Culmination of the Academic Year
April 14, 2016
Dear Members of the Loyola Community,
We have much to celebrate as we prepare to wrap up another successful academic year. Beginning today, student achievement is front and center at our sixth annual Weekend of Excellence. On April 22 we will officially unveil the new Center for Translational Research and Education in Maywood with an open house for students, faculty, and staff. And next month we will host our 146th Commencement for approximately 4,000 graduates. I also want to update you on several important matters affecting our work and community.
Program funding remains an issue in Springfield. The February #MAPMatters campaign, which many of you participated in, generated an estimated 100,000 contacts to Governor Rauner’s office. To maintain momentum, a second effort is underway and students across Illinois will travel to the State Capitol on April 20 to urge legislators and the governor to pass the MAP budget. Please contact your Illinois state representatives to let them know how important MAP is, and consider signing our online petition. You can learn more at LUC.edu/mapmatters.
Diversity and Inclusion
We continue to have much dialogue around diversity and inclusion on campus. On Tuesday, I hosted a retreat with my Cabinet, the Council of Deans, and members of the Executive Council on Diversity and Inclusion to discuss their perspectives and our overall goals. We would like to develop a process to prioritize actions moving forward. Regarding other progress: 1) The University’s diversity statement, an important effort by the recently appointed diversity council, is now available online; 2) We have selected Willis Towers Watson as our vendor partner for the upcoming climate survey. We will conduct focus groups to start the process soon; 3) University 101 revisions are underway and a cultural competency component will begin in fall 2016; 4) Faculty members continue to seek opportunities to expand the Core Curriculum to enable students to access more diverse content. In the coming weeks I will share a full summary of activity around diversity and inclusion.
“Plan 2020” Progress
Last Friday we celebrated the launch of Lake Shore Community Partners, an innovative partnership model that will build on our existing relationships with the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods. Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. This major initiative represents our commitment to engage local societal challenges through partnerships.
On April 26 a “think tank” discussion will be held at the Health Sciences Campus, bringing our health sciences researchers and local public health officials together to identify solutions for community health disparities.
We also continue to receive funding requests to support “Plan 2020.” One recent request is centered on priority two and focused on designing and implementing an ongoing professional development program to engage faculty more deeply with the University’s Ignatian heritage. I am pleased to see so many Loyolans committing to the plan’s success.
Lastly, I want to highlight some important leadership transitions:
- Justin Daffron, S.J., vice president for advancement, will be leaving Loyola University Chicago on May 13 at the request of the provincial of the Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus. I have asked Jamie Orsini, the current associate vice president, to lead the division until a successor has been identified.
- In February David Yellen, JD, our School of Law dean, was named president of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Michael Kaufman, JD, associate dean for academic affairs, will serve as the interim dean of the law school beginning July 1.
- After nearly nine years leading the Rome Center, Emilio Iodice plans to transition to the role of director emeritus. On July 1, G. Ted Bohr, S.J., assistant professor of art history and theology, will step in as acting director.
- Our University Libraries dean, Robert Seal, MLS, will retire from his position on June 30. Fred Barnhart, MLS, JD, associate dean for library services and collections, will serve as the interim dean beginning July 1.
Extensive national and international searches will be conducted for these critical positions. I want to thank Justin, David, Emilio, and Bob for their commitment to Loyola, and I wish them all the very best.
John P. Pelissero, PhD