The Courage to Change – April 4, 2019


I am working on my comments for the upcoming Town Hall meeting and reflecting upon all of the work that’s been done in the past year. These accomplishments will frame much of the day’s announcements. I know there is some uncertainty, angst and even fear. I want to share part of my opening now in the hope it will allay some of these concerns and set the stage for a positive experience when we gather at 10 a.m. on April 11.

As I look at the recommendations we are sharing today, there is something for everyone to embrace. I have commented to members of the Provost’s Program Review Committee and Deans’ Council that if everyone on this campus approaches these recommendations with an open mind, then it is clear that there is much here that is exciting, that should have been done years ago and that makes so much sense. Will some of these recommendations require that we make changes to our jobs or our units or even colleges? Yes. Here, change is our lifeline. So please keep an open mind, set aside disbelief and focus instead on how you can be part of our future.

There is much to share, and it’s best done in person – not because of any single announcement but because of the courage, significance and complexity tied to the news of the day.

Leadership Announcement

After much thought and consideration, Larry Wofford has resigned as dean of the Collins College of Business effective at the end of the semester. Last year, Larry graciously stepped up to take on this role during a time of transition, and I am deeply appreciative of his leadership during a year that included an AACSB accreditation visit, three significant budget adjustments and participation in the critical work of re-imagining academics at TU. He will be taking a sabbatical during the next academic year to focus on his health and will return to the faculty in fall 2020. On Monday, I met with the college and asked for feedback from faculty and staff about the dean selection – in particular, thoughts about internal candidates whose leadership, priorities and vision align with those of the university. Again, I thank Larry for his work and for the talents and insight he has brought to our university.

Outstanding Teacher Award

The Faculty Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate has selected TU’s 2019 Outstanding Teachers:

  • Clinical Professor Greg Gardner, Kinesiology & Rehabilitative Sciences
  • McFarlin Professor Elana Newman, Psychology
  • Associate Professor Kirsten Olds, Art, Design & Art History

Each of these faculty members have committed themselves not only to their research but to sharing their areas of expertise with our students and creating an environment that fosters a love of learning. Greg, Elana and Kirsten are nationally recognized in their respective fields and represent TU well within a variety of respected organizations, but it is the devotion to teaching our students and feeding their curiosity that makes these three so deserving of this annual honor. I look forward to celebrating with Greg, Elana and Kirsten at commencement on May 4.

With commitment,

Janet Levit

Provost & EVP