State of the College 2011

Download the slides here.

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The State of the College of Arts and Sciences

August 26, 2011

Good afternoon and welcome to the 2011-2012 academic year.

Slide 1

State of the College 2011

J. Blaine Hudson,
Dean

College of Arts and Sciences
University of Louisville

Under our By-Laws, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences must present an overview of the “State of the College” at a meeting of the A&S Faculty Assembly that inaugurates each new academic year. This is my eighth opportunity to deliver such a message——a message that highlights our achievements, describes the challenges before us from my perspective and how we propose to meet them, and reaffirms our mission, vision and values as a College.

Over time, I have come to realize that these messages—mine as well as those of my predecessors—represent a running chronicle of our evolution as an academic unit. Each one captures a particular moment in our history and the context in which that moment is situated. Each one has a similar structure: first, we acknowledge changes in status; second, we paint an objective portrait of the college; third, we explore one or more ideas or themes that seem most relevant to the present; and fourth, we discuss plans for the current year.

As I was writing the 2011 message, I was struck by the haunting and almost overpowering sense of time—of my long years at the University of Louisville and the monumental transformation I have witnessed, the journey that has shaped my professional life and our college. So, I will begin with an overview of the College and our achievements—and then conclude with a discussion of that journey and what, I believe, it means.

 

Any living community of faculty, staff, students and alumni has its own distinct life cycle, one stage of which is the departure of old friends. Ours is no different and, in 2010-2011, these long-time colleagues retired:

Slide 2

Retiring Faculty

Ann Allen -- History (phased retirement)

Stow Chapman -- Fine Arts

Donald Dupre’ -- Chemistry

Clara Leuthart -- Geography and Geosciences

Wiley Williams -- Mathematics

We commend them for their distinguished academic careers and their many years of dedicated service, and we wish them well. They will be missed.

 

We also lost two great friends and scholars, Clarence Talley of the Department of Sociology and, only days ago, Pat Cerrrito of the Department of Mathematics. They will be sorely missed as well.

 

If there are departures, there are also arrivals and, this year, some outstanding scholars joined our ranks.

Slide 3-5

New Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty

Mary Ashlock -- Communication

John Begley -- Fine Arts

Genevieve Carlton -- History

Amy Clukey -- English

Fabian Crespo -- Anthropology

Cherie Dawson-Edwards -- Justice Administration

Andrew Day -- Geography and Geosciences

Marci DeCaro Psychological and Brain Sciences

Guy Dove -- Philosophy

Karen Freberg -- Communication

Pearlie Johnson -- Pan-African Studies

Janet Kelly -- Urban and Public Affairs

Monica Rodriguez -- Classical and Modern Languages

David Roelfs -- Sociology

Ayman Shabana -- Humanities (ON LEAVE)

Malissa Taylor -- History (ON LEAVE)

Alicestyne Turley -- Pan-African Studies

Monnica Williams -- Psychological and Brain Sciences

We welcome these new members of our community of scholars.

Some in our ranks were promoted to associate professor with tenure, a singular milestone that marks the end of a very long apprenticeship.

 

 

Slides 6-7

Promotions to Associate Professor with Tenure

A. Glenn Crothers -- History

Jason Gainous -- Political Science

Stephen Hanson -- Philosophy

Yuxin Ma -- History

Andrew Rabin -- English

Susanna Remold -- Biology

Ryan Schroeder -- Sociology

Slide 8

Granting of Tenure

Assistant Professor Granted Tenure

W. S. Tkweme -- Pan-African Studies

Associate Professors Granted Tenure

John Gibson -- Philosophy

Sandra Sephton -- Psychological and Brain Sciences

Congratulations to all of you. I trust that you have savored this accomplishment sufficiently by now and are prepared to begin the next leg of your professional journeys.

