The week after elections, HLC visits UCO, and Oklahoma is a state of creativity

Hello to all of you,

Today is Sunday, and a chilly one given the balmy temperatures we have enjoyed for weeks. Importantly, it is Veterans Day. Earlier today in Washington DC, the President laid a wreath in Arlington Cemetery saluting all those in our country’s history who served and sacrificed for our nation, its values and its survival. Wars have been an integral part of US history, from the battle for independence to more recent conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia. Each time, American men and women have left their lives and families to serve most often far from home. On November 11th, originally remembered as Armistice Day at the close,of World War I, we now rightfully honor all who have served in our country’s armed forces.

This national holiday occurred this year right after the national, state and local elections held across America. The speculation about a possible dichotomy between the presidential popular vote and the Electoral College results did not materialize. President Obama will serve a second term facing immediate and long term challenges. The partisan division that has been a factor in our lives most over the past two years now needs to be set aside to fashion the collaborative plan for charting our future.

Last week I mentioned that one of the under appreciated aspects of our political system for over two centuries is the primacy of the constitution and the passage of executive power from one president and party to another in an orderly fashion. Democracies create non violent ways of resolving conflicts at the ballot box with a fervent belief, here in the USA, in our Constitution and in the rule of law. Federal power and authority was purposely parceled to three independent branches of government, separate institutions sharing power. This governing framework has withstood challenge and the test of time. Those precious documents and our belief in their vision and values have become the bedrock of our political and social systems.

Now President Obama and the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress must move out of campaign mode and fervently connect to find and secure common ground. The American people elected leadership to lead which does and will involve compromise to secure consensus. The next several weeks are uncharacteristically crucial as America’s leaders seek a way to obviate the impact of the “fiscal cliff”, a series of triggers to end tax reductions which could press the country back toward recession. It is now days after November 6th, Election Day, time to build consensus and lead.

We at UCO have special guests arriving today who will spent part of this week reviewing our request for re-accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting agency. UCO was last reviewed ten years ago.

If you read this tonight or tomorrow, I again urge you to attend the open session with the HLC team scheduled for Monday afternoon. You may meet one of the nine team members informally as they visit with many people across the campus. I urge you to welcome them, relate what it is like for you to be a UCO student, and respond to other issues they may raise. Check out the framed posters on the wall in each university building listing the mission, vision and the Central Six experiences of Transformative Learning here at UCO. If you have any questions, please contact Jarrod tonight or tomorrow.

Finally, some of you will participate in the Oklahoma State of Creativity Forum at the Cox Center on Tuesday. This is a unique learning opportunity for all who participate. Over the past five years, Oklahoma has become a national and global actor and leader in encouraging imagination, creativity and innovation. UCO is pleased to be among the major active participants in this empowering and important initiative. For more information, check the Oklahoma Creativity website at stateofcreativity.org.

It is almost mid- November. Thanksgiving is in sight. Keep your focus to finish the semester in a most successful way.

My best wishes to each of you,

Don Betz

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