Arcadia Community UKnights for Semester Kick-off Meeting

By Caitlin Burns | September 24, 2018

The Arcadia community came together on Sept. 20 for the UKnighted Campus Communitywide kickoff meeting engage with President Ajay Nair and the chairs of the Shared Governance and Transparency, Aspirational, and Budget Task Force committees.

At the meeting, which was a follow up to the April 20 working session, President Nair discussed strategic goals for the University. The president also took questions from those in attendance, who broke up into groups after hearing from the UKnighted committees to address specific questions and challenges facing Arcadia.

“We’re operating as a multiversity, not a university,” President Nair said, noting that the Arcadia mission is at stake in the current unsustainable environment. However, he presented a plan for the next three years to transition the campus to a self-sustaining model. “We’re not going to be all things to all people– that’s not our mission. My commitment to you is to develop our priorities and invest in Arcadia’s future.”

Approximately 150 community members were present to engage with the president and UKnighted committees. Representing the Shared Governance and Transparency committee, co-chairs Bre Donnelly, assistant dean of students, and Dr. Ana Maria Garcia, associate professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, spoke about their committee’s work, sharing the committee’s next steps to explore institutional models and engage faculty, staff, and students in further discussion of what shared governance and transparency means to our community.

“We want everyone involved,” said Dr. Garcia. “This is about what we can do better that will endure so everyone does better.”

During the Aspirational committee presentation, co-chairs Carole Loeffler, associate professor and chair of Visual and Performing Arts, and Dr. Alison Lalond Wyant, associate dean for Teaching and Learning at The College of Global Studies (TCGS), said their goals are to look at where the University has been, where it currently is, and where the University’s shared vision should go in the next five and 10 years. Some of the questions they hope to address with the community in the coming months are how can the University make the most of its liberal arts roots, what advantages the University’s location has, and how to amplify inclusivity.

Dr. Peter Siskind, assistant professor of Historical and Political Studies, and Scott Terry, director of Study Away at TCGS, co-chair the Budget Task Force committee, addressed the ongoing challenges of budgetary concerns. The committee next will meet with student groups, faculty, and staff to discuss budgetary questions and continue to collect and assess ideas contributed during those sessions.

“We [want] to help everyone understand the issues better,” said Dr. Siskind. “Our goal is to make it so more of [the community] has faith and trust in where we’re going.”

Arcadia UKnighted is an interactive forum for members of the University community to engage in presidential initiatives. The next UKnighted event will be the UKnighted Outreach: Multicultural Organization Coalition on Oct. 7; details will be forthcoming when available. More information about the important UKnighted work, and opportunities to contribute, to the initiative can be found at Share your thoughts on how you can contribute to this important University initiative.