Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Excellence in Bureaucratic Organizations

To all our students,

I just want to say how impressed I am with our students. These competitions give them a chance to display their skills and talents and inventiveness. So: Congratulations! But it is more than that. One of my experiences in teaching over a wide range of our degree programs (or at least having students from those programs) has been the students' genuine strength and character. They ask good questions, do good work, and take advantage of what Price and USC offer. It is gratifying, especially since I see how much stronger we are than when I joined USC right after the 1984 Olympics (and it is not because I am here!). I have watched USC and Price and its predecessors grow and stengthen, deepen, and become wonderful places for research and education, offering students more and more every year. The good old days were good, but the new days are better. 

PS--Yes, I know about your team-member in a class project who did not do their fair share of the work, or of the people you wonder about how they got here (they may be wondering about you!). This is standard in all large bureaucratic organizations. What's crucial is how you work around such, how you help each other, how you focus on what matters. Moreover, I have watched how laggards and the apparently weak grow and strengthen, how the influence of their colleagues works on them. Put differently, it is easy to bitch and complain. But it is more fun to do the work and move on.

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