“I” vs. “We”

Dear Orange Friends:

It took me a while to learn that a school thrives in large part because of many key folks—people who are not visible to many of those we serve, but who are well known by our faculty and staff because they do essential work well every day.

Jerry Edmonds is one model of such a person at Syracuse University. He has served here for 21 years, and his formal title is Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs. But what he really does is enable this place to get stronger and better.

In just the four years I have been here, I have watched Jerry accomplish the following miracles:

1) Creating, from scratch, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, which helps to ensure we are providing students the best possible academic programs;

2) Launching a new campuswide Learning Outcomes Assessment Program that captures what students are learning, how well they are learning it, and how well it matches their academic goals; and

3) Creating a systematic academic program review process that helps our faculty reflect on the quality of our degree offerings and plan for improvements.

I suspect my colleagues on the faculty and staff could give many other examples. Jerry would not advertise to others what he does for each of us; he just does his job well, and that job is to care about the entire University.

An occupational hazard of being Chancellor here is the tendency to start saying “I” a lot, as in “I accomplished this” and “I raised this money” and “I helped this student.” Lately, when I find myself doing this, I try to remember how many others really got the job done, and I think of Jerry Edmonds. He never says “I”; it is always “We!”



Kent Syverud
Chancellor Kent Syverud