Annual Address

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Gregory P. Crawford
October 23, 2019

Our students continue to seek excellence in all they do – they come to Miami NOT just to learn what’s known – but to create new knowledge. Last year, more than 3,000 students participated in research across all our colleges. Two seniors, Chemical Engineering major Rachel Ollier and Physics, Geology double major Rosie Ries, won scholarships from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for their cumulative academic record and research.

Our students are also community leaders. This past year, our students performed >40,000 hours of community service. They have great hearts, great minds, and passion to uplift others through service. One example—Miami’s Geography Department opened an additional classroom for volunteers because so many students, faculty, and staff wanted to assist with the map-a-thon for the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian struck.

Miami’s reputation continues to advance nationally. Our U.S. News & World Report ranking climbed to No. 39 among public universities and No. 91 overall. This year the pool of National Universities grew from 312 to 399 institutions—placing us within the top quartile of National Universities. We remain in the top 3 in commitment to undergraduate teaching among publics—the heart of our mission. Such success is only possible through the support and accomplishments of our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and leadership from our Board of Trustees – Our Board was recently recognized with the John W. Nason Award for Board Excellence from AGB.

To sustain and enhance our position, this year saw aggressive development and the launch of new programs and degrees in data science and analytics, organizational leadership, e-sports, and medical humanities. We launched a new department, Interactive Media Studies, and the new Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation.

Last November, ROTC students, alumni veterans, Congressman and Army Veteran Warren Davidson, and Emma Wott, theatre and religion major and president of Miami's Student Veterans Association, helped us dedicate Miami’s Alumni Veterans Tribute. The Tribute honors all who have served, or currently serve, in support of freedom and democracy. It is a testament to their courage, sacrifice, and service to our nation. We are grateful to our generous donors for this tribute.

Our decade-long sustainability efforts at Miami are bearing fruit. Today we find ourselves leading the way as we consume less energy per square foot than peer institutions. We have cut carbon emissions from energy usage 45% per gsf. We no longer burn coal. We have 29 LEED Certified buildings. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Ed awarded Miami our first Gold rating for our efforts, and Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges scored Miami a near perfect 96 out of 99.  We will continue to advance. Our sustainability committee is finalizing a plan to achieve carbon neutrality and accelerate our national leadership position in this area. 

Our work in Columbus continues to advance. Our new governor, the Honorable Mike DeWine, Class of ’69, and his team have a bold vision for Ohio. They have embraced higher education and made new investments in Ohio institutions. They have prioritized advancing a talented workforce and entrepreneurship to propel Ohio’s economy. They have also identified areas – aligned with our research – in education, STEM, water, and addiction. I thank the state leadership for their support of our mission as we work together to advance our great state. This past year, 125 Gov’t Relations Network students, from 65 different majors, participated in over 500 visits with elected and state officials in Columbus to advocate for higher education and convey Miami’s contributions to Ohio. Next Tuesday will be the largest Statehouse advocacy Day in University history – >100 students, faculty, alumni, and staff will participate in our Takeover Statehouse day.

Our Division of Student Life continues to lead locally and nationally. They have invested in improving health, wellness, and safety programs for our students. Student Life was selected for two national opportunities to help assess and enhance prevention and response related to sexual and interpersonal violence. We won a 3-year Department of Justice grant to fund a program coordinator in Student Wellness and a second full-time support specialist for our partner Women Helping Women.

We continue to focus on mental health resources for students. Since 2016, we have added six counselors to the Student Counseling Services staff and improved access to psychiatry through our partnership with Tri Health. As of this past week, there is no waitlist for a first appointment— a great advance forward. At the suggestion of ASG, we launched Campus Cares, making our counseling staff available on a drop-in basis for short conversations at spots around campus.

Student Life has taken major steps to implement recommendations in the “Honoring Fraternity” Report. Among significant changes, fraternities that house sophomores must now have a full-time, live-in house advisor; academic standards are higher for individuals and chapters; and a leadership program is required for all fraternity and sorority members – not just officers.

Student Life focuses on inclusive excellence. Every one of our incoming students completed a new online course on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. To follow up, they participated in facilitated conversations through their UNV or first-year experience course. This year we also invested in renovated and expanded space for the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion in the Armstrong Student Center.

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