Sept. 4, 2007
Dear Faculty and Staff:
As the new academic year begins, we would like to welcome everyone back and offer greetings to the newest members of our community -- the Class of 2011, more than 900 graduate students, 90 faculty, and dozens of new staff. The fresh faces among us add to the outstanding pool of existing talent. Our freshmen and new graduate students will supply unlimited academic potential. Our new faculty will bring proven talents as teachers, scholars, artists, and scientists. Our new staff members will contribute their significant skills and expertise.
We would also like to take a moment to express our appreciation to the University staff who have been hard at work during the summer preparing for the advent of the new academic year. You have done an outstanding job with Pre-College and with readying the library, the colleges, the residence halls, the grounds, academic technology, and programming for the fall. Because of your efforts, our community stands prepared for our students and professors.
On Monday, September 10, we are hosting an informal welcome event to be held in the West Portico of Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium from 4 to 5:30 p.m. All members of the university community are encouraged to attend, and if the prospect of rubbing elbows with a group of talented, dedicated people isn't enough motivation, we hasten to add that there will be ice cream.
Just as Ohio University staff members have been hard at work, so too have the state legislature, Gov. Ted Strickland, and Chancellor Eric Fingerhut of the Ohio Board of Regents. Over the course of the summer, the leadership of the state declared that the landscape of higher education must change in order to be more responsive to the needs of the citizens of the state and to become the driver for economic opportunity in Ohio. On the instructions of Gov. Strickland, Chancellor Fingerhut announced that all of the public universities and colleges in Ohio will become part of a University System. As Chancellor Fingerhut noted in his August 2 address on the creation of the University System of Ohio "we will take advantage of the great diversity of our institutions to build a system known across the world for the quality of our scholarship and our teaching." The formation of that system will begin by identifying centers of excellence and differentiating missions across institutions. The Chancellor wants each university to be an active participant in this process, the first stage of which will conclude in December.
These developments mean that Ohio University needs to be proactive in helping to define our place in the University System of Ohio. Fortunately, all of the effort that faculty, staff, and students put forth in the creation of the Vision OHIO Academic Plan puts us in good stead when it comes to defining our mission. However, some additional focused, consultative conversations must take place during the fall to refine our identity and clarify our centers of excellence. More information will be forthcoming about the nature and timing of those conversations. In the interim, you may want to acquaint yourself with the developments that took place in Columbus over the summer. Outlook will run an article tomorrow (September 5) which will detail key events and plans.
The start of the academic year provides us a chance to mark new beginnings and to reaffirm long-lasting ties. We hope that you will be able to join us on the afternoon of September 10 as we inaugurate what promises to be a year of continued institutional progress and accomplishments by our faculty, staff, and students in which we can all take pride.
|Roderick J. McDavis|
Executive Vice President and Provost