There are certainly a number of reasons for anyone to become a cynic. All you need to do is read the headlines of almost any paper (I now read them on my iPad), and you think “What the heck is going on out there?” So, to get some of these things off my chest, I present to you Shaeffer’s Top Ten Reasons to be Cynical, Letterman style:
10. The recent debt ceiling debate and federal deficit.
9. A climate that is changing too quickly to keep up with
8. Rising gas prices, food prices…everything prices
7. One world disaster after another
6. A recession that just won’t quit
5. Growing public distrust of higher education
4. Constantly being asked to do more with less
3. More need than we can meet, with a growing sense of urgency
2. Seeing our colleague’s CE departments closing or being reorganized
1. The worst heat wave and drought in decades
I need to add one more that is specific to me and that is losing your golf swing.
Now why would in the world would I write such a depressing blog post? The reason is that in spite of all the reasons to be cynical, I’ve found our UPCEA members to be anything but cynical. The business of UPCEA is run by volunteers, and in a potentially cynical environment you might think that people wouldn’t be volunteering. You would be wrong.
UPCEA has four commissions, each lead by two volunteers, and each commission is made up of 20 volunteers. We have seven Communities of Practice, each lead by one or two volunteers and each having several active members.
We also have multiple standing and ad hoc committees, this year it is 15 committees that are made up of as many as 20 volunteers. One of those committees is our Strategic Planning Committee, which is asking a number of volunteers to do the heavy lifting in drafting our first strategic planning document in over 10 years.
We have an all-volunteer Board of Directors made up of over 20 volunteers who are giving freely of their time and their resources to meet three times annually.
Finally, we have five regions, each of which has a cabinet made up several volunteers doing the great work at the regional level.
If I add up all the volunteers who are busy doing the work of UPCEA, I bet it is somewhere between 600 to 700 folks who are volunteering to move our association and our field forward.
I would be remiss not to add that we also have a national office under the leadership of Bob Hansen that provides excellent support for our volunteers.
So here is the message. Yes, we could be cynical given all the depressing things on my top ten list, but that just isn’t the case for UPCEA members. I am very proud to be part of this association because we see Shaeffer’s Top Ten Reasons to be Cynical as challenges rather than threats. And our members aren’t cynical, they are busy trying to address those challenges.
Many thanks to all our volunteers.