November 2010

Please find below my remarks to the Faculty Senate on Friday, November 19, 2010.

Strategic Plan Update

Either later today or Monday, I will be sending to the campus community an email with two significant components:

  • Accountability Report – a document which looks back on the last 5-6 years at UALR, noting both achievements and challenges within the context of UALR Fast Forward. This document in some ways serves both as a closing chapter on UALR Fast Forward and as an introductory chapter to the next strategic plan. Regardless, it is important before articulating plans for the future to understand where the institution is and has been. The accountability report seeks to fulfill this purpose.
  • Rough draft of the new strategic plan and an opportunity for input. The strategic planning committee and subcommittees have been studying, exploring, debating, and drafting for some weeks now, and it is appropriate to share these early thoughts and seek your guidance and feedback. You will find redundancies, some old ideas, and some new ideas – it is not yet a tight document, and there is plenty of room for improvement, modification, and change. I charged the subcommittees with trying to streamline the goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics by eliminating those tasks which are routine, those which are not strategic, those which are not realistic, and those which are not priorities. Kathy Oliverio in my office has put together a response mechanism which allows you to provide feedback after every goal, objective, and strategy, and which provides another box at the very end of each goal’s webpage for submission of additional thoughts and ideas related to that goal. I urge your participation in this feedback opportunity.
Undergraduate Curriculum Revision Task Force Request for Input

Recently, you received a request via email for input related to initial thoughts from the Undergraduate Curriculum Revision Task Force related to their review of the undergraduate curriculum. Let me encourage you to share your thoughts on that project as well.

University of Arkansas Board of Trustees Meeting

I attended the UA Board of Trustees meeting in Fayetteville on behalf of Chancellor Anderson last week. One of the highlights of the meeting from UALR’s perspective was the Board’s official approval of the establishment of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity. As you are aware, the Institute is the result of an extensive planning effort, led by the Chancellor and a group of faculty and staff who have been meeting together for three years, which included gleaning input from interested community leaders and partners. The Institute is designed to bring to bear on the problems related to race and ethnicity the benefits of educational, research, and applied solutions which UALR, with its long history of community engagement, is well-positioned to generate. We certainly anticipate that faculty and students across campus will be engaged in the Institute’s activities. UALR’s Board of Visitors voted at their September Board meeting to recommend the Institute’s approval and the Donaghey Foundation has awarded the university a $200,000 grant over a three-year period to assist the institution in launching this initiative.

Campus-Community Book Discussion

I will send an email just after the Thanksgiving break inviting you to participate in the campus-community book discussion sessions in January. This year’s featured book is Richard Florida’s latest – The Great Reset, a work which guides the reader in viewing the current economic challenges against the backdrop of two major earlier economic crises: the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the Long Depression of the late 19th century. (For additional information) Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine, writes, “The Great Reset shows how new technology and the new geographies of living and working come together to drive recovery….must reading for anyone who wants to understand where we are now and where we are headed.” I am about 2/3 of the way through the book and think you will enjoy its thought-provoking perspectives.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Sincerely yours,
David Belcher
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

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