Tis the season for final assignments, final exams, and final evaluations for the semester. Like the fabled Santa Claus, many in higher education are making lists of academic accomplishments and checking them twice before issuing final term grades.
This concept of list-making is an important one. In fact, in his bestselling book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, author Atul Gawande encourages us all to develop checklists. In his own line of work ”“ surgery ”“ Gawande demonstrates the literally life-saving power of a checklist, from his own hospital in Boston to world-wide impacts through his work with the WHO. Further examples are shared from the aviation, construction, and financial services industries. The point is made: we can all be better with a checklist.
As the calendar year and the academic session come to a close, we are presented with the perfect time to evaluate. What projects succeeded and why? What areas of campus consistently look the best and why? What are the most popular parts of campus and why? Conversely, what areas of campus plague the grounds crew and why? What landscape/hardscape/facades/interiors require the most upkeep and why? Are you striking a balance between the desired aesthetic and the effort required to achieve it?
By starting your evaluations, and maybe even some checklists, you’ll move into the new year with a better handle on the past and a more defined roadmap for your future efforts. Who knows, your efforts might even get you on the Nice List.