I often talk about identity construction and self-definition. That is, an entity, organization or individual can have an identity by default based on the perceptions of others or can construct its own identity by taking proactive steps of self-definition.
The person who had the most direct effect on the construction of my identity as an educational leader was the late UC Berkeley Chancellor Dr. Chang-Lin Tien, whom I reported to during my tenure there. What I learned from Chancellor Tien was to always strive for excellence. He said, “Excellence is achieved by decisions that are made on a daily basis.” At CSU Bakersfield, we have adopted this vision of excellence in everything we do — it was written into our vision statement after I arrived on campus in 2004.
But excellence is more than just a sentiment or set of objectives. While it is important to talk about what we plan to do, it is more important to show evidence of what we have done to date. As I reflect on our progress, I am compelled to look beyond our well-stated vision and ask this question: Are we walking the talk? That is, are we doing those things that must be done to achieve our vision of excellence?
There is no question that we have accomplished a great deal and have done outstanding work at CSUB, especially when you consider the extremely trying budgetary times we have endured in recent years. Some of our achievements are well documented. Others remain only in the memory of those who worked hard to advance particular initiatives.
As we moved forward with our campus theme this year of “Walking the Talk, From Vision to Evidence of CSUB Excellence,” we focused on showing evidence of excellence and documenting our progress.
We have developed an excellent framework to move us forward in this regard. This framework is outlined at csub.edu/strategicplan and delineates appropriate metrics, benchmarks and related criteria for each of CSUB’s strategic goals and objectives.
As always, I invite your comments and suggestions about how we can extend the excellence of CSUB. Please let us know if you believe we are “walking the talk” by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Horace Mitchell, Ph.D.
Horace Mitchell, Ph.D.
California State University, Bakersfield
Phone: (661) 654-2241
Dr. Horace Mitchell became the fourth President of California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) in July 2004 after 36 years of experience in higher education.
Under Dr. Mitchell’s leadership, the University has experienced a period of rapid development, with a vision to extend the excellence and diversity of the faculty and academic programs, enhance the quality of the student experience, and strengthen community engagement.