Others were promoted to full professor in recognition of their distinguished achievements over time and their stature in their respective disciplines:

Slides 9-10

Promotions to Full Professor

Matthew Biberman -- English

Melissa Evans-Andris -- Sociology

Craig Grapperhaus -- Chemistry

Pawel Kozlowski -- Chemistry

Sergio Mendes --Physics (granted tenure)

John Morrison --Physics

Joanna Wolfe -- English

Francis Zamborini --Chemistry

Xiang Zhang -- Chemistry (granted tenure)

Congratulations to each of you. You have joined the intellectual elders of the College and we are honored by your presence and your good example.

We sometimes refer to A&S, half-seriously, as the “People’s Republic of the Arts and Sciences” because of our tradition of academic self-governance—and open debate. Of course, academic self-governance requires the committed and informed participation of faculty and staff in the life and work of the College. A&S is home to nearly thirty academic departments and programs—each headed by either a chair or a director. These leadership roles are demanding and critically important—and, at least in my experience, immensely rewarding. This year, the following colleagues assumed this responsibility:

 

Slide 11

New Chairs

Ying Kit Chan -- Fine Arts (January 2011)

Rinda Frye -- Theatre Arts

Robert Huber -- Military Science

Alan Leidner -- Classical & Modern Languages

Rodger Payne -- Political Science (January 2012)

Laurie Rhodebeck -- Political Science (Acting)

Richard Wittebort -- Chemistry (January 2011)

We commend your willingness to serve the College. And I would also like to acknowledge the outstanding leadership of your predecessors—Prof. Jim Grubola, Dr. Russ Vandenbroucke (who has been appointed director of our new Peace Studies program), LTC Tarpon Wiseman, Dr. Augustus Mastri, Dr. Ron Vogel and Dr. George Pack.

Beyond these arrivals and departures and changes in rank or status, where do we stand as a college in the larger context of the university? What is our bottom-line in objective terms?

Obviously, budget is one key measure. Our annual budget has actually increased by 8.6 percent compared to 2010-2011.

 

Slide 12

A&S Budget Comparison

2005-20062006-2007
2007-2008
2008-2009
2009-2010
2010-2011
2011-2012
$46,393,482$53,635,059$58,079,457$60,399,016$60,023,034$63,090,902$68,538,788

+15.6%+8.3%+4.0%-0.6%+5.1%+8.6%

Of course, we probably spend $70 million and need $95 million to fund all elements of our strategic plan. Thus, it is oddly paradoxical to seem resource-rich and feel resource-poor at the same time.

To complicate matters, we will need to reduce our permanent budget by $507,000 this year—because the Kentucky biennial budget is structurally unbalanced. Sad to say, we have a great deal of experience in cutting our budget. However, we have managed the reductions of past years and protected our core mission and programs—and we will manage this one as well.

In A&S, we take pride in being the heart of the university—the foundation that supports nearly all academic programs offered by the University of Louisville. We remain the university’s largest and most diverse academic unit—and the unit with, by far, the broadest and most complex mission. Enrollment is one measure of our sheer size.

Slide 13

A&S Fall Enrollment Breakdown and Comparison

 

 

 


2004-20052005-20062006-20072007-20082008-20092009-20102010-20112011-2012
Undergraduate
8182819178787833 7795784382488386
Graduate800798939885 848875898889
Total8982 8989 8817 8718 8643 8718 9146 9275


+ 0.1 %-1.9%-1.1%-0.9% +0.9% +5.0%+1.4

As these data indicate, our enrollment is still increasing. If other academic units continue to admit fewer students—or if some of them become senior colleges (again), this enrollment trend will continue.

Because we offer nearly all general education courses, A&S serves the entire undergraduate population of the university and our role, unlike that of our sister academic units, extends far beyond our own students. Consequently, the most accurate measure of our centrality is not enrollment in A&S, but enrollment in A&S courses—which translates into credit hour production. Using this measure, we generate more credit hours than ALL other academic units combined—more than 52 percent of all University credit hours and more than 60 percent of all undergraduate credit hours. And, of course, since students must pay tuition for these courses, credit hour production translates directly into tuition revenue. Thus, in the breadth and magnitude of our responsibility for teaching and serving students, we lead the university—by far.

