I know it’s a cliche to start a blog post with an inspiration quote from a famous person, but I’d like to turn to Maya Angelou now that I’ve wrapped up my tenth (give or take) facilitation for the IUP Strategic Visioning Project:
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
It was during a group interview with the directors and vice president for the division of Enrollment Management and Communications that this hit me: it’s fantastic to hear the same strengths, opportunities and distinctive qualities of IUP listed again and again because it means we’re all playing on the same team. We all get it. Sure, we may feel separated from each other by departments or colleges or divisions, but we’re actually not that different. We see share goals and hopes for educating tomorrow’s leaders, thinkers and innovators. None of us would be here if we didn’t.
And the best part is: it’s actually true. The common patterns and themes that everyone keeps bringing up in these interviews are not just keywords developed by higher-ups and slapped on a web page. They’re things that everyone experiences at this university at some capacity, whether they’re as student or a parent or a faculty member or an administrator. It’s so easy to nitpick and get caught up in what we’re doing wrong that we forget to tell the stories of what we’re doing right. This is what public relations work is supposed to do–tell the truth about our good work.
I don’t think I can comment on the common phrases and patterns that we’re hearing just yet, but I hope anybody reading this will understand that this is genuine excitement about a common vision. Hearing the same things from so many people tells me that when a final mission and vision for IUP is approved, it’s going to fit us just right.
— Emily Weber