Monday was my first day back to work after a long holiday break.  Thankfully I was able to relax and recharge over break because the first week back was a doozy.  We had two back to back university wide events this week.

I answered emails during break so luckily Monday was more of a regroup day for me, so many of my co-workers were up to their eyeballs in email responses.   I caught up with most of my immediate co-workers about their holidays and got ready for the two events of the week.   Our first event was a day long, university wide training day.  We had 38 different classes, plus a morning address and a lunchtime keynote speaker.  This was our third year offering a professional development day and I have to say, it was our best one yet.   I am really proud of the work the committee did, it will be hard to top it next year, but we are going to give it a try!

Thursday we had our State of the University Address with our current president and then a hot breakfast for all employees.  It was the perfect morning, our president recapped 2015 and let us know what to expect in 2016, then we all headed to our newly renovated cafeteria for breakfast.  I was able to catch up with all sorts of folks, ask about their holidays, and reconnect.  It was really lovely and I am so glad we do this twice a year.  Just faculty and staff, the students aren’t back yet, it gives us an opportunity to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and talk.

The spring semester is so much busier than fall, we jam so many events into 15 weeks that it is truly becoming a blur…that is why days like Thursday are so important, it gives us a chance to slow down, reconnect, and actually TALK to our peers.

2016 is going to be a year of massive change at our University.  Hopefully by the end of 2016 we will have a permanent President and Provost and we will have passed our accreditation with flying colors.  We have big plans for the campus, new buildings, tons of renovations, and program changes.  It is an exciting time but also a little scary.  I am really glad our current President understands the importance of communication, she understands how important it is to work as a team, and how very important it is to let your employees know they are valued.  To me, that was what Thursday was about, we matter, we are the heart of the University, and in the end, it is the people and the connections between those people that matter most.

I have been seeing a lot of posts, in blogs, on social media, etc., about choosing a word for 2016 – one word to describe the year ahead – for me, that word is change.  It isn’t one I am completely comfortable with, change always makes me a little uneasy, but I know that is it necessary and the right path forward.  What would you choose as your word for 2016?

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