Side 14

Credit Hour Production by Academic Unit: 2010-2011

 

 


Credit Hours%
A&S286,45252.3
Education59,09210.8
Business49,1059.0
Speed39,5077.2
Medicine32,9986.0
Dentistry21,4783.9
Nursing16,3283.0
Law12,2432.2
Music12,1292.2
Kent10,5621.9
Public Health2,7720.5
Total547,323

Still, accommodating such a large number of students and maintaining the quality of their academic experience—with fewer resources in real dollars—is a daunting challenge. We have minimized the adverse impact of recent budget cuts through careful management, but no management strategy has meant as much as your hard work, creativity and commitment to quality in making a difference in the lives of thousands of students.

Although the overall loss of permanent funds has been significant, it has been offset, to some extent, by new sources of one-time funds—the most important of which has been revenue from on-line course offerings, with a 373 percent increase since 2004-2005.

Slide 15

Distance Education Revenue


2004-20052005-2006 2006-20072007-20082008-2009 2009-20102010-2011

$1,009,529$1,508,079 $1,915,204 $2,584,899$3,300,462$3,879,203$4,776,814


+49.4%
+27.0%+35.0%+27.7%+17.5%+23.1%

Along with generating new revenue, we remain effective in our fundraising efforts—even in a weak economy. For example, in 2010-2011, our Annual Fund and other giving campaigns garnered roughly $3 million. We have established a national advisory board and are working to raise $35,000,000 in the next few years through the university’s “capital campaign.”

As you know, increasing the number of tenured or tenure-track faculty in A&S is our over-arching goal—both in itself and as a means to the achievement of our many other goals. We cannot be a true community of scholars without the presence of a critical mass of outstanding tenured and tenure-track faculty committed to teaching, research and service. We have achieved the lower threshold of that critical mass, but must grow our numbers significantly to become a truly great college of the liberal arts and sciences.

 

Slide 16

Number of Full-Time Faculty Comparison

2005-20062006-2007 2007-2008 2008-20092009-20102010-20112011-2012
367.6 FTE380.4 FTE 391.04 FTE400.91 FTE394.06 FTE399.90 FTE404.90 FTE

+3.5 % +2.8 %+2.5%-1.7%+1.5%+1.3%

As shown in this table, our full-time faculty numbers grew significantly in the early years of our Plan, but have remained essentially flat since the budget collapse in 2008-2009. Fortunately, that is changing—and for the better. As you know, a few months ago, President Ramsey approved a plan to reduce the number of contingent faculty in A&S—i.e., term and part-time faculty. Under this plan, over the next five years, we will convert roughly forty term lines to tenure track and convert another ten from lecture lump sum. In other words, the university will supplement the A&S funds that support these positions to make the conversions possible—which will add nearly $1.5 million to our total budget and fifty more tenurable faculty by 2016.

Despite the many demands on their time, A&S faculty members remain extremely productive in their scholarship and creative work. In traditional terms, our faculty average nearly two refereed publications or creative works each year—impressive indeed, with many in the most prestigious venues. In addition, our faculty members have been successful in attracting extramural research funding—although funding levels are fluctuating rather dramatically due to the vagaries of federal and other funding sources.

Slide 17

Extramural Research Funding (PIs Only)

2004-20052005-2006 2006-20072007-20082008-20092009-20102010-2011
$12,804,485$10,966,772$13,866,320 $8,472,228$11,009,153$9,083,873$7,017,220

-14.4 %+27.4 %-38.9%+29.0-21.2%-22.8%

To address these fluctuations, we plan to employ a grant writer in our research office. This individual will not write grants for you, but will help you develop and refine your ideas and submit competitive proposals. We believe that A&S has tremendous untapped potential for extramural funding—particularly in the social sciences. It is important to remember that, because U of L’s research mission was built using Bucks for Brains funds—and, under state guidelines, nearly all of those funds were channeled into the health sciences, the hard sciences and engineering—most of our growth in extramural funding has been in these areas. However, if you survey the landscape of American higher education, the social sciences actually lead the funded research effort at many great universities. There is no reason why that could not be true at the University of Louisville.

