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8-25-16 Provost Opening Letter to Division

Dear Colleague,

Welcome back to campus and to the start of a new academic year. I am especially pleased to welcome our new faculty and staff colleagues to Miami. I hope you all had a productive and enjoyable summer.

For many of us and our students, it has also been a sad and challenging summer as our nation struggled with the horrible events in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Dallas, St. Paul, and Milwaukee, and other devastating incidents around the world. These tragedies along with the existing concerns of our students, staff, and faculty around issues of inequalities and unfairness will likely be a central focus of conversations and activities on our campus this fall. Our new President Greg Crawford has made enhancing the diversity and inclusion efforts on Miami’s campuses a main priority for the coming year. You will receive more information about those efforts directly from President Crawford over the next few weeks.

I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that a critically important part of our mission in Academic Affairs is to prepare students who can live, work, and thrive in a global and diverse society. It is important that we foster conversations, interactions, activities, and events that are inclusive and will allow students to express themselves in a safe and respectful environment. Thank you in advance for the vital role that you will play in these discussions and initiatives in the coming months. Together, we have the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference at Miami and, in turn, beyond our campuses.


During the 2015-16 academic year, David Creamer and I provided information to the division, via presentations and reports, around multiple topics and questions submitted to us by University Senate. As I promised, I spent much of the summer conducting a detailed review of data and information regarding state and national trends in faculty composition and salaries. A thorough review is complicated and takes time, but I plan to present updated information in the coming months. I will be working with Senate to schedule and announce these sessions at Senate meetings, Faculty Assembly, and at an open forum with Dr. Creamer this fall. Further information and schedules will also be found in the Weekly Three emails, which will resume on next week.

After careful thought this summer, I want to share with you my priorities for the coming year:

  • Investing in Academic Programs
    1. Faculty and Staff – focusing particularly on diversity, development, salaries, composition, and satisfaction
    2. Curriculum and research – including optimization, rigor, outcomes, impact, and benchmarks
    3. Advancement and development – supporting fundraising initiatives
    4. Retention, graduation rates, student experiences, and success
  • Continuing to Improve Communications
    1. Department/divisional visits
    2. Develop and encourage interactions across units
    3. Strengthen the use of our governance system, including emphasizing the vital roles of University Senate and Faculty Assembly
    4. Provide information and updates about key issues on a timely and regular basis
  • Support the Growth of our Regional Campuses
    1. Raise the profile
    2. Increase enrollment and retention
    3. Build community and engagement

I am honored to serve as provost and am proud to work with faculty and staff who are committed to providing an exceptional educational opportunity for all of Miami’s students. I am continually energized by the commitment to excellence I witness every day across our campuses. My staff and I look forward to working with all of you as we meet the opportunities and the challenges that the new academic year will provide.

Until next week,

Phyllis