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"Joining the team"

by Smith,Ukiah last modified Jun 29, 2009 10:50 AM

"Joining the team," UofL magazine, Fall 2002

Increased university research leads to increased economic development opportunities. And it brings about benefits in health care, education, business and other areas that will enhance the quality of life for each of us.

I have always felt especially close to U of L and its students, faculty and administrative team. As an educator, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching economics at the university for the past three years. As the state’s budget director, I’ve worked closely with the university’s senior leadership team on U of L’s financial priorities. I learned that they’re tough negotiators with a shared vision who make sure the university meets its goals.

So I was honored and humbled when asked to join the leadership team as U of L’s acting president after my predecessor, Carol Garrison, accepted the presidency of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (see story on page 8). Dr. Garrison’s recruitment to UAB and the earlier recruitment of President John Shumaker to lead the University of Tennessee system speak volumes about the national respect U of L has earned in recent years.

Leading the way

U of L was immediately on board in the mid-90s when Gov. Paul Patton began looking at a new approach to Kentucky higher education. As a comprehensive review of our higher education system took place, our legislators’ goals were to build academic cooperation and better define the various roles of the state’s colleges and universities.

Their broader goals, of course, were to ensure that Kentucky’s students would benefit from a well-developed higher education system and that our research institutions could increase their contributions to the advancement of the state through the discovery of new knowledge.

It’s working. House Bill 1, the legislation that set the stage for higher education reform—combined with the state’s investment in the Research Challenge Trust Fund, or “Bucks for Brains”—has propelled U of L forward and brought national recognition to the commonwealth.

Maintaining progress

My single goal as the board searches for a permanent president is to ensure, with the help of faculty, staff, trustees and friends, that U of L continues to build upon the incredible progress we have made as a metropolitan teaching and research university.

We have the outstanding guidance of a 10-year plan, the Challenge for Excellence, which was developed with input from the legislature, community and faculty and staff.

Initiated in 1998, the Challenge already has increased interest in the university from top-notch students, strengthened undergraduate and graduate programs tied to the needs of the community and state, and supported new research that contributes to the quality of life and economic success of the region. It also has led to increased public and private support for the university and a rapid rise in our national reputation.

The growth in research is good for students, who have new opportunities to learn from some of the world’s top minds. But it’s also good for every citizen in Kentucky.

Increased university research leads to increased economic development opportunities. And it brings about benefits in health care, education, business and other areas that will enhance the quality of life for each of us.

I’m very proud to serve the University of Louisville as its acting president during these exciting times. Please feel free to contact me at ramsey@louisville.edu with suggestions and ideas.

With your help during the months ahead, U of L will continue its momentum toward our overall goal of preeminence as a metropolitan research and teaching university.

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