Friday, July 2, 2010

Meeting a growing family

After a month off from blogging, I’m catching up on my activities and important events for Bloomsburg University. So, I will pick up where we left off in May.

Shortly after our graduation my third granddaughter, Caoimhe Gallagher, was born to my daughter Laura in Long Beach, Cal. I could not be there but my wife, Grandma Robbie, assisted in the birth. We are delighted to welcome another little red-headed girl into our family, who I will be visiting her for the first time in mid-July.

In another important milestone for our family our youngest son, Andrew, graduated with a bachelor’s in anthropology from Central Washington University, where I served as provost for six years before coming to BU. It was great to celebrate his achievement and for a change to be in the audience rather than on the platform during a graduation. Andrew is working for a large environmental consulting firm in central Washington and getting married in August.

In late May, I had the privilege of traveling with about 10 BU faculty and emeriti to participate in the 19th annual meeting of the Global Awareness Society International at Jagiellonian University in Krakaw, Poland. Two BU students presented their undergraduate research projects to a group of scholars from 15 countries thanks to BU Foundation scholarships for international education. The multidisciplinary conference was enlightening and timely, and it was a privilege for me to deliver the opening keynote address, “The Increasing Importance of Global Awareness,” at the university where Copernicus studied in the 1490s.

Over the past two weeks, we welcomed almost 1,600 new fall freshman and their parents to campus during eight fact and fun packed one-day orientations. Each year the incoming freshman class continues to grow and once again, BU will have the largest class of well prepared freshman in our history. My thanks to orientation coordinator, Kristin Austin, the other dedicated staff in admissions, and the dozens of students who serve as OWLs (Orientation Workshop Leaders).

We are waiting for details on the allocations for higher education and BU from the state budget agreed to by the legislature and recently sent to the governor. As a sign of the current economic climate and reminder of the ever-changing landscape of higher education, PASSHE concluded a year-long process that led to discontinuation of several dozen degree programs across the state university system due to low enrollments.

Thankfully, Bloomsburg University was not among the eight schools that needed to make program cuts. Although our initial response is to feel relieved, the appropriate reaction is for us to continue to work harder in making sure our programs – large and small – remain strong, vibrant and relevant to our students, as well as meeting the needs of a competitive global workforce.

This commitment falls in line with our current strategic planning process, adding more emphasis on ensuring this long-range strategic plan is focused, concise and reflective of our mission to educate future leaders.

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