March 18, 2010

Message from Vice Provost and Dean Ed Taylor, February-March 2010

By Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Dear UAA Colleagues,

Certain changes are afoot for our campus as part of the strategic steps the University will take in response to the ongoing economic climate. Our tuition will increase. We will increase the number of undergraduate students on campus. They will be ever more diverse and we will continue to be an institution with high standards, asking our students to engage in inquiry in many ways.

These moves crystallize the fundamental purpose of Undergraduate Academic Affairs: to deepen, enrich, and engage all students from the moment they enter to the moment they graduate.

I recently asked some of our faculty: What do you want most for our freshmen? What do you want them to experience and know? In different ways, each faculty member said we want freshmen to find their community, to find a way to engage at the UW. Secondly, we want their engagement to lead to deep, critical, rigorous thinking. We want our students to always be asking new questions.

As they interview and prepare for a new group of Freshmen Interest Group leaders, as they look to the future of Freshmen Interest Groups, Becky Francoeur and LeAnne Wiles in First Year Programs are addressing these questions.

As we challenge our students more, as we invite an increasingly diverse range of students to our campus, my appreciation for the ways Undergraduate Academic Affairs reaches across campus is growing. Collaborations that Janice DeCosmo and Debbie Wiegand are forming with colleagues in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity prepare us for centralizing the work of diversity and reaffirming our commitment to creating research, experiential, and critical engagement opportunities for every student who so desires. In a year from now, you will see the reformation of the floor plan in Mary Gates Hall’s ground floor in service of these ends.

I am happy to welcome a new director of the Robinson Center. Professor Nancy Hertzog will be joining us from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where her interests include instructional strategies that challenge all children and gifted programming practices. We look forward to Nancy’s leadership at the Robinson Center.

Leadership and leadership opportunities can become the sine qua non of our work. A prominent and core competency of UAA is creation of leadership opportunities for students and formation of student leaders. For years, UAA has provided real, genuine, and lasting leadership opportunities. They’ve been Mary Gates Venture, Research, and Leadership Scholars; Honors students with a desire to do a little more; Freshmen Interest Group leaders and orientation leaders; and more.

These past few months, we’ve been talking a great deal about the budget. To be sure, the coming months will also be months for UAA to live up to its mission. Now is the time for us to lead.

Sincerely,
Ed Taylor's Signature
Ed Taylor
Vice Provost & Dean

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