The Catholic University of America

Inside CUA Nameplate

From the President's Desk

 

 
  A student speaks at the November 1 town hall meeting on the Strategic Plan.

 

It feels like the semester started only yesterday. With Thanksgiving behind us (I hope it was wonderful) and the promise of cold weather rolling in, we are preparing for the close of another semester. I’d like to start by mentioning a few important things we still have left for this calendar year.

Last December I used this column to introduce you to our process for developing a new Strategic Plan. On December 13 our Board of Trustees will vote on whether to adopt the Strategic Plan, now in its 26th draft. The Academic Senate approved it on November 17. It highlights 200 specific actions to address our four main goals for the University over the next 10 years: promote the distinctive Catholic culture of the University; strengthen the University’s academic excellence; enhance the student collegiate experience; and improve the experience of work at the University.

We have also been developing a new Master Plan that will support the objectives of the Strategic Plan, particularly with respect to improvements to our facilities and landscape, with a view to creating a more cohesive campus and a better collegiate experience. On December 5 at 5 p.m. we will hold a town hall meeting in Caldwell Hall Auditorium to discuss the latest draft of the Master Plan. Ayers Saint Gross, the University’s planning consultant on this project, will present it. I invite you all to join us and share your thoughts. We will also be presenting the draft Master Plan to the Board of Trustees at its December meeting.

From December 5 to 9 the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music will present a series of performances in Hartke Theatre during the school’s first-ever Hartke Week. It will include performances by the two major instrumental ensembles on campus, a gala performance by the school’s voice program, and a concert by Great Noise Ensemble, made up of our artists in residence. These performances are an exciting, new occasion for our students, staff, and faculty to hear the many talented musicians and ensembles sponsored by the school right here on campus. I hope you will take advantage of this great opportunity.

 
President John Garvey, Christopher Grech, Mary Leary, J. Steven Brown, and Provost James Brennan at the Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence.

 
 

November has been a busy month. On November 9 we celebrated the teaching achievements of three of our faculty members. Mary G. Leary, associate professor at the Columbus School of Law; Christopher P. Grech, associate professor of architecture and planning; and J. Steven Brown, associate professor of mechanical engineering were awarded the 2011 Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Our School of Nursing hosted the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), an autonomous accrediting agency, for an on-site evaluation. The CCNE On-Site Team, which wrapped up its three-day visit on November 9, had wonderful things to say about our nursing school.

On November 9 we also broke ground on our south campus development, Monroe Street Market. The project, which will bring retail and arts space, attractive public spaces, and more living opportunities to our neighborhood, is a big step toward a better future for our campus and our neighbors in Brookland. I was very happy to welcome D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Member Harry Thomas Jr., and a number of local neighborhood leaders to the groundbreaking, and to witness the enthusiasm with which they greeted the new project. It will bring amenities to those who live and work here and will greatly improve the streetscape of the neighborhood.

During November we also reached the halfway point in our 125,000 hours of Cardinal Service. In a ceremony on November 9 (what a busy day that was) we marked 62,500 hours of service completed. We are thrilled that many of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have participated in this initiative. However, only a minority of our students, faculty, and staff have logged hours to date. As we move forward I want to urge those who have not taken part to join in this celebration of our rich Catholic tradition. Our goal is to unite the whole Catholic University community in this project.

 
  Garvey speaks at the Monroe Street Market groundbreaking.

 

Since the next issue of Inside CUA won’t appear until February 1, I’d like to mention a few things that are coming up in January. On January 23 the March for Life will take place on the mall in Washington, D.C. For many years our students have participated in the March and provided hospitality to other participants who travel to the area for the occasion. This is a great opportunity to serve the unborn, and to assist those who defend the right to life.

Our 125th anniversary celebration will continue with a Mass in honor of our Patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, on January 26 celebrated by Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P. On January 27 Father Shanley will give a lecture titled “Saint Thomas Aquinas: Companion and Patron.” Before his appointment as President of Providence College, Father Shanley was a professor of philosophy at Catholic University. We look forward to having him back for this special occasion.

Also in celebration of our 125th anniversary, University Archives has created an exhibit that will be displayed at the May Gallery in Mullen Library beginning on January 10. The display will include items that explore the history of Catholic University’s buildings, athletics, academics, music, and residence halls.

December is a challenging month for those of us at a Catholic university. It means rushing to finish up the semester, and preparing for final exams and papers. For many of us it is the busiest time of the semester. But it’s also a month that holds promise of a new beginning as we finish up our term papers and final exams. It is the moment that we celebrate new life, especially the life of Jesus. Take the time to prepare for Christmas. Join us for the Annual Christmas Concert for Charity on December 2, or take an hour to pray at Advent Adoration on December 7-8. Keep Jesus at the heart of your Advent and Christmas seasons.

May your Christmas be filled with hope and joy.