Robert K. Greenleaf developed the idea of servant leadership in part after reading a story by Herman Hesse. In the story, "Journey to the East," which Greenleaf uses as a parable, an expedition through the Himalayas fell apart after the servant, Leo, left the group. It turned out that Leo, who in fact held an exalted position of leadership outside the expeditionary group, had been the glue that held everything all together. When he left, the group fell into discord and disarray.
I thought about this idea after attending a dance competition last week. During the competition, I helped people know what was going on around them, kept track of which people should be on the dance floor and what came next. In this way I helped people accomplish their goals in relationship to the competition. I intentionally took on that role in the ballroom in an effort to help our teacher manage a very difficult competition schedule because I had more competition experience than the other two dancers in our group, and I was scheduled to dance the least number of dances. (Besides, while my Green* may be first, I'm also a strong Gold* so I can't stop myself from paying attention to that sort of thing.)
But what would have happened if I hadn't done that? One possibility is confusion, missed heats, upset people and the 'expedition' falls apart. But, it is also quite likely that the group would have done just fine without me.
Greenleaf says servant leadership is acting "to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served." So, if there was a good likelihood that the second possibility could have happened, did I serve their highest needs or did I get in the way of their learning and growth? If I hadn't taken on those tasks would they have in fact learned something and been more successful next time? In Hesse's story, did Leo's servant role create the very situation which led to the failure of the expedition?
In the academic world we recognize the power of learning from failure and mistakes, which means sometimes we have to stand by and watch a program fail even though we could save it. Sometimes we have to let a group struggle even when we know the answer they are seeking.
Servant leadership is not waiting on others, making their lives easier or saving people from the consequences of their mistakes. Rather it is a very complex way of interacting with others and working within an organization. The concept of servant leadership is challenging and complicated and leads to paradoxes like those expressed above. I think we should always be asking if our actions and words will help or hurt a situation, but servant leadership calls us to ask whether or not I am serving people's higher order needs. That is a much more difficult question.
In my situation I think most of my choices were appropriate and helpful and we were working on relatively low level goalsan enjoyable experienceand we all achieved that. Also, now everyone has a better idea of what it takes to manage a large competition. And yet, even in this comparatively simple situation, there were times the group or an individual might have been better served if I had done nothing.
We need to ask the hard questions to serve another's highest priority needs - when do we serve, when do we lead, when do we rescue and when to we let failure happen? There is no simple solution to these questions and, of course, the answer depends on the many variables of each specific situation. But to be effective servant leaders, to serve the highest order needs of our students, our colleagues and our university, I think we need to always be asking each other and ourselves those difficult questions. We won't get it right every time, but we won't ever get it right if we don't ask.
* True Colors® personality characteristic terms
Leader Summit is seeking educational session proposals for the 2009 conference to be held on Saturday, September 19th from 8:15 AM until 4:15 PM in the UTSA University Center. The theme of this conference will explore the 4 C’s of leadership: Communicating, Connecting, Collaborating and Creating!
What is Leader Summit?
Leader Summit is an all day leadership conference for student leaders at UTSA. Last year over 150 individuals participated. Leader Summit's purpose is to:
• Provide participants INTERACTIVE opportunities to learn how to be effective leaders
• Provide participants INTERACTIVE opportunities to learn practical leadership skills
• Invigorate our organization leaders as they begin a new academic year
• Strengthen the connection between our student organization leaders, the Student Activities office, and the UTSA Community
• Complete the Educational Session Proposal Form by August 21, 2009
• Submit the form to John Montoya (John.Montoya@utsa.edu)
Call for proposals (Microsoft Word)
All UTSA departments looking to hire fall work-studies are invited to participate in the University Career Center's Fall 2009 Work-Study Job Fair taking place on Thursday, August 27 in UCII-2nd Floor from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Registration is FREE and includes one table with two chairs, a department sign and access to the University Career Center's interview rooms. Please log into the Jobbank at https://myinterfase.com/UTSA/employer/ to register. Once you have logged in, click on "Career Events" and select "Fall 2009 Work-Study Job Fair" from the list. If you have any questions about the fair, contact Leslie Bagnoche at 458-4588 or Tiana Terry at 458-4769.
PDF to print and post
The UTSA team is forming for the Rock and Roll Marathon, November 15, 2009. Sign up and join the team.
For more information, contact Gina English at xt. 6751, Environmental Health Safety and Risk Management
Rowdy New U Wellness Program
PDF to print and post
Valero Volunteer University, a partnership in service between UTSA and Valero employees, recently wrapped up a second successful year. 123 students participated this year and contributed 1040 hours of volunteer work to a variety of events and causes with Valero employee. At the end of the year, two students and one organization were awarded for their service.
The winners are:
Rachel Delucia - $1,200 scholarship
Casandra Minjarez - $800 scholarship
VOICES (Sponsored Student Organization) - $500 towards a future project or event
Gus Villarreal, coordinator of the program at Valero at UTSA alum, said, "We're thrilled and fortunate to have such a dedicated group of UTSA volunteers giving back to their community. UTSA students are definitely committed to academic excellence and civic-mindedness."
