Annual Address 2012
David C. Hodge
September 6, 2012
Let me start by sharing the five goals. These overlapping goals are grounded in those values that have propelled Miami for most of our history and in a core vision of what Miami is all about, namely a vision that calls for Miami to "Provide the best undergraduate experience in the nation, enhanced by superior, select graduate programs." This vision recognizes that everything that happens at Miami affects what our students experience and how they succeed.
The centerpiece of that vision is the academic environment at Miami. Thus the first goal is focused on Innovative Learning and Discovery—to "Promote an innovative, engaged learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary student and scholarly success." Miami has long been at the forefront of innovative learning with the Top 25 Initiative one of our most visible recent examples. The goal has been to create an energetic, innovative environment with "no boundaries," as one of our former student trustees described her Miami experience. Courses blend together as does "inside and outside" the classroom. How do we create an environment in which learning is inseparable from research and creativity? How do we blur boundaries between undergraduate and graduate education? How can residential experiences become learning experiences? In other words, how do we create an environment so that everywhere and at all times our students are stimulated to be active learners and discoverers? How do we strengthen an outcomes-focused culture that uses assessment to drive our students to higher levels of achievement?
The second goal focuses on the faculty and staff at Miami by creating a Transformational Work Environment—to "Build a campus culture that stimulates and recognizes creativity, entrepreneurial thinking, and exemplary performance." Last year in the annual address I spoke about "the entrepreneurial university," focusing on those qualities that will position us to be successful in a rapidly changing world. While challenging, these changes will also bring incredible opportunities to strengthen our foundations. From immersing our students in a discovery culture to connecting everyone to the global community, from designing more efficient and effective business processes to creating a sustainable energy footprint, how do we encourage and recognize creativity and entrepreneurial thinking that will keep Miami at the forefront of constructive innovation? How do we build best practices in developing and recognizing high performance? How we will ensure that these innovative ideas will be implemented and executed effectively?
The third goal focuses on our global reach and commitment to diversity in challenging our students, indeed all of us, to grow by stepping beyond our comfort zones, embracing and experiencing our differences. The third goal calls for Global Engagement and Inclusive Culture to "Extend our global connections and strengthen a culture of inclusion, integrity, and collaboration that embraces a changing and diverse society." How do we increase our student study-abroad experiences, construct a more global liberal arts curriculum, increase diversity on our campuses on all dimensions, and engage our students in a deeper understanding of their core values?
The fourth goal seeks to strongly position Miami in the increasingly competitive higher education environment by focusing on Dynamic Organizational Design that will position us to "Pursue forward-looking programs, activities, and structures that ensure academic success and financial sustainability in the evolving landscape of higher education." What role should E-Learning have at Miami in a world of Massive On-line Open courses (MOOCs)? How should undergraduate and graduate programs be connected? How do we enhance the complementarity among our campuses while pursuing their distinct missions? How do we align our accounting models with our priorities? How do ensure that our decision-making processes strike the right balance between agility and thoroughness? These are but a few of the questions that go to the heart of how we are structured for success.
The final goal is a re-imagined version of our commitment to the future that we embrace as a public university. The goal to create Effective Partnerships and Outreach stimulates us to "Forge effective partnerships and contributions that impact the region, state, nation, and world." This goal is fundamentally about creating "win-win" programs and activities because we both contribute to and gain from such partnerships and contributions. Our research contributes to knowledge and to the application of that knowledge, often in partnership with organizations that extend opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff. The many research projects between our faculty and Wright Patterson Air Force base or the contracts that the Scripps Center undertakes for the State of Ohio or the federal government are excellent examples of how we impact others, while extending opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff. Service learning is predicated on the principle that we can learn through our service to others. Internships provide incredible opportunities and insights to our students, while their energy and fresh ideas help drive the organizations where they are placed. How do we best grow the opportunities for research, service learning, and internships? How do we increase their impact? These are key questions for a public university; indeed, they are key questions for any great university in the 21st century.