We depend on the skills and dedication of a large contingent of support and administrative staff members. They do the work that most of us are not trained to do—and are truly colleagues in the finest sense. Please note that their numbers have grown because of grants, the expansion of Advising, and changes in the employment status of post-docs.

Slide 18

Number of Staff Comparison

2005-20062006-20072007-20082008-20092009-20102010-2011 2011-2012
147.55 FTE164.50 FTE170.80 FTE 184.80 FTE185.32 FTE203.53 FTE203.99 FTE

+11.5 %+3.8%+8.2%+0.3%+9.8%+0.2

As an extension of our teaching mission, A&S plays a central role in retaining and graduating undergraduate students. Put simply yet again, if we serve our large student population effectively, institutional retention and graduation rates rise, and the national stature and reputation of the University are enhanced.

Slide 19

University Retention and Graduation Rates

 

Graduated in:

Admitted4 Years 5 Years6 Years
199510.9%25.8% 33.4%
199811.1%27.1%33.2%
200115.9%35.6%43.6%
200421.2%42.0%48.6%

- Prepared by: Office of Institutional Research & Planning

A&S houses and/or supports many programs that enrich the student experience—e.g., Honors, the McConnell Scholars, the Porter Scholars, and many others. Students served by these programs fare extremely well academically. Of course, these students were faring well when the University reported a 33.2 percent six-year graduation rate in 2004-2005. What has changed most in recent years is how we serve all other A&S students—and that must change even more dramatically in the years to come. Three powerful forces have triangulated to make raising our six-year graduation rate an even higher priority. Phi Beta Kappa tells us that we should be graduating at least 60 percent of our students. The 15K/55K initiative to raise educational attainment levels in Metro Louisville is asking us to contribute significantly more college graduates to the local economy. And, most important of all, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has mandated that we work toward a 64 percent graduation rate by 2020.

We have taken pride in and earned national attention for the rate at which we have increased graduation rates in recent years. This increase has been impressive—even moreso for African American students—and I should add that the graduation rate for all students admitted to A&S is higher than the university rate. However, we should not forget that the absolute standard for institutions with our profile is roughly 65 percent and we must now confront the challenge of achieving that standard.

In 2010-2011, we continued to lead university diversity and outreach efforts. Over 20 percent of our tenurable and term faculty are persons of color; over 40 percent are women. Award-winning programs such as the Saturday Academy, NETWORK, U of L at the Yearlings Club and the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research have established themselves over the past several years. Furthermore, at the request of the President and Provost in 2007, we have coordinated university efforts to forge partnerships with most local museums, historic homes and cultural institutions. The resulting Center for Arts and Culture Partnerships is growing in numbers and impact—and has the potential to become a regional model.

We have also taken great strides in global education—with formal relationships now with institutions on all continents, except Antarctica. Increasing numbers of A&S students are pursuing studies in other countries and the A&S Office of International Programs is exploring even more opportunities for exchange and study abroad. Australia is our next destination.

So, this is the proverbial “bottom line,” the “state” of the College of Arts and Sciences as we begin the 2011-2012 academic year. All of you have contributed to these achievements in some way, large or small, and I commend and thank you.

But the “state of the college” at a given point in time is only a snapshot. And, as I did in my first “State of the College” message, I would like to explore the larger context in which that snapshot is situated—from the perspective of, in the words of William Butler Yeats, “what is past, or passing or to come.”

 

Slide 20

A&S Logo

The 2010-2011 academic year was quite eventful—a year of progress, achievement and more than a few paradoxes. As you know, our pursuit of membership in Phi Beta Kappa was unsuccessful— again. However disappointing this news, the pursuit itself brought many, many tangible and intangible benefits to the College of Arts and Sciences. Phi Beta Kappa set a high standard for our academic programs and services—a national, if not international, standard—and we have met that standard by protecting programs that were already mature and strong, strengthening programs that were younger and weaker, and adding new programs where and when we could.

