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October 5th Update

  • Sunday, Oct 5, 2014

Thanks to all of you who made suggestions—over 40 of them!—about what to name this communication—it will not always arrive with “Insert Title Here”. There were many good suggestions...so I’m going to ask for your help. Please reply to this email to let me know your reaction to a few of those that seem to rise to the top of the list. You’ll find one of them in the title space the next time you receive this…

Cor ad cor loquitur
Opening Up
Straight Talk
Work in Progress

Many of you also weighed in with feedback for me to consider. Thanks for validating that you found this appropriately informative and for your suggestions about how to make improvements. It wasn’t possible for me to reply to all of your suggestions, but I did review them all and tried to incorporate a few into this version.

Board of Trustees Meeting
As I mentioned last time, the first Board meeting of the year was held on September 18. The main topic for discussion was the residence hall project, which consists of a renovation of existing Regina rooms and the addition of 111 beds to an extension of Regina Hall. Trustees prepared by reviewing a status update about the project, and then engaged in both small- and large-group discussions around the soundness of the assumptions behind that plan and other factors they would advise considering as we move forward. This feedback will be utilized by the President’s Council as well as various Board Committees (Student Life, Buildings & Grounds, Finance & Audit) as we move toward a decision about beginning construction in May 2015. The next Board of Trustees meeting will be on November 20.

Discretionary pool in 2014-15 budget
During last year’s budget process (which led to the development of the current year’s budget—confusing, I know), the Planning & Budget Committee advised holding a pool of resources to address issues that meet one or more criteria: something consistently funded by “soft” money (dollars that need to be raised annually), something that addresses recent growth, or something that could significantly advance the academic and/or strategic plan. We reserved $25,000 for such use.

Based on those criteria, vice presidents and deans generated ideas for consideration by the President’s Council and the Planning & Budget Committee. Informed by conversations by both of those groups and the Deans’ Council, I’ve decided to allocate that pool of funds to the following projects:

  • Community Scholars programming
  • Career Week & the Etiquette Dinner
  • Ongoing appraisal, conservation, and curation of the College’s permanent art collection
  • Student global travel
  • Graduate student travel for presenting at academic conferences

I am excited because the vast majority of these resources will have a direct and positive impact on student learning. Student research, study abroad, civic engagement, and career preparation are deeply engaging, potentially life-changing educational experiences for our students. I appreciate the work of the Planning & Budget Committee in arriving at this outstanding list, and am grateful to those faculty and staff involved in articulating and delivering on these promising ideas.

Affordable Care Act and Benefits
If you’ve been following recent news around health coverage, you know that there are a lot of moving parts around implementation of the ACA. Organizations of all sizes and types are trying to reconcile the challenges of increased costs to both employers and individuals that have come along with implementation of this legislation—and Edgewood College is no exception.

I do not anticipate any substantial changes to our benefit offerings for 2015, though I expect some relatively minor modifications as occurs every year. The Planning and Budget Committee has discussed these, and Michael Guns will be meeting with both Faculty Affairs Committee and the leadership of Staff Association as well.  Please keep your eyes open for announcements from Human Resources about our open enrollment period, which will begin in early November.

Data, Data, Data
E.J. Keeley, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, recently shared with the President’s Council and Deans’ Council the results of the alumni survey conducted this summer. The results are very encouraging: respondents found that the College has prepared them well for their career, further education, lifelong learning, and personal development. This report provides one perspective that, when considered in the context of other data sources (Senior Exit Survey, Student Satisfaction Inventory, etc.), contributes to a full picture of the quality of the student experience.

While we can—and must—always seek ways to improve, we can take great pride in the many positive indicators included in this report. An executive summary of the research will be available soon at the Institutional Research & Assessment website. A special thank you to E.J. and the others across campus who worked on designing, implementing, and making sense of this important project.

Do you know anyone?
I’m pleased to announce the Vice President for Institutional Advancement Search Committee. I have asked Christine Benedict (VP for Enrollment Management) to Chair this committee. She will be joined by Andrea Byrum (Professor of Foreign Languages and Co-Director of the Center for Global Education), Jim Imhoff (Trustee), Derek Johnson (Director of Freshman Admissions), Margaret Noreuil (Dean of the Henry Predolin School of Nursing), and Kathleen Woit (past Trustee).

The job will be posted by early this week, and the search firm assisting us in this process (QTI) has begun the process of reaching out to potential candidates. Feel free to send any nominations to Theresa Balsinger at QTI (theresa.balsiger@qtigroup.com). Please join me in thanking these committee members for their service, and in thanking all of our staff in advancement for keeping things moving during this interim period. They are doing remarkable work, and I am grateful for their talent and commitment.

Deepening international partnership
On Thursday, I had the privilege of signing a Memorandum of Agreement between Edgewood College and SFSC Overseas Education Center (located in Shanghai). This agreement is the culmination of many years of work involving Dr. Carey and a wide variety of faculty and staff. In particular, the College’s Asian Affairs team, led by Binbin Fu, has done marvelous work to craft an agreement that will benefit the College by providing inroads for recruitment of Chinese students to Edgewood College. Perhaps more importantly, Binbin and Dan have built a strong relationship with our partners in China, a relationship I look forward to sustaining as we work toward the goal expressed in the academic plan to make global perspectives a more central part of the educational experience for more students. Please join me in thanking Binbin and his colleagues for their fine work.

What’s coming up?
The College, as always, is host to a number of events--I’m learning more about this as I’m asked to welcome various groups to campus! In the next couple of weeks, we will host the WAICU Chief Information Officers (10/7), a voter forum sponsored by the NAACP (10/9), Family Weekend (10/17-19), and Campus Preview Day for prospective freshmen (10/17). Please extend to these and other visitors our customary warm Edgewood College welcome.

Of course, you can learn more about where I am and what I’m up to by following me on twitter…@sflanaganec