A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
Dec 6, 2007 Volume 38 / Number 3

 

Academic Senate Chair

Coloring Outside the Lines

Beverly Ford’s retirement breakfast was held on Nov. 15. If you don’t know who Bev is, then that means, in one sense, you are very lucky: None of your students, staff, or colleagues have had a serious crisis, been involved with drugs and alcohol, faced serious family issues, or needed help using the resources of the campus to help deal with these issues. It may mean that you don’t realize that the superb staff that work on campus get their training in part due to Bev’s efforts as director of the Office of Faculty and Staff Assistance and Work/Life Program, and that is why, most of the time, things go very well in our educational community.

But it does mean that you have missed knowing a wonderful person, and also a historical slice of CSU, Chico that would have let you in on a secret: We don’t always play by the rules; we do color outside of the lines! There are many individuals from all areas of the campus—staff, faculty, and administrators—whose personal commitment to the quality and integrity of our campus community has lead them to challenge an unresponsive or ineffective environment and create a win-win for all of us.

Bev is an example of what I believe lies at the core of the Chico Experience. Bev was a staff member who saw a serious gap in the fabric of our campus environment for employees and dared to solve it. When her boss challenged her daring to go to the president (at that time it was Robin Wilson) about applying for a grant and she didn’t back down, he went with her. President Wilson saw not an upstart staff member, but an innovative idea that had potential benefits for the entire campus. From this, a nationally recognized program was born, and a staff member went on to get her doctorate, be nationally recognized, and still continue to work at CSU, Chico. So many of us have such rich experiences here because someone saw the potential to make CSU, Chico more— more applied, more relevant, more diverse, more community oriented, and more sustainable as a force within this community and the entire state.

For that to continue after Bev and countless others like her have done their part, we have to not rest on the assumption that someone else will step forward. And it takes both staff and faculty willing to take risks and offer innovative solutions and receptive administrators willing to support good new ideas—even if they are a little outside the lines.

You are the one who has the crayon! Just find the line that needs to be altered, and someone else will come stand at your side. It is the Chico way. Goodbye, Bev. I am sure that the campus will be in good hands, because so many have taken such great care to see that we are empowered to make change happen, individually and collectively, for the good of all.

Kathy Kaiser, chair, Academic Senate