Monday Moments with President Bergman: October 21, 2019

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on October 21st, 2019 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been grateful for sunny days, blue skies, and the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful fall colors of the Minnesota River valley. It is clear that the seasons are changing, and there is a certain crispness in the air that is the harbinger of the next season and the signal to dig out heavier coats, hats, and gloves.

The changing of the seasons is an ever-present reminder of the fact that change is a part of life, a part of our community and a part of our world. We live with change every day, and we have all heard phrases like “change is inevitable” or “constant change is the new normal” or “be the change you want to see in the world.” The truth is that change is all around us, all the time. Sometimes we welcome it; sometimes we tolerate it; and sometimes we simply don’t like it at all.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with several reporters from the New York Times, along with about 24 other college and university presidents from private institutions that are similar to Gustavus. The discussion centered around the current and future state of higher education, and the reporters were interested to hear about topics and issues that are on the minds of presidents. Questions and discussion included topics like immigration, shifting demographics, the cost of higher education, mental health, and the competitive environment related to admission and enrollment. It was clear that the most interesting topics to the reporters were areas where change is happening, and happening fast.
Higher education is changing. And society is changing, too. In order to thrive, we must anticipate change and be proactive in responding to our changing environment. That is a tall order, and, at times, it can seem difficult. Here is the good news…  Organizations that have a strong mission, values, and vision, coupled with a vibrant and strong community, are positioned to innovate and successfully navigate change. Organizations that focus on their strategic plan as a guide to set priorities and make decisions are able to tackle tough issues and achieve positive results. Organizations that are student-centered constantly ask how we can best help our students to be successful in college and in life. We are doing all of these things at Gustavus.
Change is necessary. Change is good. And when we move forward together, change can even be fun!
Let’s keep the momentum going. Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties.
With respect,


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