State of the University Address
President Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.
Thank you for taking the time to come today to this semi-annual State of the University address. I realize that this is a busy time of the year. We are well into the second semester. Panels and conferences, classes and scholarly projects, or office work tends to consume us. And the weather does not always help our mood and spirits. Nevertheless, Loyola is a thriving institution and community. Fortunately, our economic turn-around seems to be taking hold, and so I am pleased to talk with you today in a manner that is more up-beat and optimistic.
Signs of Campus Vitality:
Last Friday, February 13th, approximately 60 of us, mostly student leaders, but faculty and staff as well, spent the day discussing the kind of leadership qualities a Loyola education offers and ought to be cultivating. The reports of discussion groups given by students throughout the day were not only informative, they were in fact inspiring. First, the poise, articulateness and insight of the students were exceptional. And the content and the thoroughness of their ideas and recommendations were most impressive. For example, they said that high on their list of factors enabling them to become men and women who will lead extraordinary lives are things like a core curriculum with real breadth and real depth. They cited the example and guidance of the faculty and staff, and the philosophy of education and formation apparent to them in these men and women that stresses self-transcendence, self-donation, and social justice. They spoke of their confidence in receiving an academic preparation in their chosen fields of concentration that is rigorous and relevant. They mentioned programs like EVOKE and Magis as important and distinctive. In short, if we listen to these student leaders they are telling us that they get it; that is, they are able to experience what we are hoping they will experience.
Also, earlier in the week, to cite another example of campus vitality, a panel of professors lead a multi-disciplinary reflection on Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. Another packed event was a lecture presented by the author of Heroic Leadership, Chris Lowney. At Water Tower, Jackey Grimshaw was a featured speaker in a series for Black History Month. Last week, John Haughey's book Revisiting the Idea of Vocation, was delivered to campus. This publication comes out of and is part of the leadership role Loyola is playing in the Lily Endowment program that has seeded dozens of programs like our EVOKE around the country. Fr. Haughey's book is the first to come from any of these grants.
While these were just a few events last week, I know there are numerous other events, symposia, and conferences that drew, in some cases, hundreds of individuals together. I am sure there were dozens more papers and articles published and projects completed as well. The point I want to make is that there is an extraordinary vitality to the campuses, and we seem to be running on all cylinders. Some extraordinary faculty and staff continue to be about the business of preparing students by example and by the sharing of their knowledge, wisdom and skills in order that our students might become men and women who will lead lives that make a difference in this world.
New Programs and Projects:
Let me turn our attention now to some of the projects that have been initiated since my last report to you. I think these projects are worth mentioning because they explain new initiatives and programs that are being launched to keep us moving forward. Some believe we are moving too rapidly. Others, too slowly. I believe however that continuous improvement and implementation of plans to become more competitive are the only way we will position the university to excel internally but also in the eyes of those who might want to join us as faculty or as students. A steady movement forward is the way we will regain any lost footing in recent years.
On Tuesday, faculty received a letter explaining the faculty market equity program whereby we will be adding $4.0 million dollars to faculty salaries at our Lakeside Campus schools over the next two years. You have heard me refer to this as the "peace dividend" following the budget battles of the last ten years. The dividend is made possible, not only because of the cooperation of faculty and staff who were instrumental in streamlining our operation, but also by the excellent work of Terry Richards and his enrollment management team who are restoring our enrollment numbers. I mention Terry and his team each year because they have successfully conveyed the possibilities and the values embodied in a Loyola education to young people and their parents in ways that have brought us record classes. The data so far this year indicates we will be as successful as the previous three years in reaching our targets. We've been turning our attention to shaping the classes who will be coming into Loyola, building up enrollments in under-subscribed areas, building up our minority enrollments and in increasing the academic quality of our students while we lower the financial discount.
For our masters and adult programs, Paul Roberts has been building a better coordinated, a more intentional and strategic marketing and recruiting program. His efforts are showing signs of paying off for us even as the market for some of our professional programs has become more competitive and options more abundant.
Dean Heath is working with a number of faculty and staff on the challenges we face in academic advising and retention. Our retention figures are not unusual or out of line, but when we look at the institutions with which we aspire to compete, we will need to do a better job. Our students still complain about the "Loyola bounce" and the disparate offices that they must deal with for services. We intend to do something about that and are busy working on a service excellence program of better coordination among and between offices. The new Peoplesoft software and hardware which will redesign our student information system will be a user-friendly tool for all of you, faculty and students—in assessing academic status and progress, financial data, and many other things. Dr. John Frendreis and Clare Korineck, our Registrar, are busy with the conversion to this new system with completion anticipated for the '05 school year. This program represents a $10M investment in software and hardware that will improve student services and especially academic advising.
