Reinventing and Helping Students Shine

There is nothing like the possibility of having a new start or the opportunity to reinvent oneself. Whether just out of high school or coming later in life, beginning college is an opportunity to remake oneself into one’s own image and leave behind the perceptions of those in one’s past.

The beginning of a new academic year is also a time for student affairs to innovate and influence  the perceptions of colleagues with whom we want to collaborate to help students “shine.” The final line of John Legend’s song Shine tells us that “ordinary people can be a hero; don’t put out the light.”  If we are not helping students shine, we may be guilty of putting out the light. The challenge is great. What can we do with the opportunity a new beginning affords?

This past week, there was a lot of questioning and opining about what Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame and fortune would do as the new owner of The Washington Post. Certainly a new owner is another kind of beginning or opportunity to redesign, innovate, and transform in order to change the perceptions and the culture of a well-respected institution.

The speculations about what Bezos would do ranged from whether he would be the death of journalism or the founder of its golden age. Regardless on which end of the argument continuum one sits, change seems inevitable. If Jeff Bezos came to your college or university, what kinds of changes do you think he would make that would have an impact on student affairs in order to help students shine?

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