This is my first column for Inside CUA as your new President, and my first written communication for the entire University community. In the two months since I arrived, I have met many people on campus and learned a great deal about the University. It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. Like the freshmen who joined us for the first time last week, I approach the future at Catholic University with great anticipation and eagerness.
||President John Garvey addresses new students and their families during Orientation on Aug. 26. |
Our freshmen have plenty of company in their shared adventure, for there are many of them. In fact our freshman enrollment has broken all previous records. For the first time in CUA’s history we have crossed the threshold of more than 1,000 new students. That’s a notable achievement. It also means that those of us in the administration, faculty and staff need to work hard to integrate these students fully into our university life. One important way in which we will accomplish this goal is by accommodating our new students in learning communities through the second iteration of the First Year Experience. Enhanced advising will complement the comprehensive array of resources we will be offering to our freshmen.
Along with our freshman students, we welcome a number of new faculty to campus. Twenty tenure track faculty have joined our ranks. For them, the Provost sponsors and conducts a three-day workshop, followed by six additional meetings focused on the tools for faculty success throughout their first year with us.
We will have an opportunity to meet these and the other new members of the CUA community — including our new graduate and transfer students — face to face at our traditional Mass of the Holy Spirit on Thursday, Sept. 2. I very much look forward to this Mass, which has grown so popular in recent years that we have had to move it from the Basilica’s Crypt Church to the Great Upper Church. The celebrant and homilist for the Mass will be our chancellor, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl.
There will be a new wrinkle to this year’s Mass. For the first time it will be broadcast live by EWTN TV (and rebroadcast the same day at midnight). Since, as in years past, classes will be cancelled, I hope that all of you will be able to come to the Mass, which begins at 12:10 p.m., and then join us for the university picnic on the mall. I look forward to greeting you there, especially those whom I did not have an opportunity to meet when I was introduced in June.
There will also be a new wrinkle to this year’s picnic. One of our alumni, Brookland resident Robert Malesky, has written the first pictorial history of CUA, which was published in the spring. Our Bookstore will have a table at the picnic where the book will be available for purchase, and Mr. Malesky will be on hand to sign it.
The publication of Mr. Malesky’s book at this time is fortuitous because in drawing attention to Catholic University’s rich history, it foreshadows an important milestone that will be occupying some of our attention in the months to come. In April 2012 we will mark the 125th anniversary of Catholic University’s founding. We will have a number of events leading up to that milestone, with an official launch of the anniversary year in April 2011.
The end of 2011 will also mark five years since the adoption of our current university strategic plan, approved by our Board of Trustees in December 2006. The plan was designed to be implemented within five years. This means that at the beginning of 2012 we should have a new strategic plan in place. The process for preparing the new strategic plan was one of the topics of the first President’s Council meeting that I convened on July 27. As I stated to the Vice Presidents that day, I intend to make the process as transparent and inclusive as possible. The details remain to be worked out; I will be sharing them with you after that has occurred.
One of the resources that will inform our strategic planning process is the institutional self-assessment that we conducted for the highly successful Middle States reaccreditation. The Division of Academic Affairs is setting up a number of committees and related implementation steps to follow up on the reaccreditation in order to sustain the momentum we have achieved in institutional research and student learning assessment.
An important strategic objective of the 2006 plan was to implement 10 new applied master's programs and tracks over a three-year period. It’s worth noting that that objective has been met and exceeded. As of this fall, 13 programs and tracks are up and running, with two additional programs scheduled for Fall 2011 startup.
Some of you may be wondering about plans for my inauguration as President. That will take place on Nov. 18 in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. One of the considerations in choosing that date was to make it convenient for as many bishops as possible to attend, given our status as the bishops’ university. As it happens, all the U.S. Catholic bishops will be meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 15-18. I will share more information about inauguration day as plans are finalized.
|On Aug. 24. President Garvey hosted a luncheon for the commanders of the Fourth and Fifth Police Districts in Washington, D.C. CUA is in the Fourth District and Brookland is in the Fifth District. Here he chats with Fourth District Commander Kimberly Chisley-Missouri.
Presidential inaugurations traditionally are important occasions at colleges and universities. Catholic University is no different from the norm. I have selected a theme for my inaugural year that speaks to the direction in which I hope to take CUA during my tenure as president: Intellect and Virtue: The Idea of a Catholic University. I will underscore that theme during the Nov. 18 inauguration and also hope, with the collaboration of Dr. Brennan and others, to organize an academic symposium exploring it more deeply during the Spring semester.
Finally, figuratively speaking, I would like to briefly substitute my thinking cap for a hard hat. Those of you who have had occasion to pass by the South Campus area have noticed that it is fenced off. We are in the process of applying for permits to demolish the old residence halls and hope to accomplish that by the end of this calendar year. You may have seen the great news, announced on Aug. 16, that the developer of our South Campus, Abdo Development, has secured financing for the project by teaming with the Bozzuto Group and Pritzker Realty Group. These two new partners will be a great addition to the team and make it a virtual certainty that we will break ground on the new project before the end of 2011.
Let me close by saying how eager I am to begin our first year together. Mary, Seat of Wisdom and patron of our University, pray for our undertaking.