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A New Academic Year: Learning for Civic Purpose

presenting the colors of our country at the 2017 convocation
Photo from the podium of the 2017 New Student Convocation

The K-State community has returned to the campuses of Kansas State University to begin another academic year! With a new semester comes new opportunities for learning and growth both inside and outside the classroom. For 20 years, the Staley School of Leadership Studies has been proud to be part of the K-State experience.

We at the Staley School strive to facilitate deep learning that pushes our students to consider their leadership and impact in context of self, others, and community. Dr. Brandon Kliewer, assistant professor of civic leadership, had the opportunity to issue a charge to the newest members of our K-State learning community at this year’s New Student Convocation on August 20, 2017.

Dr. Kliewer’s message invited these new K-Staters to take part in some critical reflection around themselves, the frameworks they use to make sense of the world, and ultimately, what each of them would like to contribute to the K-State experience. “Learning and development at the edges of your comfort zone represents a practice of freedom that can be cultivated at Kansas State University,” said Kliewer. “This is an understanding of freedom that invites you to continuously recreate the leading edge of your learning and development.”

He also discussed the land-grant mission of Kansas State University and its focus on knowledge and discovery for the betterment of society. “Coming to a land-grant institution means you will learn and develop in a context that is committed to realizing a common good,” said Kliewer. “This is our shared work—the work of the K-State family.”

Here is a video of the 2017 Convocation, hear Dr. Kliewer’s remarks at 53:40!

“The potential of your learning and growth is your responsibility but hinges on the conditions created by our learning community,” said Kliewer. “Membership in this learning community, this family, begs the question: what do we owe to others? How should we guide our actions to recognize the impact we have on the future?”

As we enter this new academic year, we at the Staley School hope to help create the conditions for extraordinary learning by inviting all to consider their responsibility to our learning community as a whole—through our Principles of Community and a focus on developing leaders who are prepared to collaborate across academic discipline and across multiple degrees of difference.

Dr. Kliewer’s message concludes with this: Challenge yourself and those around you to think deeper and act with more intention. Acknowledge that a deep practice of freedom can only be found in relationship to others and in community. Learning and development for a public good gives shape to the true purpose of the K-State experience. You are here for a reason. You have purpose. You are whole. You are complete. And, you are capable. Use your time at Kansas State University to imagine what you might become and enact the world you want to live in.”

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