The Valero Volunteer University will begin its third year this fall. For more information, visit www.valerovolunteeruniversity.org or contact Jennifer Lilly at 458-4770 or in UC 1.216.
Four Student Government Officers and a Student Government Senator attended the National Association for Campus Activities Student Government Institute in Seattle, Washington last week. The Institute is one of two national institutes specifically for Student Government held each summer. This is the fifth year that UTSA has participated in the event.
Matt DeLeon, SGA President and Senior Political Science major from Houston, Derek Trimm, SGA Vice President and Junior Business major from Houston, Chris Kuta, SGA Treasurer and History major from Austin, Josh Bart, SGA Secretary and Junior Political Science major from Dallas, and Brent Ward, SGA Senator and Junior Political Science major from Los Angeles, California, attended the event with Dr. Barry McKinney, SGA Co-Advisor and Director of Student Activities. McKinney also served on the staff and facilitated several sessions at the Institute.
The Institute was held on the campus of the University of Washington-Seattle, and covered several topics for Student Governments such as Town-Gown Relations, Public Relations, Sustainability, Ethics, Parliamentary Procedure, and the FISH Philosophy. It was especially interesting to learn about the FISH Philosophy and then see the World Famous Pike's Place Fish Market in action where all concepts of the FISH Philosophy were on display.
The students were able to network with other Student Government leaders from over 20 campuses across the United States including Arizona State University, George Mason University, and the University of Colorado-Denver. In addition, students were able to experience culture of the Great Northwest. They visited the Seattle Space Needle, the Public Market, the first Starbucks store, a Bastille Day Celebration, and took an Argosy Tour of the Seattle Harbor where they learned a great deal of history about the city of Seattle.
On May 22, 2009, the UTSA Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society (ODK) celebrated their 10th year anniversary with a reunion dinner. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff celebrated a decade of leadership, where past and present ODK members were acknowledged. Throughout the evening, ODK's 24 charter members and faculty advisors were recognized with certificates of appreciation.
On April 16, 1999, a group of leaders, at The University Texas at San Antonio established the UTSA Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa. This group of 24 charter members began a tradition on campus that upholds the Purpose of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society...
"I give because I truly believe in what WE do every day and I want to be a patron of that. I know that students reach success because of the assistance we provide in our differing areas. It's very tangible, and I know how much it means. I make it a point to contribute to causes that make it easy for me to see tangible results. I want to know my contribution matters. With Student Affairs and UTSA, I never have to question it. The big reason for giving : for our students, I know their journey begins with me."
- Jan McKinney
"I think it's very important for us to come together as a division to show our support for our campus community in many different ways, with this being just one of the ways, though an important one at that."
- Joe DeCristoforo
"I enjoy working here at UTSA and want to give back."
- Fred Wilson
What's your reason to give?
Gifts to the Transformation Fund can be submitted via payroll deduction or pledge card; both forms are attached here. Please forward paperwork to VPSA Development Office.
Thank you for your consideration.
Transformation Fund Payroll Deduction Form 01 (PDF)
Transformation Fund Pledge Card (PDF)
Pedestrian traffic will be closed through July 31 on a portion of the sidewalk at the intramural fields on the UTSA Main Campus. The sidewalk will be closed as a safety precaution while large earthmoving equipment is used for field renovations.
For the full article, to include maps of the closed off sidewalk, visit: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/07/fields.cfm
Haven't Yet Attended an Introductory Student Affairs True Colors Session (staff that missed sessions last year and/or new staff)?
Please mark your calendars now. This is your notification to attend the next True Colors training session.
Friday, July 31, 2009
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
UC Harris Room 2.212
The True Colors initiative in Student Affairs hopes to provide teams with the tools to establish safe and trusting working environments, establish a divisional common language that promotes engagement and success; and help staff develop an understanding of peers, themselves and the strategic initiatives of the division. Your introductory session, Keys to Personal Success, is the first step.
All division staff (non-student) participates in a True Colors® workshop to take them through a personality inventory and assist in exploring their own "color" attributes. True Colors training helps to learn ways to value the need for different and complementary personality types in our work environment. The workshop will help provide knowledge on how to build effective relationships across offices and departments, and assist in creating a safe and trusting work environment to meet common goals. Attendance at workshops is mandatory and will be arranged keeping staff scheduling needs in mind.
True Colors® is a simple model of personality identification for people of all ages that improves communication through recognition of a person's true character. Utilizing the colors of orange, green, blue and gold to differentiate four basic personality types, True Colors becomes an uncomplicated language for every individual to convey complex ideas very simply.
SUPERVISORS – Please note:
1. We are using the latest new hire list. If there is anyone else in your department that has not attended True Colors, please let me know by replying to this message [VPSA@utsa.edu] if they should be added to the July 31 class.
"For the next few weeks or so, see how well you can determine the colors styles of others. Recognize the values or needs they have in common with you, and especially those they don't. Get curious, get creative. What resourceful methods can you come up with to make sure your working environment and approach includes ways to embrace the needs of all four of the Colors Styles?" Mary Miscisin
Personalities at work handout (PDF)
Check Out "Personalities at Work" for New Insight on the Colors Styles and Tips about Color Watching.
