Welcome to the beginning of a new academic year

As we gear up for a new academic year, I find myself thinking about how this time of year signals a critical beginning for our type of organization. For us, beginnings include new students, residents, and faculty and even new programs and courses. What other type of organization begins its new year with such exciting advancements?

I am particularly enthusiastic about 2014-15, when we’ll reach milestones that will have a lasting impact on GRU for many years. Further, these are milestones that we must reach together, because they will be our achievements.

In the weeks ahead, you’ll receive invitations to engage in various institutional endeavors. I understand how easily we overlook messages, emails, and other communications when we’re so engaged in our day-to-day obligations to students and to each other. However, I genuinely desire broad-based involvement in these major efforts to be assured that we’re heading in the right direction.

I hope you will take the time to participate in any institutional questionnaire or other feedback opportunity that you receive. However, the initiatives described below are particularly – and equally – crucial to our university’s success in 2014-15:

Academic Strategic Plan 

While we have adopted “Transition Forward” as GRU’s first strategic plan, I believe we need to articulate the strategic direction of academic affairs more specifically. I hope you will participate in this process by sharing which core issues you believe should be included in this plan.

Employee Engagement Survey 

Following last spring’s campaign to solicit participation in phase 2 of the Press Ganey Employee Engagement Survey, we achieved a 62 percent response rate from our GRU faculty and staff. The results of the survey have been analyzed and will be rolled out in stages over the next few months. In the early stages between now and early October, vice presidents and deans will review the results for their respective programs. Then, department chairs and managers will communicate results with their respective faculty and staff, culminating in the development of action plans by mid-December.

  • You can expect to learn about the survey results and next steps from your leadership by early October.

GRU Campus Master Plan

During the summer, we made great strides in understanding our desires and needs and assessing our systems to develop our University and Medical Center into a cohesive whole. With this information, we can bring out the crayons and start drawing scenarios for a Campus Master Plan that covers all three GRU mission areas of academics, research, and clinical service. We will need your help as we move to this critical stage in the process.

  • You can expect to receive an invitation to participate in a Town Hall Meeting to discuss our Master Planning efforts from the University Faculty Senate in September.

Quality Enhancement Plan

The QEP Core Team has evaluated the theme suggestions received last spring and identified a set of themes to be incorporated in our Quality Enhancement Plan proposal process. Between now and mid-September, you’ll be invited to explore the themes via a virtual dialogue. Then, in mid-September through October, the QEP Core Team will call for proposals for your ideas of what our QEP should look like. I hope you will be as engaged in this next phase of the selection process as you were in the theme gathering efforts last year.

  • You can expect to receive communications on how to participate in our QEP selection efforts via email and presentations beginning this week.

As you can see, we have much to accomplish in 2014-15, and getting there depends on your engagement in the early stages. I look forward to all of your contributions to these important efforts at advancing GRU.