The new governance structure seems to be working well. A recent set of open fora and an assessment tell us that we are achieving a more collaborative process for generating policy and for making recommendations. Each of the UPCs is functioning and each has developed and recommended policy that has been adopted and implemented.
Staff Council is working on a new charter and will be holding elections for membership this spring. They will be assisting us in several areas especially a new staff development program. Another important project that will be assigned to the Staff UPC will be helping set policy for a program similar to the Faculty Market Equity Program, but this program will be for staff, especially those for whom salary compression has become a potential problem.
Also, the Office of Human Resources, under the leadership of Tom Kelly and his staff, has recently completed a reexamination of the benefits program, whereby, at my request and with the assistance of a university policy committee, we have moved from a defined benefits program to a defined contribution program, the same one we have for the faculty. You who are on the payroll are receiving information on the roll-over to the new plan already. Its implementation will be effective around April 1st. It is designed to help us achieve a benefits program that is closer to 28% of salary, and is predictable.
I have asked CFO, Bill Laird, and his staff to out-source our internal auditing functions to achieve a broader range of internal audits. I have also asked him to restructure our investment program so that it is more streamlined and more manageable, as well as more competitive among managers. Our previous program and strategy was unwieldy and overly complex. In addition, Bill has taken on the task of coordinating banking functions under a single bank and of re-aligning our post-award program for support of faculty with externally funded grants to give them better accounting services. This is a continual challenge for us, as it is for many universities, as accounting and financial audits are becoming more complex and as our information systems are under redesign. Dean Yost and his Office of University Research Services have been most helpful with this transition.
It is often said that we should be doing a better job of communicating, both internally and externally, with various constituencies. I have asked Phil Hale to help us manage all of our communications tasks, both our internal programs like Inside Loyola, Loyola Magazine, various announcements and communiques, as well as relations with government and media and other external constituencies, and the new campaign to infuse our print and other programs with our promise—We prepare people to lead extraordinary lives—into a newly created Office of Public Affairs. I want to thank Phil for taking on this challenge. Phil will be recruiting a director of communications to assist him in coordinating those functions within his division. I want to be sure that we continue to keep external media aware of the talent and expertise of our faculty and that Loyola receives its fair share of press.
Campus Planning and Facilities Upgrades:
When Wayne Madgziarz is not buying or selling University real estate, or dealing with neighborhood groups, or managing officials from one township or another, he is coordinating our campus master planning process. Many of you have already met and consulted with Dober and Associates, a nationally recognized and respected campus planning firm from Cambridge, Massachusetts. This design firm is on retainer to assist us in examining our present and future campus needs, refurbishment and expansion designs. This campus master-planning process is for the Rogers Park campus and is looking at the present and future use of all of our buildings and possible development sites. I have specifically asked them to work with us to examine options for addressing deferred maintenance in Mundelein Center, Centennial Forum, Sullivan Center and Damen Hall, as well as several of the residence halls. We have asked them to look at our overall campus design, traffic flow, recreational and dining facilities, our athletic complex, and how we might add to and upgrade our library facilities.
In the meantime, we have asked Phil Kosiba to begin an array of necessary campus upgrades, totaling more than $12M, and beginning this summer, from completion of renovations in Flanner Hall, a complete redesign of dining facilities in Simpson, infrastructure upgrades in our plant, residence hall upgrades, classroom improvements and other projects. There are approximately 15 projects slated for this summer and fall. Thanks, too, to his fine leadership, the Life Sciences Building is on time and on budget, and the prep work for the foundation of the new residence hall on Kenmore is also proceeding nicely. Phil has also helped re-engineer our security services. With the leadership of Bernie Ward, we are implementing a plan that calls for significant upgrades in security in both personnel and in hardware and systems. Dr. Ward is committed to bringing us the best practices in university and campus security.
We are also working on an overall design for Water Tower Campus, what the city calls a "planned development" proposal. Aspects of that plan include our use of our three floors at the Clare as a home for new applied arts and social science programs, a 500-bed residence hall at Wabash and Pearson, the full use of Lewis Towers including retail space and a home for the D'Arcy, renovations in 25 E. Pearson, and the development possibilities for the half-block we own on State Street between E. Pearson and Chestnut. You will be hearing and seeing more about this in the near future. What we are developing is in essence a map for how our academic future downtown will utilize our present and future resources. We want to include overall campus design and landscape, and in general to create an environment that brings us together in more humane ways, is more aesthetically pleasing, and preserves our resources in a more deliberate manner.