Make no mistake, we have not achieved perfection. There is no program in A&S that is as strong or as well-resourced as it could be. But, likewise, there is no program in A&S that is not stronger than it was a decade ago—in terms of either the number of faculty, quality of facilities, menu of academic programs, research dollars, graduation rates of students or any combination of these measures.

We have produced a record that rivals that of A&S units at institutions far more prestigious than the University of Louisville. So, in that respect, Phi Beta Kappa acknowledged that we were “good enough” to shelter a chapter. However, the Committee on Qualifications chose not to recommend us for membership for two reasons. First, our graduation rate was too low, although, frankly, that issue had never been raised as a problem when we submitted our preliminary application or our general application or even by the site visit team.

Second, Phi Beta Kappa, as noted by the site visit team in March, also identified the key threat to the realization of our ambitious goals, a threat rooted in the fiscal realities of our time. We have indeed produced a formidable record—but we have done so with far fewer resources and far more creative financing. My sense is that, as I have shared with the President, the Provost and our application committee, Phi Beta Kappa did not feel that, however strong we are, we were quite ready to “join the country club” just yet. In any case, while our pursuit of membership in Phi Beta Kappa will continue, we have made no final decision on whether to apply again in 2012 or wait until 2015.

Still, these budgetary issues will not be resolved in the near future. Even though tax revenues in Kentucky are rising, the U. S. economy remains weak, unemployment remains high and the American middle class continues to shrink. Here, while we all appreciate the first real salary increases in three years, I must tell you that we are funding those increases in part with yet another budget reduction. The bottom-line, of course, is that what we have built as a college over the past several years may not be sustainable.

In other words, notwithstanding the quality of our results, we still depend far too much on one-time money, on revenue from distance education and on teaching faculty who are not tenured or tenurable. These are simple facts and we have raised these issues for years with the Provost and President—and, indeed, addressing their implications is at the heart of our strategic plan.

Why is it important that we meet and surmount these challenges? Every college and university has a PR plan that trumpets its aspirations to achieve greatness. The University of Kentucky has a “top 20” plan—as do many other institutions. We have “dared to be great” and now invoke the mantra of “it’s happening here.” And we all know that there can only be twenty “top 20” universities—or only a few departments at the “top” of the hierarchy in their disciplines, or only so much NIH or NSF funding to spread across a growing number of research institutions, or only so many colleges that can become universities. Everyone is “daring to be great” and most will pursue this phantom goal, which is all-too-often based more on appearances and “spin” than on reality, and fail.

It is critically important that we define this goal in terms that make sense to us and succeed in achieving it. What difference will this make—and why?

There are two possible futures before us. A generation or two from now, either we, as a college and university, will stand on the high plateau of American higher education or we will languish in the lowlands. Our goal is that high plateau and we have come very far indeed toward achieving it since becoming a fully public institution in 1970. Our journey has been long, with many twists and turns, and I have had the good fortune to have witnessed most of it and to have played a part in some of it.

I remember what we were before 1970 because I was a student here—and a few of you remember as well. U of L was truly a municipal institution, a streetcar college, and A&S was very much a traditional liberal arts college—relatively small, fairly expensive and proud of our reputation for excellent teaching. Many of our faculty members were memorable, a few even rather colorful. Research was not a critically important expectation and tenure did not depend on very much of it.

Speed School was a different world across Eastern Parkway. Music, Business, Education and Social Work were teaching units as well—and some were smaller than many of our departments today. Even the Medical and Dental Schools were primarily teaching units—far from the research and clinical practice enterprises they have become. And, of course, we were also on the verge of bankruptcy.

This was a very good college in which to be a student, but we were not on anyone’s national radar or any lists of superlative programs or institutions. We did great work and many of our graduates left their imprint on the world, but, if we were known for anything, it was for our basketball team.

