I want to clarify something about the Blue Ribbon Committee that may not have been clear in previous messages. While that broadly representative committee was formed to provide another perspective on the issues facing the college, its recommendations will remain advisory to the deans. Its report will not go directly to the provost, as some have assumed. We will carefully consider their ideas, convey them to you for your feedback, and weigh all of that input in preparation for our compact meeting. While the provost will certainly ask about the committee's recommendations during that meeting, its report will remain one of several documents we will work from to define our goals and priorities.
I realize that times like these can produce their share of anxiety. None of us know what will happen with the economy or what cuts to the University's budget the legislature or the governor might make. But I do know this: what we do in this college is important, in demand, and valued in the community and by the University's upper administration. We need to see this period as one of opportunity, a time to re-examine how we have done things in the past and re-imagine what we might do in the future. The more we approach our challenges constructively and creatively, the better off we will be, and I am convinced that the Blue Ribbon Committee will help us get there.