Message from the Provost

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

Over the past several months, units from across the campus took positive, collaborative steps to prepare for the academic year. From supporting student enrollment efforts to preparing our Higher Learning Commission self-study report, this work is a great example of how each member of our University community stimulates and enables our success.

These collaborative efforts also support two timely strategic programs, namely the Achieving Distinction Initiative and the Program Review process.

The announcement of inaugural Achieving Distinction recipients was much anticipated by our campus. After choosing the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center, Proof-of-Concept Framework and Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurialism proposals, it was hard to hold back the news, knowing that these 45 faculty and 18 University partners would immediately begin work to create, invest in and discover solutions to everyday problems across our region, some of which might be licensed or commercialized.

The next step for the recipients is to refine their proposals and submit detailed plans on how they will achieve the objectives they have set forth. You can learn more about the proposals by visiting the Achieving Distinction website.

Fulfilling our academic mission is also directly related to assessing the effectiveness of our programs. The Program Review process helps us to make the critical, sometimes difficult and necessary decisions that enable us to provide our students with a world-class education. You will recall that the first five-year Program Review cycle ended in 2010. Last year, updates by academic units concluded the formative review process.

Moving forward, it is essential that the Program Review Committee be able to assess information strategically with respect to institutional planning and budgeting. We are stewards of our resources, and utilizing those resources effectively is vital, especially given our statewide environment of economic uncertainty. For this reason, I have charged the Program Review Committee with making summative reviews based on updated and relevant institutional data.

Together, we have the opportunity to bring even greater distinction to The University of Akron through the combination of thoughtful and thorough summative program reviews and collaborative research endeavors. You will hear more about the progress of this year’s Achieving Distinction recipients and the Program Review process over the coming months.


William M. “Mike” Sherman
Senior Vice President and Provost/COO