In 1970, President Woodrow Strickler negotiated our way into the state system of public higher education—at a status close to that of the University of Kentucky. He saved the University of Louisville and positioned us so that greatness might one day be possible. And, in my humble opinion, if we ever erect a statue to one of our past leaders, President Strickler would certainly get my vote. Unfortunately, President Strickler became ill and eventually died—and could not lead the transition he set in motion.

Through the 1970s, the James Grier Miller era, we grew much larger, cheaper and much more diverse academically, racially and socio-economically. We embraced the “urban mission” and President Miller’s goal of being “Harvard on the Ohio”—without knowing what either of those concepts meant. We struggled, often unsuccessfully, to claim our place in Kentucky higher education—although the University of Kentucky and the regional institutions feared having a new rival and banded together to limit our funding. Thus, by 1980 and the end of the Miller era, we were, in many respects, just a larger and more confused version of what we were in 1970. We had not yet realized, I believe, just how difficult it would be, how much it would cost and how long it takes to change fundamentally from one “type” of university to another.

President Donald Swain, over his nearly fifteen-year tenure, guided the university more confidently and more rationally down a less ambitious but more realistic path. We fared better in the competition for state dollars, although true parity remained elusive. Many old programs disappeared and new ones were born. Old academic units were closed and new ones were invented, only to be closed themselves a few years later. Eventually, the university came to resemble structurally the university of today.

A&S nearly doubled in student enrollment when University College closed in 1982, but did not double in faculty numbers—resulting in our continuing over-reliance on part-time faculty. We were non-selective in admissions and even prided ourselves on a low graduation rate—misinterpreting it as evidence of our academic rigor. The definition of faculty work also changed—and, while our teaching loads did not change, our expectations for tenure became more stringent. Clearly, the values of the “old” university were at odds with the realities of the “new” one.

Thus, by the time President Swain retired, we were a stronger institution—occupying a rather comfortable niche populated by hundreds of other non-selective state institutions with little funded research and few doctoral programs. However, I should add that we were not necessarily a stronger College of Arts and Sciences. Most new state dollars bypassed A&S and we were often viewed as the university’s problem children—too committed to inconvenient academic values and in need of stronger regulation by higher authorities. And, even though President Swain held his faculty appointment in our Department of History, we were not his favorite colleagues.

President John Shumaker inherited the objective achievements of the Swain era. However, rather than simply building incrementally on the foundation that he inherited, he determined to move beyond it—to enter the national arena and pursue a grand vision of national prominence as a research institution.

This vision was, for many, as intoxicating and inspiring as that of being “Harvard on the Ohio” thirty years before. What it lacked, I would argue, was an honest appraisal of how long and how difficult this new transformation would be—and, frankly, how much it would cost, particularly since we lacked a pre-existing research infrastructure. Lacking as well was a formula, a guide, to help us build the funded research mission and sustain our longstanding instructional and service missions at the same time. In retrospect, we chased new dollars and called it a plan. We grew where the availability of new resources such as Bucks for Brains made it easiest to grow—not necessarily where it was most important to grow. And some contended that all other university goals should be subsumed to the one over-arching goal of increasing funded research—and, by implication, that faculty who brought in research dollars were somehow more important in the scheme of things than faculty who did not, however prominent they may be as published scholars. We grew unevenly. Some parts of the university advanced rapidly; others, like A&S, hardly changed at all. And, as we all know, standing still when everything else is moving—means falling behind.

Which brings us to the fascinating crossroads at which the university stands today under President Jim Ramsey—a university both old and new, still undergoing a second transformation that remains unfinished, with no guarantees that we will have, in the coming decades, the resources or the leadership or the will or the good fortune to see it through to the end.

More than any academic unit, we live this dilemma each day. We are responsible, directly, or indirectly, for serving most undergraduate students. We maintain a high standard for traditional scholarly productivity—particularly given the heavier teaching loads needed to support our teaching mission. We continue to grow our funded research mission. And we strive to accomplish all of this and build greater diversity, go global, graduate more students, engage the surrounding community and raise millions of dollars at the same time. Other academic units may have the luxury of having one, narrowly defined mission—organized around one discipline or family of disciplines. We do not. For A&S, achieving a sustainable balance between the needs of our many academic programs and between the many other components of our mission is and has always been our core mission and our key challenge.

