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Email: provost@georgetown.edu

 

The “Team”

Modern universities have evolved far beyond their origins of individual tutors educating individual students. For example, the Federal and local governments have increasingly regulated universities in the US. We have staff that implement those regulations. These include the appropriate distribution of Federal government financial aid to students, the assurance of appropriate admissions criteria, the completion of documentation required for grant proposals, the internal and other audit processes for financial management, the review of appropriate protections for human subjects of research, and the legal review of human resource issues.

In addition, serving the research and common good missions of the university adds complexity. Modern universities depend on highly qualified technical staff for those missions. They provide assistance in running research laboratories, research support services from libraries, and community outreach for common good purposes.

Finally, universities in the US have evolved to providing staff for student services far beyond the educational mission. These include health professionals to provide medical services, professional staff in fitness centers to educate students in physical fitness, professional coaching staffs for athletics, and professionals for social event planning and support.

The staff performing these various duties outnumbers the faculty in a university, but the faculty cannot fully achieve success without them. Students clearly outnumber these staff, but the students wouldn’t have the same quality experience without the staff.

As universities have evolved, the skills required of the staff have become more and more specialized. Whether through formal academic certification or deep professional experience, the non-faculty staff of a modern university provides a set of knowledge rare in the larger labor market.

Universities that take advantage of those skills and build a culture of collaboration among faculty, staff, and students are stronger institutions than those who don’t.

In my short time here at Georgetown, I have met and worked with staff of extraordinary strengths, making the overall enterprise stronger. They rarely are highlighted on the web pages for their accomplishments, but they almost always have supported the accomplishments that are highlighted on the web pages. They can never been thanked enough for their accomplishments.

Georgetown is blessed that these professional staff have deep commitments to the Jesuit and Catholic mission of the institution. I have seen how that mission provides a deeper meaning to these professionals’ lives. While we all have frustrations with our day-to-day lives inside a complex, large institution, it helps to know that one is part of something larger.

Because of the great diversity of activities within a university, we rarely think of ourselves as members of a team. But we are. Realizing our co-dependencies, respecting them, and appreciating them, makes us better.

7 thoughts on “The “Team”

  1. Thank you, Provost Groves, for taking a moment to recognize the contributions of staff University-wide. It is greatly appreciated.

  2. Thank you for recognizing the contributions of staff. There are so many extraordinary people at Georgetown who always have students’ best interests top of mind. It’s indeed nice to know we’re part of a larger, most worthy mission!

  3. Thank you Provost Groves, for highlight the contributions of the staff to the student experience. We may have taken a different career route to get to the university level, but we care just as deeply as the faculty do about our students. We are proud to be part of a bigger purpose and proud to be part of the Georgetown “team.” Thank you for taking the time to recognize us.

  4. I appreciate the recognition of the staff contribution to the overall mission of the university. And indeed, at times, I have questioned how I fit in supporting our students and faculty as a hybrid employee — one without research or scholarship responsibilities, but one heavily invested in student advising, instruction, and mentoring. As a professional in higher education, thank you. In academic discovery, scholars readily acknowledge their achievements in terms of standing on the shoulders of giants; it feels good to be a part of a “team” that likewise recognizes the contributions of others.

  5. I’m catching up on my reading now that the semester is truly winding down, and wanted to echo my colleagues’ sentiments for this post. We administrators do feel such a strong sense of pride in the institution and the work we do with students, but mainly in what the students themselves accomplish while they’re here, and the many ways that they learn, develop and grow. Your acknowledgement that we are all part of “the team” is much appreciated.

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Office of the ProvostBox 571014 650 ICC37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057Phone: (202) 687.6400Fax: (202) 687.5103provost@georgetown.edu

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