Sept. 3, 2014
What kinds of things have you accomplished today? Maybe you finished a big work project. Maybe you got the kids off to school. Maybe you treated a patient or taught a student. Maybe you even made a great discovery. Did you do it completely alone?
Chances are more likely that you had some help. Whether it’s a colleague, relative, professional, assistant, student or simply another human being, there is little in this world that we can accomplish completely alone. Collaboration is a very powerful thing.
Young poet Mattie Stepanek once said, “Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
Not a day goes by where I don’t spend time working with someone else in my office and the results are always better than if I had tried to go it alone. There’s strength in collective minds and success in sharing tasks. I love nothing better than bringing all sorts of different people with varied skills to the table to create something remarkable. That unity and collaboration has produced some pretty wonderful things, in my opinion.
Collaboration and partnerships happen all over campus every day, not just here in my office. Researchers are working on projects together—some from the same department and some from completely different fields. Students work with faculty, individual colleges join forces, project teams form partnerships with other universities and organizations.
Unity is strength and wonderful things are achieved.
April Zeoli has mashed up two seemingly different fields of study to tackle a major problem in the world, collaborating with experts from each. She is an assistant professor of criminal justice in the College of Social Science who uses public health methods and models to increase the understanding of violence and homicide. She’s found that homicide can move through a city in a way similar to infectious disease. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Collaborating for Change, to learn more about her fascinating collaborative approach to a serious issue.
Hans Schroder, a third-year doctoral student in clinical psychology, has partnered up with MSU telecommunications expert and professor in the Department of Media and Information, Carrie Heeter, to study how the brain reacts to mistakes. Read his STUDENT VIEW: Growth Mindsets, to learn more about this collaboration, the “oh crap” response and how he created a Facebook page for the brain response called the error-related negativity.
I absolutely love when I hear stories about researchers like Zeoli and students like Schroder. I love the innovation and creativity with which they approach their fields and their willingness to go beyond traditional borders to conduct their work. You find that all over campus. Spartans just seem to have a knack for working together to make a bigger impact.
As you go about your day, look for your own creative ways to work with others and collaborate in ways you haven’t thought. Find that unity. I promise, wonderful things will happen.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner