I enjoyed our visits across campus in December and hope that our conversations offered a window into our current budget challenges as well as next steps with accreditation and program review. Some have asked, “We understand where we have been, but where are we going?” The answer starts with TU’s Strategic Plan and five key objectives as our compass.
- Improvement of retention and graduation rates
- Modest growth in undergraduate, graduate and professional program enrollment
- Modernization of the curriculum in a way that supports a campus-wide culture of innovation
- Provide our students access to an outstanding and diverse faculty and staff
- TU poised as the intellectual engine for economic development and social entrepreneurship in Tulsa
Since the plan was adopted by our Board of Trustees a year ago, we have made considerable progress on a number of initiatives. I encourage you to re-read the document, which outlines specific activities that we will use to measure success. This dashboard provides a high-level overview of our progress, but I would also like to share additional detail around some of our successes.
Green (a great deal of progress)
- Retirement benefits were reinstated in full (Objective 4.1).
- We established an integrated marketing and communications team led by Vice President Bill Handy (Objective 2.6) to coordinate and implement marketing and communications activities that fully support each college, the admissions team, departments across campus and Gilcrease Museum.
- In accordance with our Diversity Action Plan, we hired Matthew Warren to serve as our Title IX coordinator and Amanda Chastang to serve as a diversity and engagement fellow (Objective 4.2).
- We grew our JumpstartTU (Objective 1.3) program for incoming freshmen from 39 students in the first session in the summer of 2017 to 128 in 2018.
- We also offered free summer tuition in 2018 to give current students the opportunity to catch up on credit hours (Objective 1.3).
- The Staff Advisory Council was re-established and empowered and meets regularly to facilitate communication between staff and administration and to help implement the university’s strategic priorities (Objective 4.3).
Yellow (work in progress)
- We have analyzed data to learn more about the root causes of declining retention and graduation rates, and internal teams are working toward various student success initiatives that include mentoring and coaching support (Objective 1.1).
- The Staff Advisory Council has implemented quarterly Staff Commitment Awards to recognize employees who exhibit student support that aligns with the pillars of the TU Commitment (Objective 1.2). This is in addition to the annual team award that was given for the first time in May 2018.
- The Provost’s Program Review Committee and Tulsa Curriculum Review Committee began work in spring 2018 to support Objective 3.1.
- We are assessing co-curricular activities, including TU Athletics, to understand how these activities align with and support our institutional learning outcomes and institutional priorities (Objective 3.5).
- We have initiated steps to revise the process for annual evaluations (Objective 4.4) and the Board of Trustees also implemented a formal review of the president’s performance.
- The Office of Alumni Relations has selected and implemented a software system to accelerate engagement with the TU alumni network (Objective 5.4), and TU is considering executive and professional education opportunities to engage adult learners, as well as alumni.
With your help, I am confident that the university will build on these successes and accomplish even more in 2019. Thank you for all you have done and for your ongoing commitment to continuing our momentum.
Henneke Center RFP
TU is looking to refresh and expand the role of the Henneke Center for Academic Fulfillment. The goal is to broaden the support for faculty in the four areas that form the pillars for center programming (teaching, scholarship, service to the institution and professional leadership and service). We are seeking proposals from faculty for programming and will be selecting an inaugural class of Henneke Fellows. Richard Redner is available to answer questions about submitting a proposal and applying to be a fellow.
Transfer Student Initiative
TU is gathering data for a two-year study with the Gardner Institute to investigate the experiences of transfer students. We have scheduled an informal feedback session for Friday, Jan. 25, from noon to 1 p.m. in 121 Helmerich Hall. We invite you to attend and share your thoughts and experiences. If you have any questions, please contact Robin Ploeger.
I remain deeply grateful for the work of so many across campus. We undoubtedly have significant work ahead. I hope that, collectively, we approach this energizing work of transformation as the moment that we created a vibrant and sustainable university of the future.
Provost and EVP for Academic Affairs