4
arches
autumn
2013
from the president
Urgent
It’s not a word you want to use too fre-
quently. That would drain it of its power to
command attention. Like crying wolf. Every-
thing can’t be urgent, or nothing will. So use
it sparingly. When the wolf is at the door, you
want everyone to attend to the matter. It’s
urgent—save the sheep.
And yet, we do want to live our lives
consistently with a sense of urgency, right?
Which is definitely not the same as a sense of
desperation. In fact, in many ways the two
are opposites. “Urgent” has an
urge
inside it.
live in a time of radical change and uncer-
tainty—technological disruption, political
instability, economic turmoil, terror. And
such crazy weather, man. Dire predictions
and threatening conditions cast shadows
just about everywhere. It’s true in education:
The sands are shifting dramatically as costs
rise like an irresistible tide.
MOOC
s (mas-
sive open online courses) are in the land, and
virtual delivery systems threaten the integrity
of our very bricks and mortar. The wolves
are howling. Then again, when so many
An insistent desire. It invokes a heightened
awareness, a focus on the most important
things, a commitment to a particular direc-
tion, an effort with a clear purpose: Keep
the wolf at bay. Desperation, on the other
hand, produces a good deal of flailing about
in all directions; befuddlement about know-
ing exactly what to do; a waste of time and
energy; confusion. Wolves’ delight. Sheep
will be lost.
I think about this a lot—not the wolf so
much, but living with a sense of urgency. We