Can you change the culture? Certainly. Should the culture be changed? Possibly, but at what cost?
Could my school raise $12.5M in a capital campaign? Of course but we would have to forego everything that makes us unique. Here, we’re very grassroots. Many in our community value the process as much as the product. If we focus on the type of car our parents drive as opposed to their level of commitment to their children’s cognitive development, we will water down not only our culture but also our identity. I’m proud to be at an institution that is always reaching to be better but not to conform to a materialistic society. I like that fact that changing the world for the better through passion is our primary goal and the money that comes along with it is secondary.
Would I love to say I raised $3.5M in a year? Definitely. Is it worth me reducing education to a mere fundraising objective? That may work other places. Not here.
Whether we’re talking dress or objectives, one’s ability to adapt to a culture requires discernment, humility, and adjusting expectations. Org. A and Org. B are never going to be exactly alike, but Org. A and Org. M are going to differ grossly and you shouldn’t work to make Org. M like Org. A. The thing is, we associate A with better than M, when, in actuality, M is just unique in its own right and serves a different constituency than Org. A. UNC and Durham Tech are on different levels but both have provided degrees to folks who have changed the face of my community. Don’t try to make Durham Tech UNC because, in doing so , you lose the greatness in Durham Tech that is often overlooked.
Make professional development a priority.