Academic Affairs Retreat Explores What It Means to Be an Arcadia Knight

By Caitlin Burns | August 22, 2019

Faculty and staff worked together at the Academic Affairs Retreat on Aug. 21 to develop goals and aspirations for the new academic year. This was also the first event where faculty and staff had the opportunity to meet new Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jeff Rutenbeck, who began his tenure on Aug. 15.

To help begin the process of collaboration, attendees were asked to participate in discussions about lived experiences at Arcadia that answered questions about what it means to be a Knight and how the University’s values tie into culture on campus. 

“I want to learn about Arcadia by hearing about your lived experiences at the University,” said Dr. Rutenbeck. “The world needs more scholarship, it needs more knowledge, it needs more guidance. The work that we do is based on the idea of evolution and change.”

For the first time, staff were invited to participate in conversations about furthering the University’s academic plans. Through community collaboration, the academic plan will help set priorities for the Strategic Plan this fall.

“It’s the beauty of Arcadia, we have these deep and meaningful relationships that extend beyond the campus and Glenside,” said President Ajay Nair. “How can we be the leading difference makers for our students?”

Director of Strategic Initiatives Joseph Sun commented on developing a strategic planning strategy by March 2020 that creates a thriving framework and measurable outcomes and goals. Steps include input sessions that engage all community members and affirm roles of individuals as catalysts for change; a student experience task force; the synthesizing of information that prioritizes initiatives and establishes metrics; and a management system that will track successes and efforts.

“This process is our process,” said Sun. “Creating an environment that changes the world doesn’t happen in five years, but we’re going to keep trying. This isn’t a one-time thing.”

The retreat ended by focusing on next steps and ways the faculty and staff community would like the University to progress. Through intimate 10-minute “deep dive” discussions on work environment, budget, social innovation, communication, and other areas of the University, participants laid the groundwork for what it means to be an Arcadian as faculty and staff.