For example, there is probably no one in this room today who does not believe that his or her program needs more of one thing or another—and that belief is probably correct. Likewise, there is probably no one in this room today who does not harbor the suspicion that some other program has more than it needs. That suspicion, from my perspective as dean, is probably incorrect. Achieving balance, when there are woefully inadequate resources, means that no one starves but no one is overfed (or fat and happy) either.

I could tell you that significantly more is possible in the foreseeable future, but that would not be true—and we cannot achieve real results if we do not operate in the real world. Rather, my point is simple: by any objective measure, A&S today is stronger and better than it was a decade ago. Our task, in our time, is to continue moving forward toward our goal of being a world-class college of the liberal arts and sciences. And we must do so across all A&S programs and functions, not sacrificing the needs of one set of priorities to the needs of another—or simply losing the will to move forward. And we must do so largely on our own.

The question is—how? Let me answer that question with one of my favorite anecdotes about one of my favorite historical figures.

Between May 8 and May 21, 1864, Union soldiers under the command of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant fought a series of bloody battles in northern Virginia with Confederate forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee. Grant hoped that the “Battle of the Wilderness” would bring a quick end to the Civil War and, when it did not, he came under intense criticism for heavy Union casualties early in the battle. Undeterred by his critics, Grant sent a terse dispatch on May 11, declaring simply that “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all year.” Grant was right. Grant knew that he had the right instrument, at the right place, at the right time—and that, eventually, in a war of attrition, he would bludgeon Lee into submission. Grant would be a great general in today’s army; Lee would have been a great field marshal for Napoleon. Nearly a year would pass, but on April 12, 1865, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse and the Civil War was over.

For us, the battle line and battle strategy are simple, fundamental and proven by our own experience: We have been most successful when we concentrated our talents and our resources on what is most important to us: educating students; advancing knowledge through scholarship; and pursuing social justice through service. If we “fight it out on this line,” we may not win every battle, but this college and this university will stand eventually on that high plateau.

 

So, our agenda for 2011-2012 is both simple and challenging. We have several key priorities:

  • First, we must manage our resources with care and prepare for yet another budget reduction.
  • Second, we must devise and implement strategies to continue increasing our student retention and graduation rates.
  • Third, we must implement the contingent faculty reduction plan.
  • Fourth, we must raise our research productivity.
  • Fifth, as funds permit, we must strengthen both our newer and our more mature programs.

 

Slide 21

A&S Priorities: 2011-2012

  • Budget (and possible reduction)
  • Improve retention and graduation rates
  • Implement contingent faculty reduction plan
  • Raise research productivity
  • Strengthen programs

Slide 22

A&S Logo

Let me conclude by thanking all of you for your support over the past seven and a half years. As you know, last year was my decanal review year—the first decanal review in A&S in nearly thirty years. As the person under review, I had less involvement in and less knowledge of the review process than any of you. However, once I became aware of the results, I was extremely pleased that such a large majority of A&S faculty, staff, students and alumni expressed such broad support. And I thank all of you for that.

In the years ahead, there will be no surprises. I will always strive to grow as a person and as an academic professional, but I will not become a fundamentally different person. Our priorities will not change and we will continue moving purposefully toward the same goals. If we have problems, we will strive to solve them. If we have issues, we will strive to address them. We will not always agree, but we must remain committed to two simple propositions: one, that we must strive for excellence in teaching, research and service as individuals, departments and programs, and as a college; and, two, that we must work together if we would succeed.

It has been and will continue to be my honor to serve as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. And as I look forward to the next five years, I am sobered by the challenges before us—they are daunting and real. But I am also excited by the opportunities and possibilities.

Once again, I thank all of you.

Slide 22

Reminder about reception

Please join us for a reception in the Hite Art Galleries in Schneider Hall. Thank you and good afternoon.


jbh

08/23/11