We speak often around GRU of “Building the Next Great American University.” Such an achievement cannot occur through the isolated efforts of any one group – the administration, the faculty, staff, or the students acting independently. Our efforts must constitute a cohesive approach, with all these groups working together to create a standard and culture to achieve this ambitious goal.
Great universities are great because there is a culture of excellence, an expectation of excellence, and a reputation of excellence. Every member of the institution has a critical role in advancing that reputation and in keeping it in good stead. It is only through the sustained efforts of each and every one of us that a culture of excellence thrives. And once it takes root, excellence will then permeate through every aspect of the institution, every initiative undertaken, and into specific measurable outcomes, such as several that are near and dear to my heart: student recruitment success, and student retention, progression and graduation. It may seem too obvious to state here, but I will anyway: without students, there is no university.
We all have a responsibility to be positive ambassadors for GRU, for its success in student education, and in our undergraduate students’ journey toward their ultimate goal of a diploma in four years. And, since these success measures are also likely to be the performance metrics by which our university will be measured in the coming years, we all have even more reason to be ambassadors of excellence.
The EVP for Academic Affairs & Provost Office’s organizational structure is intentionally designed to integrate academic affairs and student affairs for the success of students. The objective is to ensure we are all working toward the same vision of success, by recruiting the best students, engaging them fully, and providing them the tools they need to graduate and become valuable members of society.
The concept of an arm-in-arm approach between academic and student affairs throughout a student’s entire GRU life cycle is my vision. I believe that we are all uniquely positioned and responsible for piecing together the puzzle of academic, personal and professional success of OUR students. Individually, the pieces will never hold a fraction of the value that an integrated and comprehensive experience can deliver.
We will improve our student outcomes through a thoughtful, strategic and collaborative approach to provide vital elements, ranging from targeted recruitment, efficient and service-oriented onboarding, distinctive programs of study, an arrray of student life and enrichment experiences, and a seamless progression from matriculation to graduation. However, each of these elements requires an interconnected organization with common glue – and that glue is you. Whether you are students who support and help each other, the staff who creates the bridges and solutions with the exceptional effort you yourself would appreciate in a time of need, or the faculty who imparts the excitement of learning along with the requisite knowledge and skills for a successful journey of discovery and learning, we are all integral spokes in a student’s wheel of success.
Great universities are complex mixtures of ingredients, including distinctive programs, dedicated and productive faculty and staff, an atmosphere of scholarship, innovation, collegiality, commitment, and that culture of excellence. At GRU our vision is to enhance each of these over the next few years. As these changes occur, and as we work closely together to achieve that goal of being the next great American university, I hope you will be as excited as I am about these changes. We all should get excited about the institution we are becoming. And we should make sure other people know we are excited about that future and the great things it will bring not only for GRU, but for the city, the region, and the state. Excitement is contagious, and it will draw other talented people to GRU. As a community of diverse, talented and dedicated individuals, we have much to be proud of today, and as we forge our future together, we will have even more tomorrow.