On Friday, August 24, the College of Arts and Letters faculty and staff convened in the Thad Cochran Center for our very first “beginning of the year” college-wide meeting. I was thrilled to see so many attend a late Friday afternoon meeting at the end of the first week of classes. After the introduction of new faculty, we enjoyed two wonderful addresses from Interim President Lucas and Provost Wiesenburg. The primary focus of the meeting, however, was to discuss our strategic planning initiative.
I pointed out during my presentation that we are an energized and passionate faculty and I have witnessed the delight and satisfaction of our wonderful students for the experiences we provide in our classrooms, studios, and rehearsal halls. But despite the great work happening all over the College, we lack a clear, self-determined identity. At the very basic level, the strategic planning this fall will help us tell our story, in such a way, that we will be able to articulate that which is already true…that which sets us apart from the rest. We might ask why we would undertake strategic planning during a year of transition? Benjamin Franklin said, “You may delay, but time will not.” If we look back, the university is always in a state of transition… when have we not been engaged in the search for some critical position at the university – a new chair, a new dean, a new provost, or a new president? Yet by crafting a plan that will position us for future distinction, with a commitment to mutual goals and a shared vision for a successful future, we take a giant step forward in controlling our own destiny no matter the leadership changes that happen around us.
Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” No college or department can remain static for long, nor should we wait for the perfect time to move forward. We’ll get “run over.”