From the Desk of Larry Baker,
Dean of the College of Education, Health & Human Development
Sometimes the lessons I need to learn are not planned and preferably not repeated!
For some time, I have known that there were many things I needed to learn in order to serve as Dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development. Obvious things come to mind such as patience, persistence, humility, conflict resolution, human resource management, budgets, institutional practices and the changing faces and names of students, faculty and staff. However, I would have never predicted that learning to crochet would prove to be such an important, unplanned lesson.
Recently a colleague informed me of being diagnosed with cancer. We talked of fears, frustrations, and adjustments that would have to be addressed over the coming year. The humbling conversation of surgery, chemo and possible radiation proved to be an emotional one. As the news of the diagnosis passed to faculty and staff in the college, a group of seasoned crocheters came together during a lunch hour to propose the creation of an afghan as a gift of “love and support” for our colleague. Each member of the group agreed to contribute a 5 inch square to form the afghan. It took very little time for them to assemble the yarn and patterns. On the spur of the moment, I volunteered to contribute a square or two, in spite of the fact that I knew nothing of crocheting. How optimistic and overly confident could I have been?
I received lots of instruction of “how-to” and after many starts, stops, and redoes, I finally leaned a basic stitch. The chain-stitched patterns proved quite challenging. After several weeks a square emerged. Then in a shorter timeframe, a second one was completed. I discovered that a great deal of emotion and reflection could be invested in a 5 inch square of yarn. My contributions were small in comparison to the final project. Yet, the pieces that I had contributed fit comfortably in the pattern. Perhaps the most important reminder was that our efforts were for our colleague where the person is far more important than the professional.
We have begun spring semester 2011. The second decade of this century is here. And I need to remember the importance of each alumni, student, faculty and staff member in the College of EHHD.
Have a great year!