A Message from President Nair
Dear Arcadia Community,
In my first week as President, I have seen the passion that members of the Arcadia community have for each other and for this University. I am especially proud of how various groups have come together to address concerns dear to many of our hearts, and I am grateful for the support you have expressed to me as I navigate my first major leadership challenge.
In meetings over the past week, campus stakeholders, including faculty, students, staff, and other leadership groups, have expressed to me: a lack of understanding of and thirst for greater knowledge about the budget and the budget process; that some leaders feel they would like a greater role in the decision-making process; that there is a lack of comprehension and subsequent communication regarding budgetary cuts and actions already implemented that reduced administrative and departmental budgets; and finally, that there is a great interest in developing principles of shared governance that the entire community believes are representative of their voices and concerns. It is important to note that this feedback reflects challenges we have faced for many years, and it is not merely a function of recent events.
As we move forward, the University’s goals must be clearly articulated and communicated. Your feedback has helped me develop the following four-point plan with the support of the Board:
STRATEGY 1 – Community of Practice
Build trust within the community through debate, dialogue, deliberation, campuswide engagement, and other methods.
The first opportunity to engage campuswide is tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 20 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Great Room. This working-session will continue the dialogue and address various University concerns, including budgets (capital, academic, operational, etc.), shared governance, transparency, communication, revenue generation, and future enrollments. It is my hope that these sessions will occur on a regular basis.
Rationale: Without a shared commitment to building trust, even within the current environment, faculty/staff engagement and investment will decrease, and our students will suffer. We will not be able to successfully implement a vision without trust from the community.
Timeline: Initiate campuswide working-session on Friday, April 20 and continue throughout the Academic Year 2018-19.
STRATEGY 2 – Shared Governance and Transparency
Conduct consensus-building on principles of shared governance and transparency beginning with our campuswide meeting on April 20.
Rationale: Lack of common understanding of shared governance was a primary reason for the derailment of the current process regarding the plan to reduce faculty salary lines.
Timeline: Present shared governance and transparency principles to the Board in May 2018.
STRATEGY 3 – Empower Leadership and the Community
Engage the community, including students, faculty, and staff, in creative solutions to address major challenges. Also, engage leadership in decision making by empowering them to deliver on the unfulfilled recommendations of the Provost’s taskforce that will address the budget gap for FY2019 by July 2018, and delay the possibility of reducing faculty salary lines this academic year.
Rationale: Employing this strategy in concert with trust-building will help position the University for long-term success.
Timeline: May-July 2018
STRATEGY 4 – Vision
Assess the implementation of Strategy 3 in January 2019; develop a vision/ten-year aspiration for Arcadia and associated priorities by May 2019; align resource allocation to ten-year aspiration and priorities.
Rationale: Making decisions to close budget gaps without a vision for our institution may lead to misguided decisions. Human talent and capital are among Arcadia’s greatest assets. Determining appropriate faculty size, academic programs, student enrollment, and staffing levels, among other key areas, based on a shared long-term vision is strategic and will foster enthusiasm among donors and others.
Timeline: April 2018-May 2019
In conclusion, I will continue to emphasize that we must build trust to move forward as a community. Because these strategies impact all members of the University community, it is important to gather perspectives from all of you. I encourage you to provide feedback on these strategies through the Office of the President web page and to RSVP to participate in the April 20 campuswide meeting.
As we all are ambassadors of this great institution, we must remain invested in Arcadia and support one another as a united University community in order to achieve our full potential.
I look forward to working alongside each of you.
Ajay Nair, Ph.D.