UMBC faculty and staff often are asked what makes this place and our students so special. At times the answers do not come easily for there are many things that make this university and its students above par and unique. For me, the answer is simple - we do not allow our students to be either marginal or mediocre - either in their thoughts, words, or deeds.
We are neither willing to lend our students excuses nor crutches of complacency that serve either as barriers or limitations to their potential and eventual success. We refuse to make it easy or fashionable for our students to say and believe either that "I can't, I won't, or I will never."
I encourage all educators and parents to pause a few minutes and just observe your students. You will notice that the students need not move, speak, nor reveal a single thought, and yet, what they love, what they fear, and what is important to them will be evident for all to see. For our children and our students are a reflection of our nation, our states, our schools, and of ourselves.
I have no doubt that all students will come to know and to demand excellence in every aspect of their lives when: Faculty care more than others think is wise; Administrators risk more than others think is safe; Parents expect more than others think practical; and Students dream more than others think possible.
"Hold Fast to Dreams"
Read "(Not) Crossing the Finish Line," published in Inside Higher Ed on September 9, 2009.