As I begin the new academic year, I am excited by the prospects for serving students and their future employers better and better as we continuously assess our strengths and weaknesses, analyze the changing requirements and opportunities in the marketplace and focus our resources for maximum impact. At this time last year we were preparing for our five-year AACSB accreditation maintenance review which I am pleased to say went very well. One thing that the Visiting Committee pointed out was Lubin’s exemplary Assessment of Learning process. In a nutshell, the critical point is that we not only assess how our students are cultivating their skills, knowledge and critical thinking but that we loop back to the curriculum and implement modifications and enhancements to address any relative weaknesses that have been identified. We are engaged as an institution in continuous improvement.
Inspired by this recognition, we are dedicating even more resources to the assessment and improvement process. We provide specific feedback to faculty based on the assessment and offer stipends to incentivize incremental focus and innovation in the curriculum to address the needs of students. We are also in the process of funding and organizing extracurricular resources to enhance our students’ critical skills beginning with communication.
Continuous improvement is integral to an organization’s competitive strength and well-being. Those that are satisfied with the status quo are ultimately surpassed by those that are not…it’s a well-documented lesson both by those businesses and institutions which have been able to maintain their leadership by consistently challenging the status quo and by those complacent historical leaders who have succumbed to competitors. At General Electric (which owned NBC when I worked there), processes have been institutionalized to regularly assess the performance of personnel, the allocation of time and resources, and the quality of products and services; the most important aspect of the GE process is that, following each assessment, specific actions are implemented to improve upon each dimension of every one of its businesses. GE is consistently a leader in each industry in which it competes or it finds a way to exit a business if it is not.
Similarly, people who are actively working on becoming the best they can be have a competitive advantage. They are not defensive about what they are not; they are committed to improving themselves professionally and personally; self-improvement becomes part of their DNA. It is my experience that the most competent people are often the most aware of how much more they have to learn and that combination of traits is powerfully attractive to employers, partners and colleagues. I hope that our students will embrace the idea that, regardless of where they stand relative to their peers today, they have limitless possibilities if they adopt a personal philosophy of continuous improvement.
Last year I guest lectured in a Masters level class in Human Resource Management and I was asked if I had any regrets about my career; I do wish that I could have performed each of my roles as the person I am today. A lifetime of professional and personal lessons learned has helped me to become a better version of me than when I was 30, 40 or 50. The fun of starting a new academic year is the opportunity to apply the latest lessons learned and undoubtedly discover what I…and Lubin…need to work on next.