Annual Address

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Gregory P. Crawford
October 23, 2019

In August, our new provost, Dr. Jason Osborne, joined us and immediately was charged with implementing the plan. He has been engaging campus and has framed the recommendations into four areas with bold goals. Branded as Miami RISE, the recommendations have been categorized under four focused headings: R: Research, Scholarship, and Artistry; I: Innovation; S: Student Success; and E: Engagement. I cannot cover everything today, but here is a high-level overview of a few bold goals.

In terms of research, scholarship, and artistry, we continue to thrive as best-in-class with respect to undergraduate research – providing students with opportunities to engage with faculty through research— few other institutions offer on the scale we do. We will invest in faculty, faculties, and emerging degree programs that encourage engagement and creativity and advance scholarship and discovery. Through enhancing support for proposals, leveraging our new infrastructure for corporate and foundation relations, expanding our external funding opportunities, and elevating our expectations, we will accelerate from the middle to the top of the R2 Carnegie ranking.

To elevate this effort, Provost Osborne has re-organized the leadership roles of research and the graduate school into two positions so we can focus more intentionally – both searches are underway. Furthermore, searches for the Dean of the Farmer School of Business and the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing have begun.

In terms of innovation, we will enhance our Global Miami Plan to be creative, flexible, and value-added in a way that honors our rich tradition and institutional values. We will remain known for the deep and broad education that prepares students to solve transdisciplinary grand global challenges and answer enduring questions of our time. We know our education founded on critical thinking, ethical reasoning, clear communication, and personal engagement on a residential campus positions graduates for a fulfilling life, a productive and successful career, and community and leadership opportunities.

More innovation will happen with the establishment of a top Honors College that will redefine the idea of “honors college.” Steeped in the strong Miami tradition of academic excellence and the liberal arts – providing distinctive student opportunities available at no other institution. These experiences will leverage the passion of our faculty, who build mentoring relationships with students in deep and meaningful ways.

The Honors College will be an incubator where undergraduates create now, not waiting until after graduation – they will be architects of their future. We will empower our students with the freedom and support to write their first novel, construct their first invention, conduct their first orchestra, write their first play, design a new school, publish their first editorial, submit their first peer review publication, or start their first company— all while they complete their degree. That is the Miami way. It will distinguish our Honors College and our university.

We also must take a more leading-edge approach in graduate and professional education – specifically plus-one master’s degrees, certificates, or implementing select high-demand doctoral degrees. The 21st-century job market is seeking such advanced credentials. We must augment our best-in-class undergraduate education with degrees that serve our students and our public mission. We see this unfold with some new offerings and Boldly Creative-funded master’s programs. Some were approved this past year—business management and business analytics. We seek more emphasis at the master’s degree level, to create more post-graduate, transdisciplinary, in-demand opportunities for students.

In terms of student success, we are rethinking everything we do – including our degree and major portfolio, advising, recruiting, faculty and staff development, and program reviews. We are pushing ourselves to achieve top metrics among public institutions nationally for student success. We will be competitive with the top 20 public universities in student retention, graduate rate, employment and placement, and closing the achievement gap. We will study and implement services to advance student success.

We will elevate our inclusive excellence and our unsurpassed residential campus experience. Committees have been formed and charged to advance our students’ success strategies. In terms of engagement, our students already serve as incredible community leaders, volunteers, and ambassadors wherever they go in the world – They inspire us. We will enhance their opportunities even more and make experiential learning and engagement a greater cornerstone for Miami students.

Our career exploration efforts have grown just one year after a significant investment – more first-year engagement, internships, shadowing; more professional experience and connectivity with partners. We will continue to lead in study abroad and study away, boosting ways to gain intercultural competency and immersion experiences that serve students and society well. Diversity, inclusion, and inclusive excellence will remain a core value and priority. This is not a separate goal but integrated into all we do to advance our institution. It is a vital part of our educational mission – preparing our students for the diverse world where they will live and work.

This is a whole new kind of strategic plan. It is not a 5- or 10-year blueprint set in stone. It is an agile, living, dynamic, evolving process. The speed of change requires constant vigilance, not only to anticipate financial issues but also to respond effectively to the creation of new fields, shifting workplace demands, real-time student needs, breakthrough discoveries, emerging markets, and other sources of unexpected challenges and opportunities.

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