Office of the President
To: University of Vermont Students
From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President
Date: October 31, 2006
Re: A Call to Engagement in the Future of The University of Vermont
I hope you will read the essay "Signatures of Excellence: UVM in the 21st Century" so that you can be part of a dialogue about the future of UVM. Students have been active, effective, and essential in moving UVM forward in recent years, and they must stay engaged with this effort. Examples? Without student advocacy, there would be no student center rising on Main Street. Students have helped to plan and implement UVM’s newest residential learning communities, GreenHouse and Global Village. Students have been strong drivers of UVM’s aspiration to be a leading environmental university. They have led the way on UVM’s divestment of investments in Sudan to oppose the genocide in Darfur and on new policies to protect members of the campus community from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. And students are now leading the way to combat the epidemic of violence against women so painfully manifested in the murder of one of our own, Michelle Gardner-Quinn.
This is the UVM way. It is not enough to have a shared vision for UVM. We must make it real, and students have so far been essential to that effort. I know that the ten pages of the essay will seem very long to some of our students, faculty, and staff. But because it has been written to intensify and accelerate efforts to attain our educational aspirations and vision for UVM, and because we need members of all of those groups to take active roles in this bold undertaking, we are sending it to everyone. I hope you will accept this call for participation.
The essay seeks to identify the foundations on which a UVM education will be built in the 21st century: principles that will stand the test of time and educational imperatives that provide a strategic framework within which to articulate and realize UVM’s distinct identity. As we did in the 2003 Vision Statement, we also describe what UVM might be like in ten years if the University develops along the lines envisioned here.
The document centers on the programmatic richness called for in the letters I sent to the campus last month. It has been shaped by a full year of dialogue that began with a discussion with the deans last fall in which we developed the proposed new Mission Statement for UVM that opens the essay, focused on development of “accountable leaders.” It continued with a two day retreat for faculty, staff, and student leaders last January, and then with a similar, one-day retreat in June in which participants discussed an earlier draft of this essay.
In sum, the essay seeks to deepen and sharpen our expression,
expectations, and delivery of the educational experience at UVM. The retreat
in June was moderated by Faculty Senate President Justin Joffe, for the process
of curricular change must be faculty-centered, and the associated development
of outcomes assessment and of improved teaching and learning strategies will
necessarily be deliberative, with its primary locus in the Faculty Senate.
Always, we will be working toward one overarching goal: to be
the nation's premier small public research university, providing
a truly exceptional educational experience for every UVM student and an extraordinary
environment for the professional development of our faculty and staff. We
have no illusion that all the proposals in our essay will come out of the
dialogue unchanged or that some of them will even survive the ensuing conversation,
but we do have a very strong expectation that the process will lead to constructive
change along the broad trajectory of aspiration and value we have described.
Please read the executive summary even if you do not read the full essay.
Comments and suggestions may be addressed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified November 05 2006 09:21 PM