What resourceful methods are you using to embrace the colors styles?
Email your ideas to VPSA@utsa.edu to be featured in a future newsletter.
The University Center Ballroom is now available to make your meeting or special event a stunning success.
See previous UTSA Today article: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/07/eventshowcase.cfm
Inaugural Larry Coker UTSA Advanced Football Camp a Success
All Sport Schedule - Area Events
Recent additions to UTSA’s building inventory have been added to the HR Building Code table in DEFINE. Following are the new buildings and their codes:
University Heights Tech Center IV UH4
University Center III UC3
Engineering Building II EB2
South Thermal Energy Plant STP
You may update the employee records for those employees who have moved to these new buildings using either DEFINE (EI1 command) or via UT Direct to reflect their correct locations. If you have any questions, Cheryl Nunn can be reached by email or phone x4649.
With the Tour de France going on right now and with Lance Armstrong back in the race, cycling has become a big topic of conversation. Cycling can be a great leisure activity, and it can also be a great cardiovascular workout. Indoor cycling is offered at The Rec, and this type of workout is great for those who want a high-intensity but low-impact cardiovascular workout. Cycling will also help strengthen the legs while offering a great core workout.
Assistant Director, Fitness/Wellness
Thank You Rowdy has a special mission in Student Affairs - to travel across UTSA recognizing the good work of staff members. Within the Division of Student Affairs, Thank You Rowdy is presented from one Student Affairs staff member to another in recognition and appreciation of work done well - taking extra assignments to provide support, offering unsolicited assistance, or completing tasks in a unique way. Whatever the situation, contributions like this are made every day and Thank You Rowdy helps us recognize them.
Thank you Rowdy reflects UTSA's spirit of community and reminds us to remember it takes everyone to make UTSA a great place to work and to learn.
- Gage Paine
Thank You Rowdy is presently visiting with Julie Flores and Sandra Smith
See past Thank You Rowdy Recipients
Thank you Rowdy is glad to be back from vacation
and is ready to greet all the new students and staff!
To: Julie Flores and Sandra Smith, Office of Admissions
From: Luna Taroc and Frances Sturchio, Office of Admissions
Julie and Sandra, we are passing "Thank You Rowdy" to you both. We would like to give it to everyone in our office but that is not possible, so we thought about it and made a decision to give it to the both of you. We asked ourselves, "why them, and what makes them stand out to us?" First of all, we work with both of you each day, and we both get to see the real you! We thought about the training both of you have given us, the notes that you have taken and shared with us, coverage on the phone while we're away from our desk, taking the responsibility to cover our area when we are away from the office, you both remind us if there are any changes in the office which keeps us on our toes, you both have an approachable demeanor. And so much more, you both make coming to work enjoyable. Thank you both from Luna and Frances.
Frances gives Thank You Rowdy to Julie
Recipient Sandra Smith absent on July 23, 2009
To: Sasha Maryland- Enrollment Services Officer II, ESC
From: Nancy Greathouse- Gruaduate Student
RE: Thank You
I am a graduate student at UTSA. I called on this past Monday, July 6 about my financial aid. Ms. Sasha was the person I spoke with. She was very helpful, thoughtful, patient, and very understanding to my request. She even went a step further as to contact Fiscal Services for me to make sure my request was met. I enrolled this past fall 08 and this is the first time (over the phone) I have ever had someone so attentive to my request.
I would highly recommend she get top honors in customer service.
Thank you for hiring such a person as Ms. Sasha.
To: Lowa Mwilambwe- Director, University Center
From: Diane Pina- Training/Development Specialist I, Human Resources
Hi Lowa. I want to let you know that I had a very positive, wonderful experience this morning with the UC staff over at the New UC Bexar Room. I had a training in that room this morning with 15 supervisors from various departments. Every single one of the UC staff was helpful, responsive and went the extra mile. It was top notch!
From Angela answering the hall phone, "Thank you for calling the University Center…" to the quick response from Jamel and team with extra tables, to David checking in to make sure everything was OK and helping to get my PowerPoint presentation up and running, to the large staff/student team afterwards who helped me pack up all my materials and helped me get to my car and load up… all of the assistance was offered in a very professional and friendly way, and I really appreciated it!
I see a big positive shift in the delivery of excellent customer service at the UC! Great job everybody!
To: Edna Dominguez- Assistant to the Vice President, Student Affairs
Misty Kelley- Associate Director, Student Activities
Jan McKinney- Assistant Director, Student Judicial Affairs
From: Eric C. Gentry- Assistant Vice President, Development
I wanted to say thank you for recommending Edna, Jan, and Misty. They did a wonderful job on Friday working with the development officers. They engaged everyone, everyone left with a good feeling about the day, everyone learned something, and most importantly, I think it is going to make our office function more cohesively and more productively.
They are a great team and you can see their passion for the university.
Please submit all newsletter entries by 5:00 pm, Tuesday, August 4, 2009, to