Monday Minute, October 26, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I've mentioned in previous Monday Minutes, as well as at the faculty assembly on Friday, the "blue ribbon committee" that the provost has asked each college to convene. We now know that the recommendations of that committee will factor into the University's decisions about investment requests that we will make at our compact meeting with the provost's office in February or early March.

Based on the suggestions we received from all parts of the college, I have invited faculty, staff, students, and members of the college's boards to participate in this short-term task. Everyone in the college will have opportunities to weigh in with the committee on the questions the provost has posed: what needs further investment, what needs maintaining, and where might consolidation or reductions occur? Answers to the questions will help decide where the University invests back into colleges part of the two percent it plans to cut from each college budget next year.

I will urge the committee to step back and think about answers to the provost's questions in terms of the larger trends affecting higher education, such as the demographic changes affecting our student body, the economic changes affecting our fields, and the technological changes affecting our discovery and delivery of knowledge. The more we can think, strategically, about the dynamic transformations happening around us, the better prepared we will be to thrive in the future.

So, watch for more information about this in the next month or two. In the meantime, you have all received a request to complete a web-based survey as part of my comprehensive review. I urge you to participate; your responses will remain confidential, but I would welcome the feedback. These are difficult times in which to lead and opportune times for improvement.