A Message from the VP

Indra’s Net
There is an endless net of threads throughout
the universe…
At every crossing of the threads there is
an individual.
And every individual is a crystal bead.
And every crystal bead reflects
not only the light from every
other crystal in the net
but also every other reflection
throughout the entire universe.

From the Rig Veda* as described by Anne Adams
and quoted in turning to one another:  simple conversations to restore hope to the future
by Margaret J. Wheatley

Gage E. Paine, vice president for Student Affairs

Congratulations to Texas Parents and thank you to all of the staff members and departments across campus who worked so hard to throw a great series of events for students and their families this past weekend. One family I talked with had decided not to try the kayaking they had planned — too cold! Instead they were going to tour campus by going to each of their son’s classrooms. They wanted to see campus as he saw it — what a great idea!

On a personal level, I had an unusual experience as I met parents whom I know from other parts of my life — a staff member from Trinity University, a high school classmate, a law school classmate, and most astonishing — a former student from McMurry University who graduated while I worked there! Oh, my…

All this to say I am reminded once again of the truth of the words quoted at the beginning of this essay. In ways we don’t always acknowledge, in ways we often forget, our connections to others are wide and deep and important. In an organization as large as UT, that reality can be overwhelming and it can be tempting to want to think only about our small piece of the puzzle.

Most often organizational design is presented on paper as neat boxes connected by simple lines, but the reality is that our lives are much more complex than that. I like to think of organizational design as something more resembling a star chart. Instead of lines connecting each box to one or two others, there are many lines radiating out from each point connecting us to multiple parts of the organization.

Using an image of an organizational star chart, it is easier to understand that my work supports, or interrupts, your work and everyone else’s work as well, and the same is true for every one of us. I hope that when you feel frustrated in this big, complex organization, you’ll tug on your threads of support to ask for help and that you’ll provide support to others. In the same way, if you are tempted to complain about another’s work, you might stop to look for ways all these connections are impacting them and see if there is a new way to understand what’s happening.

As we go about our work, remember that we all benefit from the good work of everyone else in our organizational net. Our combined light reaches farther and serves our students and university better than that of any individual.

Keep up the great work, everyone!

Best wishes,

Gage

*  The Rig Veda is a collection of over 1,000 hymns and is considered to be one of the foundations of the Hindu religion.