2016 President's Forum Highlights

March 3, 2016

President's Forum

March 3, 2016


President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., covered plenty of ground during his most recent forum, touching on more than a dozen topics. You can watch the video of the forum here.

Ten Takeaways from the Forum  

1. Father Steve said he planned to announce an interim provost, who will start in early June, this week. He made the announcement yesterday. You can read it here.

The search for a permanent provost will begin in earnest this fall, with the hope of having the new provost announced early next year and in place by July 1, 2017. A search firm will be hired to lead a national search and a search committee will be formed. Fr. Steve stated his commitment to ensure the academic community has ample opportunity to weigh in on the process and appointment.

2. The President says he appreciates the good work going into the university’s comprehensive review of all divisions and programs (the non-academic areas completed the assessment last fall and the Academic Affairs Portfolio and Operations Review will be completed later this year). He stated it was an important opportunity to see how the university might be better organized, where it is realizing the most success, where it needs to invest more and how we might do things better. A synopsis of the assessment for the non-academic areas is expected to be ready to share with the university community in the next few weeks.

3. The comprehensive campaign continues to go very well in the leadership phase (the public phase is still a couple of years out). More specifics on the campaign are available starting at the 10:15 mark in the video.

4. Fr. Steve shared news about the two exceptional leaders who will be receiving honorary doctorates during commencement. Geoffrey Canada, president and founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, will speak at the undergraduate commencement and Jack DeGioia, PhD, president of Georgetown University, will speak at the graduate ceremony.

5. Enrollment continues to look strong. Continuing student and new student enrollment for the winter quarter are exceeding expectations, which bodes well for the spring quarter. Looking ahead, applications for fall first-time-in-college students are up five percent. It is still too early to know more on transfers and graduate students for the fall.

6. The FY17 budget process will be completed in the coming weeks and approved by the Board in May. Fr. Steve indicated the leadership begins deliberations committed to funding four key priorities. They include compensation increases for faculty and staff, supporting new academic programs, moving forward on a still-to-be-determined first set of recommendations from the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence and providing necessary resources for the university’s new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), or operations software system. There will be a limited amount of resources available beyond these priorities to fund additional new requests.

7. The University Leadership Council will meet next week to discuss the recommendations of the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence and how best to move forward on the recommendations in the near term and beyond.

8. Fr. Steve shared his support for Academic Assembly’s initiative to form a Faculty Senate. He also discussed the idea of a staff council, which he believes would serve the university well, too.

9. The university is moving forward on building a new residence hall in the vacant lot behind the storage facility at 12th and Madison. The first two floors of the building will be for enrollment services and the other eight floors will be for student housing. It will be built by Capstone Development Partners in partnership with the university and open for housing in fall of 2018. Capstone recently built the new residence hall for Cornish College of the Arts.

10. If you want to learn more about Fr. Steve’s views on the recent controversy surrounding the event sponsored by a student group of nurses on reproductive health, he shares them at the 30 minute mark in the video. You can also read his full response to The Spectator’s inquiry about the event here