ACROSS THE COMMONS > Spring 2012 issue home page

Across the Commons


Achieving our vision of a globally distinct university

Provost Sherman

Provost William M. "Mike" Sherman

Dear Colleagues:

The Class of 2012 is eagerly awaiting their next milestone - graduation! This is an exciting time for them and for us. It brings the promise of new adventures and joy of goals accomplished. It is the opportunity to witness years of hard work come to fruition.

That same excitement speaks to our history as an institution. We have put over 140 years of hard work into building bright futures for each generation of students we serve. We will use our long history, our years of dedicated efforts, into informing our future. No matter our challenges, I am confident that together, we can achieve our vision.

A number of programs and initiatives are underway across our university, laying the groundwork for Vision 2020. In this issue of Across the Commons, we will explore a number of the initiatives that link to our institutional values of being relevant, connected and productive.

A new model for student achievement

Our ultimate goal of student success is met by how well we serve our students. Our new enrollment model Inclusive Pathways will allow us to enhance the educational experience of all students to such a degree that our graduates will be recognized as change makers in our region and beyond. That success begins with a realistic approach to enrolling students based on academic preparedness and performance measures, and meeting their distinct needs from the first day of classes to graduation.

An academic experience like no other

The Akron Experience is our distinctive approach to integrating learning inside and outside of the classroom. As The Akron Experience grows, and becomes a fully implemented approach of the integrated student experience, we can be assured that University of Akron graduates will be true citizens of the world, prepared to understand and address societal needs. We also can be assured that through our holistic approach, we will produce the new gold standard of transcripts in higher education.

Achieving Distinction

The Vision 2020 Pathways to Success will be achieved through two methods: ensuring academic excellence and achieving academic distinction. Achieving Distinction is our innovative strategic investment program designed to enhance our academic distinction. It is our ten-year commitment to hiring a minimum of 120 faculty and 40 staff in four areas of strategic investment. An energy and enthusiasm for interdisciplinary collaboration and integrated talent development that will engage both faculty and staff has been obvious since announcing the initiative earlier this semester. I look forward to receiving proposals by May 18th.

Self-study marks new accreditation model

We strive for student success. Everything we do is dedicated to graduating students who will make our world safer, healthier, more innovative and engaging. Our progress toward these goals is readily apparent when we measure and evaluate it. We must commit ourselves to measuring and evaluating our progress on a regular basis. Additionally, a commitment to assess our progress means that we must make necessary improvements along the way.

A system of continuous improvement will keep our academic mission moving in a positive direction, and help us to remain responsive in an ever-changing environment.

Our institutional accreditation process is no different. It is the thoughtful and thorough self-evaluations we conduct on a regular basis that help to ensure our place as a model for higher education. In that spirit, we look forward to our upcoming HLC site visit from March 3-6, 2013.

Fiscal integrity, a collaborative effort

Information on university budget allocations and expenditures was presented in two campus forums. A third forum is scheduled for May 1st from 2:30 - 4 pm in Simmons Hall 111.

Any university employee who is interested in learning more about university finances, strategies and decisions that are focused on achieving student success, please make a point to attend this final of three forums. Your input is valuable as we move Vision 2020 forward.

Celebrating achievement

Student success begins with faculty and staff who are willing to go above and beyond to help students succeed. That dedication and commitment can be found across our campus, and I am especially proud to participate in extending our appreciation to the faculty and staff who receive special honors each year.

Our rightful future

The initiatives in this edition of Across the Commons are but a few of the means by which we are moving Vision 2020 forward. Together, these and many other initiatives strengthen our ability to serve our students and our region. With your support, guidance, and input, we will become an even stronger university for future generations of UA graduates.

Wishing you a safe and productive summer,

William M. "Mike" Sherman
Senior Vice President and Provost
Chief Operating Officer

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