As the new students converged on campus last week, I was thinking a lot about rituals and how important they are in reinforcing shared values as we try to integrate 5000 new students into the Temple family.
Convocation was on Friday and it was the first one that I ever attended. The Temple New Student Convocation is a formal ceremony that welcomes freshman and new transfer students to the university. The faculty and officers of the university were in full regalia, which added gravitas and importance of the message, Since I am also new to Temple, it was an opportunity for me to see what values were being reinforced to the incoming students.
I was not disappointed. The core values that attracted me to Temple were exemplified throughout the ceremony. Accessibility, affordability, excellence, and community service are the heart of Temple’s mission.
The new Provost shared her story which exemplifies the values of Temple. She encouraged the students to reimagine their futures and be willing to take risks. One of my favorite moments was when she took a selfie of herself with the new students in the background.
The emphasis throughout the ceremony was on the students. The core values of making a positive difference in the world and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone were emphasized in story after story. Two current students and one recent graduate spoke and they were inspirational, encouraging their classmates to be fully present and invest in the Temple community. I spent most of the ceremony watching the students in the audience and was impressed by their enthusiasm and apt attention to the speakers. They were listening and ready to learn.
During the ceremony, the student president led the audience in the student pledge.
“As a Temple Owl, I pledge to uphold the highest principles of honesty and integrity in and outside of the classroom as founder Russell Conwell intended. I embrace Temple’s commitment to excellence, diversity and respect for the community; these values define my path. I take pride in saying, ‘I am a Temple Owl,’”
This was the first time I heard the pledge and because I had been thinking about rituals all week, was a clear example of how important they are in reinforcing values and setting the tone of an entire community.
Something for each of you to think about in the coming week. What rituals do you have in your team and at your institution and do they promote the values that you want to reinforce?