September 2013

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September 2013

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director


An organization founded to promote a cause
A usually short, intensive workshop or seminar on a specific subject
An organization for the promotion of learning

The word "institute" comes from the Latin word institutum meaning "facility" or "habit"; from instituere meaning "build," "create," "raise," or "educate."

In the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man, the term "institute" is a protected word and companies or other organizations may only use the word if they are "organisations which are carrying out research at the highest level or to professional bodies of the highest standing."

Definitions of the word abound when you Google it. None of these are surprising, though the restrictions on the word in the UK are interesting.

All of this comes together as we work to create a business plan for what USITT will pursue over the next several years. Part of that process is evaluating what the strengths of an organization are and how to capitalize upon those strengths.

When we were founded 53 years ago, the choice of the word "institute" may not have been made with thought to what it would mean in the next century, but it was a wise choice. We are an Institute in so many different ways because we are focused on building, creating, raising, and educating. We are an organization for the promotion of learning, and we strive to do it at the highest level.

The seven points of the strategic plan that are driving our business plan can all come back to being an Institute or providing the means to be such. We are about learning.

Some people say, "Sure, USITT is all about the students and the young people." True, they are a valuable set of our membership because they are the people we think of when we think education. However, they are also the very people that should remind us we all require life-long membership in a true Institute to stay abreast of what changes are coming in our field.

An Institute is for everyone and requires the integrated participation of everyone to be truly successful. Without the wisdom and understanding of our mid-career and established membership, we would have no guidance for the next generation. Without the enthusiasm and curiosity of the younger generation, we wouldn't have the ever-present, blithe passion for exploration and innovation. Together they create a whole organization.

It goes beyond age. Without the inspiration of designers creating and putting new ideas to paper, our technicians would have no challenge to find new ways to realize things. It all goes together to create a vibrant Institute: designer and technician; youth and experience; excitement and opportunity.

USITT is at a very exciting time in its existence. Many organizations don't get to see a second half century, let alone one filled with excitement and regeneration of purpose. But it still comes back to participation. As the Institute grows and becomes a "year-round organization," take the opportunity to be involved. The energy and excitement is there for learning across the generations.

Check out the schedule of Section events, USITT Presents, and other activities. If you have an idea for one, speak up and let us know. We are working to serve the membership, and the membership that offers ideas is the one that is best served.

David Grindle

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