Strategic Plan Reveals New University Goals
Amanda Matyas, Tower Staff
November 4, 2011
Filed under News
Not a seat was empty in the Great Room of the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center Wednesday night, as the University held a town hall meeting pertaining to the Strategic Plan. Students and faculty alike filled the Great Room to voice their opinions on four of the fourteen goals of the Strategic Plan.
Initiative 1.1.1 for Objective 1.1 states “Support increased awareness of and commitment to the university’s Catholic academic identity across the curriculum” and brought much controversy at the beginning of the town hall.
“The main point I want to make, is it important for Catholic University to have a strong representation of Catholic traditions….it is a Catholic university and there are elements that should reflect the Catholic culture of the university and elements of the University life that would be inappropriate or at odds with the nature of the academic enterprise in general. It seems to me that a number of the sub-goals or sub-sections are inappropriate. The attempt to control and to insist upon the notion that every aspect of the curriculum reflect the Catholic culture of the University seems to me to be intellectually inappropriate in areas of study where it ought to and where it does, and there are many areas of academic life; study of the natural sciences, study of engineering, study of library sciences, many of the social sciences, where the notion of a Catholic biology or a Catholic psychology or a Catholic math would be highly inappropriate…strikes me as a bad. I suggest that we delete some parts. It would be better if there were less metrics and less particular points,” said Jerry Muller, chair of the Department of History.
In response to this comment, Michael Gorman, professor in the School of Philosophy, said, “I don’t think it is a bad idea to try and make sure that the Catholic nature at the University is reflected in all of the elements, including all of the academic departments, but I think that it is true that what it means varies a lot depending upon the departments, and it is not at all obvious in a lot of places.”
The Strategic Plan is the goals, objectives and priorities that define the direction in which the University is being guided towards for the future. This plan is part of the entire Master Plan which outlines the University’s enrollment, number of employees, any anticipated building changes and the projection size of campus. Both plans are due in April 2012.
A presentation of the progress so far was given by James F. Brennan, Provost and Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, and Cathy Wood, Vice President for Finance, and Treasurer and Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. After the presentation, Peter Shoemaker, director of University Honors Program and Associate Professor of Modern Languages facilitated a discussion in which the audience was allowed to raise questions concerning the four goals of the evening.
The four goals under review at the meeting were to promote the distinctive Catholic culture of the University, to strengthen academic excellence, to enhance student collegiate experience, and to improve the experience of work.
A comment made concerning the first goal came from Peter Rescigno, member of the class of 2013, stated that “one of the things that students are trying to promote is our Catholic identity and when you compare us to other university schools you see programs at other institutions like George Washington 101 and Georgetown 101, where they promote the history and culture of their universities. One of the suggestions I have for the Strategic Planning Committee is that over the course of the year Catholic University… develop a program where they can instill their history into freshmen, in a first year program.”
Some of the main comments that were continuously brought up during goals two and three were that there is a need for faculty input on these issues and the stress of the importance of community. “[I do not know] how this might be brought into reality without the help and input and actually without faculty response. I’d like to register my concern that the faculties do indeed have a concern in their role in this,” said Mary Paterson, professor in the School of Nursing.
There is still more work to do be in order to meet the April deadline. The committee is hoping that the Board of Trustees will approve the plan during their December meeting.