This has two meanings:
- The community within: those of us who study and work at Winona State.
- The community without: those whom we serve in the community and across the state through partnerships, service learning, volunteerism, and so on.
Let’s talk about the Community Within. We need to seek a common understanding of our purpose and direction. This will help us continue our leadership role. How do we do that? How do we promote the best possible community within? Here’s how I believe we do that:
- Sharing Governance – the best ideas are out there, not in here. Together we will find them. I’ve only had three really great ideas ever and one of them was to marry Kelley and another was to move here.
- Promoting Transparency – we owe it to each other to be open and honest.
- Embracing Dissent – I believe in the utility of the Hegelian dialectic: truth is revealed through the encounter of different diverse perspectives that synthesize. Disagreement is not just okay … disagreement is essential! According to the research of Charlan Nemeth at UC Berkeley, creativity is enhanced by debate and disagreement.
- Honoring civility, even amidst dissent — it’s okay to challenge ideas, but it’s not okay to attack people. No ad hominem attacks, please. This is not easy but we HAVE to get this right!
- Valuing Diversity – this is a challenge for us, something the HLC recognized as a weakness. If we believe in the marketplace of ideas and believe in dissent and debate, then we need to have different voices and perspectives around us. In addition to a strong moral component, diversity has a strong practical component.
 Nemeth, C. (2012). Creative problem solving: Outsiders, dissenters, heroes and rogues. Unpublished presentation at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Summer Meeting, Santa Fe, NM.