As we are on a journey to define the values and mission of our Computer Science and Engineering department at University of Michigan there was a survey to faculty to get thoughts on some proposed elements. Here is how I reacted
Proposed Mission: The mission of CSE is to shape the future of computing and the world through excellence in education and research.
My Reaction: This must be a first order mission, though I agree we must include cultural values, a primary mandate is that we continue to strive to do the best and most high quality academic work possible. It concerns me deeply that the way we are evaluating new hires are loosing this focus. If we hire people who are the nicest and most activist on DEI without maintaining excellence in research and impact we will be on a slippery slope to mediocrity. Impact in innovation must come first, then impact in everything else. Our department is loosing this focus and if the constitution of minds (that form the mindset) of the department changes, we could rapidly decline in our research prowess.
Proposed Vision: CSE aspires to lead in computing, create a welcoming community, and empower every individual to reach their full potential.
My Reaction: This is great, but the ordering in my view should be: aspires to lead in computing, empower every individual to reach their full potential, create a welcoming community. All are very important. But the order matters.
Proposed Values: Fairness, Truth, Cooperation, Wisdom
My Reaction: My Tweak: EXCELLENCE, Fairness, Cooperation, Grit (Because of the unfortunate nature of human beings we can never truly converge on truth, and indeed, if there is the regime based on a single truth then there is great peril in that. In particular the danger stems from the inevitable fallibility of the body that determines that truth. Indeed, a better value would be Debate (with Honesty) or perhaps Honesty (with Debate).