Greeting to the faculty
September 6, 2007
Greetings and welcome! By now we’ve all had the chance to meet our students in our classes, and I share with you the natural excitement for the beginning of the academic year.
The campus is in good shape--in some of the most challenging fiscal circumstances the state has ever faced. Our enrollments are good for the fall; the quality of the incoming class is very good; and the campus continues to make the adjustments needed in its budgeting processes that permit us to accomplish our educational mission.
The faculty of UM-Dearborn is our greatest asset. This is true for several reasons – the intrinsic quality of the faculty; their devotion to their educational roles; and their dedication to their students. I know, and the provost and deans know, that it is essential for us to communicate well and broadly about the many values we share, and the directions that the campus is going in. I would like to take a few minutes this afternoon to talk about some of those basic values and directions.
First, academic excellence. This is a continual challenge--to recruit great faculty, to maintain the curricula in the four schools and colleges, to make sure that we are aware of the best available practices in the classroom. The provost, the deans, and the department chairs are all focused on these tasks, but in the end, it comes down to you. And we have great confidence in you!
Second, our metropolitan vision for the campus. The impact the campus can have in this region. The high aspiration that this represents. Our areas of impact: global competitiveness of manufacturing, race and discrimination, urban environmental issues, P-K-12 education, and regional leadership. We are making progress in each of these areas. And the campus is gaining more recognition for being a “good partner” with other organizations and groups as the region seeks to build the economy.
Student engagement is crucial. How? Why? Some signs of progress.
A crucial strategic goal for the campus is to build towards becoming a mid-size university for southeast Michigan. This means growing in the next 10 years from our current size of about 8,500 to about 12,000. The advantages: intellectual, academic, fiscal.
Finally, I would like to highlight the issue of diversity and multicultural experience. UM-D is positioned very well to be one of the most successfully diverse campuses in the country. We’re not there yet. We want to enhance climate for all--students, faculty, and staff. We want to extend our reach into student populations who are currently under-represented in higher education. (We have some good news on this front this fall.) and we want to work together to establish the most supportive and nurturing environment for all our constituents on the campus.
I am excited about the coming year. And I very much look forward to my visits to the departments this fall so we can have some more in-depth conversations.