hall. It is the heart and soul of the school and stands as a tribute to the strength, perseverance and faith of those who envisioned and built its walls and towers. The story of its construction should serve as an inspiration to all who work and study here, both now and in the future.

A Tale of Endurance:
The Story of Mackay Hall

Friday marks the 122nd anniversary of the opening of Mackay Hall, but that is not the only reason we are sharing this photo. This week, we began a renovation of the clock tower that sits atop Mackay Hall. Scheduled for completion in May 2015, this project is funded entirely through private donations.

This renovation project is one of the first launched through our Club 1000 giving society. Donations to Club 1000 are used at the discretion of the President to support a wide variety of initiatives that help advance Park University. We are thankful for the help of our 39 current Club 1000 members and we are excited to see Park continue to innovate and thrive through the next 140 years!

A photo of the early construction of Mackay Hall. Although professional masons were employed for the construction of the walls, students quarried and transported the limestone.

A photo of the early construction of Mackay Hall. Although professional masons were employed for the construction of the walls, students quarried and transported the limestone.