November 2021: From Beth Fisher-Yoshida

Dear SPS Faculty,

It is hard to believe I am writing this blog that has November as the date. This year has certainly flown by.

One characteristics of reaching the end of the calendar year is that we have a chance to relax during the holiday period, whichever holidays you celebrate, and reflect on this past year’s accomplishments. Some of us are brave enough to actually compare this reflection against the intentions we set last January. If you exceeded your initial intentions, kudos to you.

Many of us have probably not met all of our intended goals and so we have a couple of ways to process this realization.

  • One way is to think about our emotional attachment to our goals and not having met them. Are we OK rating our effort vs. the actual outcomes?
  • Another is how this influences how we set our new intentions and goals for 2022. What measures can we use toward setting realistic and achievable goals for next year?
  • We often need other resources to support us in achieving our goals? How do we identify those resources and who can we call on for this support?

Another way of framing goals for next year is to think about different levels of goals. Some can be easily achievable and they make us feel good that we were able to bring them to fruition. We can learn from how we set them up, carried them out, and completed them that can be applied to all other goals that we set.

A second category with more of a challenge can be goals that are a stretch to complete. This helps us in our growth process. There should be some aspects of these goals that are within our comfort zone and other aspects that are a little uncomfortable, but stretch us. They should not be so far out there they put us in the panic zone.

The third category is for those very difficult to achieve goals. These are more aspirational than realistic for this period in time. However, we can still learn and build our capacities along the way so that one day they might be attainable, that is, if they are still important to us at that time. It is important for us to create a balance so that we simultaneously feel a sense of accomplishment and a sense of challenge and growth.

This can carry over into how we set goals for our classes and the students in them. Being on the COI has afforded me and other members of the committee the opportunity to see quite a range of goals from multiple classes in all the programs. Setting a range of learning objectives for students to achieve provides them opportunities for success and growth, as well. Please keep this in mind as you look to update your syllabi for next semester and others to follow.

Thank you,