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Ujima Donalson

A Note from Ujima Donalson,
POD Director

In April, I attended the "We the People" dialogue hosted by Interim President Ana Mari Cauce. This event proved memorable on many fronts. It marked my first visit to wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, the longhouse-style building that opened earlier this year and that serves as a multi-service learning and gathering space for Native American students, faculty, and staff, as well as others from various cultures and communities. I had the pleasure of meeting its director, Ross Braine, and also had the honor of serving as a table facilitator for a group of students and staff representing a wide range of ages and backgrounds. However, the most impressive part to me was Ana Mari herself. Given my own background and life experiences, I applaud her launching the UW Race and Equity Initiative, but perhaps just as compelling to me was the genuine leadership she displayed that day. Read more

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences." ~ Audre Lorde

Larisa Benson

Reclaiming the People Side of Lean
Larisa Benson, Senior Lecturer, Evans School of Public Affairs; Performance Improvement consultant, The Athena Group

When "lean" process improvement is initiated in the workplace, the message that often comes across is "Hey, we think we have a lot of waste here." That sends alarm bells ringing so loudly, people can barely hear the next words. Then come consultants wielding spreadsheets, stacks of Post-its, and a bunch of complicated new words. Somewhere along the line, management admits that, by the way, we're not going to deprioritize anyone's other assignments, just add more very long meetings and difficult analytic work. In response, employees often feel discouraged or distrustful; many may not be invested in the success of the lean initiative. Before it's even gotten off the ground, the initiative is steeped in failure.

It doesn't have to be this way. Read more

"The best way to predict the future is to create it." ~ Peter Drucker

Ruth Johnston

Leadership Interview: Ruth Johnston, Organizational Excellence

POD talked with UW Planning & Management's Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff, Ruth Johnston, who has played an integral role in the UW Organizational Excellence Program.

How does the work you're doing in Organizational Excellence (OE) differ from other organizational development (OD) work being done at the UW? Why might someone contact OE as opposed to, e.g., POD or RAPID?

OE was established by the president and provost as a strategic goal within the Two Years to Two Decades (2y2d) Initiative in September 2013 to provide assistance primarily to academic and academic support units wanting to improve the way they do their work. Our typical services are strategic planning, process improvement (using Lean and other methodology), organizational assessments (structure, finances, etc.), and leadership team development. Read more

"We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Kim Delaney

Leadership by the Book: Seeking Mindfulness
Kim Delaney, POD Office Manager & Consultation Services Coordinator

Just a few months ago, the idea of reading a book about mindfulness was not even a little appealing to me. It's not just that anything new-agey gives me a rash, it seemed that mindfulness either required untold hours of meditation or was a total no-brainer (just pay attention). Four very distinct books later, I'm starting to get it. I've learned that mindfulness can take a lot of time—or not. You must begin it as a discipline and practice constantly—or not. Meditation is essential for mindfulness—or it doesn't have to be. In other words, ideas about mindfulness cross a very wide spectrum; the key is finding an approach that fits with your own sensibility and day-to-day life.

Now that mindfulness holds more appeal for me, I'd like to help you find a book that resonates with you—whether you're wary of the idea or already intrigued. Read more

Current Events

  • Visit the Office of the President's homepage for the latest news on the UW Race and Equity Initiative.
  • Seattle Center's Festál is a year-long series of free events honoring the richness and diversity of our region. Coming soon:
    • Spirit of Indigenous People on May 30 presents music, food, dance and activities.
    • Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival from June 6–7 includes food, historical exhibits, visual and performing arts, music and dances, hands-on activities for children, Filipino martial arts demonstrations, and more.
    • Festival Sundiata – Black Arts Fest from June 20–21 offers live performances, hands-on activities, food, fashion, and worldly gifts, as well as opportunities to join in African dance workshops or learn traditional drumming rhythms.
  • Among the ways you can celebrate LGBT Pride month in June:
    • PrideFest Capitol Hill celebrates with family-friendly fun as well as a street festival on June 27 at Cal Anderson Park.
    • Seattle Pride hosts a Pride Parade on June 28 through downtown Seattle.

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