Reflections from the 100-Day Listening Tour
Please come join us for a BBQ in the Sharwan Smith Center Rotunda on Wednesday, April 23, from 11:30am-1:00pm! We want to celebrate the completion of another academic year as well as all of the wonderful people here on this campus that I have had the pleasure of getting to know during the 100-Day Listening Tour. Hope to see you there!
Day 89 - Friday, April 11, 2014
After spending a couple of analysis-filled days on our campus, the accreditation team from the Northwest Commission for College and Universities gave an oral summary of their report, a list of five commendations and four recommendations regarding our university. The report was very positive and will give us some things to work on.
Following my meetings with the evaluation team I join in with SUU Preview Day for a welcome to students thinking about attending SUU this coming fall semester. Among other things, I told them they could not find another university whose faculty and staff were more committed to their success than those at SUU.
I then met with Professor Michael Stathis to discuss a class we plan to team teach in the Political Science and Criminal Justice department during the July summer session. I always look forward to teaching.
Next I visited with Jim Volz who was on our campus conducting a review of our College of Performing and Visual Arts (apparently it’s the week of accreditation for us) along with Dan Frezza. Jim had a lot of great things to say about CPVA and, of course, recommendations in order for us to realize our goal of receiving accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
Bridget Eastep, the Director of the Outdoor Engagement Center, and I visited along with two outdoor recreation students who play a role in leading many of the outdoor activities. One of southern Utah’s main advantages is, in my opinion, the outdoor opportunities and the proximity to seven National Parks.
For lunch I joined the attendees of the Women and Gender Studies Luncheon. The event was held at my home in the Tradition Room. Trustee Ann Marie McIff Allen was the keynote speaker at the lunch.
This afternoon Kathy and took the long drive to Rexburg, Idaho for a relative’s wedding Saturday. Saturday was full of wedding and travel—the first Saturday since my start at SUU three months ago that was not at least 50% spent on the listening tour and university work. I’ll take work over driving from Rexburg, Idaho to Cedar City, Utah any day of the week!
Day 88 - Thursday, April 10, 2014
The day began with Jeff Hertig, Bailey Bowthorpe and Ellen Treanor (Professional in Residence in the Communications Department) in my office talking about marketing and branding of the university.
Shortly after my meeting with the SUUSA representatives and Ellen I had an interview over the phone with Utah Public Radio.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with the faculty of the Accounting Department (we were also joined by Emmett Steed from Marketing, Management and Hospitality Department as well as David Tufte from the Economics and Finance Department). As it has been with all faculty groups I’ve met with, I was extremely impressed with the level of commitment to and engagement in student success. These faculty members are also responsible for the high quality educational opportunities for the students in their program. As a result, a very high percentage of our accounting students graduate with job offers. There are numerous accounting firms who come to campus to recruit our students; some like our graduates so much that they recruit exclusively at SUU.
Tiger Funk, Tyson Kyhl, Michael Beach and I met together to go over our Campus Master Plan, which primarily outlines the universities priorities and goals in acquiring land to expand our campus as well as our physical facilities.
Three staff members from Senator Orrin Hatch’s office paid me a visit: Melanie H. Bowen, State Director; Dianne Browning, Professional Staff Member; and Bill Swadley, Southern Utah Director. Much of our discussion centered on how the Senator’s office could be helpful and supportive to SUU and the positive role our institution is having on students, the community and the state. I appreciated their taking time to visit as well as their offer to help.
Patrick Clarke invited me to be a guest lecturer in his American Higher Education Environments class, part of the MPA program, to talk about higher education governance this afternoon. The students and I had a great discussion; I described how our complex, and often dysfunctional, system of higher education works and the unique opportunities and challenges it creates as a result.
This evening I had the opportunity to attend the Leadership and Empowerment Across Generations event where documentary film producer/director Thomas Morgan delivered a wonderful address on leadership. He highlighted his recent film, Waiting for Mamu, which tells the story of Pushpa Basnet and her service of children of incarcerated parents in Napal. It was fantastic. I had the opportunity to visit with Thomas and Pushpa this evening at the event. I love inspiring people! It really lifts and inspires my spirits. Every SUU student, faculty and staff member should have participated in this wonderful event.
Kathy and I caught the last half of the Five Browns concert at the Heritage Center. Great concert.
Day 87 - Wednesday, April 9, 2014
This morning I welcomed the evaluation team from the Northwest Commission for Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) through whom we are accredited. The day began with breakfast and then the eight-member visiting team broke up into various meetings with individuals and groups, including open forums with faculty and students (the open forum for staff will be tomorrow). The next couple of days are very important for SUU.
I received a visit from John Dougall, the State Auditor, who is an old friend of mine from our days in the Utah House of Representatives. We talked through the services his office provides for SUU and how to improve them.
Following the visit from the State Auditor I met with several members of the evaluation team. The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent with Athletic Director Ken Beazer working through various athletic issues and budget matters. I will be spending time with all the people I work directly with, as we get closer to putting together next year’s budget.
Alexis Bucknam from the Utah Campus Compact paid a visit to me from Salt Lake City this afternoon to talk the Compact and SUU. This university just might be able to document more hours of community service by its students than any other university in the world. Utah residents are well known for performing more service than the residents of any other state; and SUU can document more service per capita than any university in Utah. We have great students here! And they are led by wonderful faculty and staff.
This afternoon I went down to the Heritage Center and joined in with the Five County Association of Governments meeting. SUU is a committed partner with local governments to improve the quality of life for those who live in Southern Utah.
I am very proud of the Community Engagement Center and our students who have recorded a combined 190,000 hours of community service this past year. I am also proud of our many community partners who work together with the Community Engagement Center to provide these types of service and service-learning opportunities for SUU students. I was honored to present the Engaged Alumni award to Scott and Kortney Jolley at the Community Engagement Center’s Thank You and Recognition Event this evening. Dr. Earl Mulderink is the director of this center and in addition to spending time with him this afternoon and evening I was able to collect his signature on his recent book about the Civil War—another addition to my growing collection of faculty publications.
Trevor Messenger as Robert Chiltern in SUU’s production of An Ideal Husband.
Later this evening Kathy and I attended the SUU student production of An Ideal Husband. It was very well done. We loved he black box setting to watch the performance up close and intimate.
Day 86 - Tuesday, April 8, 2014
I kept my calendar clear for the SUU Festival of Excellence, which ran all day. Over 300 presentations, from a myriad of topics, were delivered by faculty and students. The presentations and the overall focus on academics and research is a perfect precursor to the accreditation visit by the Northwest Commission for Colleges and Universities that will occur tomorrow through Friday. This evening I attended the play at Cedar High School.
Day 85 - Monday, April 7, 2014
My morning was spent with the vice presidents in a very productive meeting.
My afternoon was spent with two members of the Board of Regents. I receive at least two visits from them in Cedar City each year. This was my first one at SUU. Regent Mark Stoddard and Jed Pitcher drove down and spent the afternoon with me. They also interviewed a few people about my start as SUU president. We had a very productive set of meetings together. I have known these two regents for several years and appreciate their friendship and support.
At the end of the day I met with the Student Body President, Jeff Hertig, and Vice President Bailey Bowthorpe. Jeff and Bailey were both recently re-elected and will continue to build on the great work they have done thus far.
Day 83 - Saturday, April 5, 2014
The day was consumed in paper work and other office catch-ups, which I did at home. When I went to sleep I was very happy.