President for a Day
Student Zander Yeiser and I switched spots on Wednesday, March 2; he won a raffle sponsored by the track teams at the College. I knew Zander took his responsibility seriously when I saw him in the office with a sharp suit and tie, and I received reports throughout the day that he had great questions and offered insightful suggestions. (Feel free to insert your favorite joke here about that being a nice change of pace in the President’s Office.) He and I had a chance to debrief at the end of the day, and I suspect that conversation may be part of a video from the day that is being developed.
Meanwhile, I heard student presentations in CS 302 and had the chance to paint in Art 205. I proved to be a quick study, if I do say so myself--it only took twice for me to figure out that when Bob Tarrell said, “You might consider using this brush” he really meant, “Stop what you are doing and use this brush.” In between classes, I worked a shift in TAC, where they let me create a couple of replacement IDs (you are welcome, Cassie Wickersham), check in some equipment, and swap out two monitors near Edgewood Central. It was fun to see the reactions of people to seeing me in jeans and a sweatshirt and it gave me a different perspective on the student experience. I appreciate all of you who played along for making it a memorable day for both me and Zander!
Judicial Policies Update
As I shared last week, I will announce soon the composition of the task force charged with
reviewing and recommending changes to the current policy and process around Sexual Misconduct.
I believe that our current policy, revised in 2013 with the input of faculty, staff, and Trustees,
complies with federal guidelines and incorporates a number of best practices; I also suspect that we
can make improvements through such a review. In engaging with student leaders, it is clear that their
concern extends beyond this particular process, and as I incorporate student feedback into the
process and timeline the scope of our review may change.
A special note of thanks to those of you who have supported helping our students translate their
beliefs into informed, productive action—and I was pleased that the Cap Times picked up on that
important dimension of this story. It is likely that student activism will continue to be part of the
higher education landscape. Done well, it can serve as an important learning experience for students,
faculty, staff, and administrators. I have been extraordinarily impressed with the constructive,
thoughtful approach taken by our student leaders—that certainly reflects well on those individuals
and this learning community.
Finally, I am grateful for the notes of support and thoughtful comments from so many of you in
recent days. While I have not had the opportunity to reply individually to all of you who reached
out, please know that your encouragement means a great deal.
The 2016-17 operating budget process is nearing completion. I will be discussing a preliminary
resolution with the Cabinet and with the Planning & Budget Committee this week; their feedback
will inform the resolution I will bring forward to the Finance, Audit, and Investment Committee of
the Board (and then the full Board) in April. I will next share an update at the April 11 College
I promised but that I would occasionally share when (and why) I’m out of the office.
- In recent years I have served as a consultant-evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission, and I will be participating in a site visit March 14-16. That means that even if you are working on campus that week, you will still have more fun the week of spring break than I will!
- I’ve been invited by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in “Championing Completion: Improving College Outcomes for Pell Students.” A select number of college and university presidents nationwide have been invited to attend this day-long meeting at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. on March 24; participants were chosen for the success our institutions have had in helping students from the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum succeed. I look forward to this opportunity to contribute to the national dialogue on a critical topic!
- April contains a number of state and regional meetings for presidents. On April 11, presidents from our athletic conference meet at Aurora University. On April 18, the state meeting of Wisconsin Campus Compact will be held at the Medical College of Wisconsin. And a couple of days later (April 20), WAICU presidents gather at Ripon College.
Did you see?
- Edgewood College was recognized twice among the “Best of Madison 2016” poll conducted by Madison Magazine. The Music Department was recognized in the “Classical Arts Group” category—in good company, to be sure, alongside the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. And the Theatre Arts Department was recognized in the “Performing Arts Group” category, with American Players Theatre and Forward Theater. Congratulations to our colleagues in music and the theatre arts for that well-deserved recognition!
- Our own Christine Benedict was recognized by InBusiness magazine as one of Madison’s 40 under 40, their annual list of young leaders in the Madison community. You already know of Christine’s leadership in enrollment here at the College. You might not know of her ability to quote the Rolling Stones or affinity for brewing beer, or that she’s also been a leader in a number of ways off campus as well.
- Richard Blanco, the poet for President Obama’s 2012 inauguration, was on campus for the better part of a week as part of the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program. I had a chance to spend some time with Richard near the start of his visit and near the end, and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy his time engaging with our students, faculty, and staff. In addition to spending time on campus, Richard was interviewed by Channel 3. And his poetry reading on Thursday, February 25 was outstanding!
- The annual Aquinas lecture, held on March 7, was a fabulous example of so many things that make Edgewood College special. The event itself draws on our Dominican Catholic identity. Special thanks to panelists Vicki Clark (Manager of the Bookstore and Mail Center who holds an MA in Theology), Professor Steven Davis, Assistant Professor Jill Kirby, and Associate professor Tim Kuhman. The variety of approaches taken by these scholars on the panel highlighted the value of a multifaceted approach to the search for truth and the pursuit of justice. Not least importantly, we were reminded of our commitment to sustainability throughout their discussion of the Pope’s most recent encyclical. Please join me in thanking those who organized and participated in the event!