This meeting emphasized the importance of telling the awesome stories of our faculty. The data that we collect in Elements about the accomplishments of our faculty can be used to tell good stories or bad stories. When we hear terms like "Outputs" and "Metrics" it can be triggering and cause us to think that we need to protect ourselves from misrepresentation. Data can erase our stories and even drive us off course from the things that really matter, but data can play another role to augment our stories and intertwine them with the stories of others in a larger audience. Data can harm and help.
Elements has many issues, but it does seem to offer, at it's core, something we need. It offers another opportunity for us to officially leave our mark on the University of Tennessee and even leave our mark on the world at large. It offers another chance at leaving a lasting legacy that makes a difference.
The meeting reminded me of two proverbs: "The weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory." and "The pen is mightier than the sword."
When it comes to telling a good story, Elements may have it's weaknesses, but it is still way stronger than a brilliantly formatted word document filled with the greatest of achievements on a laptop that has to survive viruses and hardware failure for only a handful of people to ever experience it.