A Value Added Life

By:
Ken Shaw

I have been pondering the meaning of “value added” in my life and from the institution in which I have the privilege to work.  It is easy to understand a product that has value added as it is manufactured with special features that distinguish it from the norm.  If one believes, like I do, that we are on this earth for a purpose and we are in the midst of fulfilling that purpose, what can we do to provide added value to our families and our places where we work?

I experienced added value first-hand this Christmas season.  While visiting family in Florida and being with our first grandbaby, my wife volunteered to give my son and daughter-in-law a break by getting up at 4:00 a.m. to do the early morning feed.  After the baby was fed, one would think she would come back to bed.  Not my wife.  She headed to the kitchen where she donned her chef hat and cooked twice-baked potatoes, made blueberry scones, created the family-special casserole, crafted some delicious home-made banana bread, prepared artichoke & spinach dip, and so much more.  By the time the rest of the family got up, the aroma wafting through the house caused a well-worn path to the kitchen to see what masterpieces were created.  My sweet wife exhibited added value; an extra portion of love was showered upon this family, and I was happy to be there.

Earlier this year, the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (“ICUT”) commissioned economics professor, Dr. Mark Paul Gius, to conduct a study to determine the economic impact of the 42 ICUT institutions across the state, of which we are a member.  The state impact is staggering.

The study showed that Southwestern Adventist University adds value to its community in two major ways.  The University spent nearly $12M on payroll and benefits for its full-time and part-time employees in fiscal year 2017.  They spent roughly $5.5M in student spending on things like food, housing, materials, and other school-related items.  Another $3.8M was spent on the goods and services needed for daily operations.  Adding these to visitor spending and capital expenditures bring the total for direct spending in the community to just over $23M. 

There is also a second type of spending, induced spending, which brings added value to the community.  Induced spending is defined as employment and expenditures produced by local industries as a result of the direct spending described above.  For Johnson County and some of the surrounding counties, the total induced spending generated by Southwestern Adventist University is $7.1M.  The added value the University brings to the community is 157 jobs. 

Though the fiscal elements of the University positively impact the community, there are many other value added benefits the University contributes to the community.  Southwestern Adventist University educates students by well-qualified professors who share the latest in knowledge from the various disciplines needed to function in today’s world.  They then provide added value by working with the community to arrange internship opportunities where students experience and learn in a real-world setting, thus equipping them with a balanced education of theory and practice.  The culture of our university is rich with added value experiences as the community can enjoy wonderful musical concerts, listen to engaging guest lecturers, immerse themselves in school spirit during athletic events, delight in drama programs, and appreciate the many other wonderful University programs. 

As we contemplate New Year’s resolutions for 2019, let’s consider what added value we each can provide in our personal and professional lives.

This article is an opinion piece written by President Shaw for the Cleburne Times Review.