With the help of John Pelissero, who is already heading up the core experiences revision, and Dean Crawford, Provost Facione is looking at new programs for the Water Tower Campus, concentrating especially on an expansion of arts and sciences options that lend themselves to the urban and professional environment of Chicago. For example, we are looking at how we might develop programs in journalism and media studies, in human services, in forensics and technology. He has also been asked to explore ways that our current masters programs can become more competitive and student-accessible. We know that preeminence in undergraduate education will involve linking a student's major field of study with core institutional academic and moral values, integrating learning experiences that develop a student's appreciation of the diverse and global environment in which he or she will live and work, and translating these learning objectives into measurable outcomes. And, we know that preeminence in graduate and professional education will require us to be even better at stressing ethical and moral responsibility in the profession, reassessing our programs for relevance and increasing opportunities for research and collaboration across disciplines and fields.
Planning for Research:
One area of the strategic planning process that has been given increased attention is the area of our nature as a research and service institution. A scholarly faculty, with an active research program, is one important way of advancing the capacity of the University to serve both our students and our society. A better library facility will help. So will the new life sciences building. A new building for research at the medical center is something we are talking about as well. How we organize and support our research endeavors is another critical element. Individuals from all three campuses have been involved in discussions, especially in the Task Force on Research, a part of the strategic planning process which is lead by Dr. Marge Beane. Provost Facione, Dean Yost and Dr. Barbato are looking at ways we might move more deliberately and strategically into the competitive world of research.
We are convinced of several things, however. If we are to achieve preeminence in research and service, it will be important for Loyola to identify, foster and connect those areas of scholarship where Loyola can have the greatest impact and where the quality of our research will lead to greater national recognition. We believe that one way to accomplish this is to develop centers of excellence in such areas as social justice and applied ethics, children and families, urban studies, the environment, and race, gender and class.
Strategic Planning Process:
Now that the seven strategic planning task forces established this fall have completed their reports, we have reviewed the major recommendations and are putting them into a single format. Shortly, within two or three weeks, the broad structure and content of the strategic plan will be put on the web for everyone 's review and comment. Our goal is to present a plan to University trustees at the June Board meeting. The challenge is to be realistic and yet bold, to be specific without being too prescriptive and then box ourselves in, and to link our plan with our budgeting process. Our last plan, which we called a strategic agenda, worked for us because it had, for the most part, those features. You will see in the broad goals of the plan a complex institution with many critical facets and obligations. You will also see the major outline of the directions that the University's leadership, faculty and administration believe we should take. I am extremely grateful to all those who worked on these task forces, more than one hundred in all to date.
The final piece of the strategic planning involves developing the funding sources for these ideas and projects. Last year we began an overhaul of the advancement program under the leadership of Jon Heintzelman. The development staff has begun new efforts in outreach to alumni, in cultivating new prospects for giving and is working collaboratively with the deans and others to identify opportunities for our friends to become involved in re-invigorating and strengthening Loyola. We are seeing signs of this investment already. In the area of alumni participation in annual giving, we've seen a doubling of participation. The phone-a-thon crew—our own students—have been terrific.
In closing, then, I want to reiterate the complexity and promise that Loyola is and holds. The author of a recent book on higher education financing, in an attempt to explain why some universities are so expensive, described institutions like ours this way: The modern research university is "the size of a small city, and has the complexity of a major conglomerate, the technical sophistication of the space program, the quaintness of a medieval monastery, the intrigue of a Trollope novel. These are indeed very peculiar institutions." I suppose we all of us have had similar thoughts as we think about Loyola. We no longer think of ourselves as living in an ivory tower, if we ever did, nor divorced from the fate of the city around us. Nevertheless, we are under siege by critics of the academy who think all research institutions are wasteful and bloated. Parents worry we are over-priced, or at least in danger of becoming out of their financial reach. We know that at Loyola we have become a more lean and a more focused institution and so, hopefully, able to meet the challenges that will surely come our way in the years ahead. We ponder continuously our role and obligations to students, to our various fields of knowledge, to our city and to our Church and religious communities.
I believe, and I hope you share this perspective, we are becoming a better institution precisely because we take little for granted. We are, I think, becoming more and more a place where our Catholic and Jesuit heritage is cultivated in a way that is inviting and open to the voices that are not mainstream, to opinions and views that are different and foreign, but still we recognize as valuable and containing something we need to hear. In short, we are a place that is becoming healthier because it is more eager to extend itself in service to others.
I want to close by thanking all of you who work so hard for this institution. The faculty, the students and the staff who offer their time and energy to projects and programs and who contribute by their dedicated and persistent attention to the care of students and the fostering of a community of good will and cooperation. I hope the rest of your semester, and the summer months to follow, are rewarding and productive for you.