Integrity Matters
August 18 , 2004

CSUMB dean's generosity is a life lesson

Question: (E-125)

Dear Jim:

I am a new student at California State University, Monterey Bay, and very enthused about it because I see that the faculty members' interest in their students starts even before the new school year has begun.

Just today I conferred with a dean who offered to meet with me individually to help me develop the right schedule for my classes. I was thrilled.

How does this generous action by a dean speak to the integrity of leadership at this institution?


Learning at your new school, CSUMB, has already begun for you, and you have not yet enrolled in your first class. When the dean of an academic institution will make the time to offer personal help, there is an important message being sent: namely, that people are important.

When leaders of an organization make themselves accessible to those who most need them, which in this instance is a first-year student, then the values are clear: Students really do matter, and relationships between student and instructor are valued. Certainly, when you chose to write your question to "Integrity Matters" you recognized the graciousness of the dean's gesture and generosity of the offer.

Graciousness, one of the Bracher Center's Eight Attributes of an Integrity-Centered Organization, combines respect and discipline. In this situation you are the recipient of care and concern as you make your way into your new academic home, CSUMB.

A few months ago I invested time listening carefully to youngsters from 8 to 18 at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, as they defined our Eight Attributes of Integrity. On the subject of graciousness, Attribute No. 8, they were very clear. The children said that in order to be gracious one needed to be kind, not cruel or sarcastic - thoughtful, not judging, these young people felt they and others could better listen to and learn about others.

Further, these members of the Boys and Girls Clubs reminded me - and hopefully all of us - of how important it is to be patient, allowing others to finish their thoughts. And then they added: Be helpful, not harmful, and to be sure to remember that we are all more alike than different.

How great that you have recognized integrity in your new school home at CSUMB, and may your willingness to highlight the "graciousness" of a department head be an inspiration to all of us to lend a hand to those in need and do so in caring and supportive ways. Integrity Matters, all the time.

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