A Week In

Is it too early to reflect on the new job? Maybe, but I do have some observations … and not all are related strictly to the things I have been doing in my new post.  First some easy ones.

It is beautiful here — and by here I mean both on campus and the surrounding areas.  Each day I’ve made a point to check another part of both out.  Walking around campus it is easy to see that there is a value placed upon the physical aspects to campus. It shows wonderfully and as I explore I come to appreciate the effort that is going into making this place beautiful.  You may look at that and wonder why it is so important, but it is. If you think of the big picture, keeping our campus looking first rate is part of the path we are on here at Stony Brook.  My previous campus at Penn State prided itself on always looking its best and it was a strategic decision, one that paid off in lots of ways — an easy measurable is that PSU annually gets over 100,000 applications. Obviously not all of those are because the flowers are well placed and the grass is freshly mowed, but it helps and I appreciate that about what is happening here.

Then there is the surrounding area. Wow.  Each day after work I have taken time to go see the water. When you arrive from central Pennsylvania, the potential to hear the waves and see the sunset over the Sound is simply breathtaking. I am soaking it in and it is part of a ritual that has helped me round out the days and reflect on all that I am learning. If you live around here and you haven’t done it in a while try to do it with fresh eyes.

A couple additional observations from the first week … the DoIT staff have been wonderful to work with across the board.  I’ve been in meetings almost constantly since the minute I stepped on campus and in each of them I have obviously had to lean on my new colleagues at times. Each time, they’ve come through.  I find that our team is very smart and very committed to making this University a better place.  This extends past DoIT as well … I have had interactions daily with other senior administrators and I am struck by the collective intelligence and commitment to excellence.

I was struck this week by the connections to SUNY and the emphasis on working in a collaborative fashion.  On two different occasions this week I spent time with SUNY leadership and was very impressed with both their vision and approach.  Yesterday, Dr. Hao Wang, SUNY CIO, held a “listening tour” stop on our campus and invited CIOs from SUNY schools across the the eastern region and Long Island.  It was a great way to hear from colleagues and peers and have conversations related to where we could work together to solve big system level challenges.

I’ll close by saying it was an intense week filled with great conversations. I am aware of some of what is to be done, but also by what has already been accomplished. I am now turning attention to the next couple weeks as we welcome students back to campus and I can start to really dig into some of the larger issues at hand. A good first week.

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