2-14-20 Weekly Three


I believe that a liberal education is grounded in qualities of character and intellect.

The second line of our Code of Love and Honor puts weighty and critical concepts front and center. Recall that the concept of a “liberal arts education” is rooted thousands of years ago as the vision for how to prepare an effective and valuable member of society. While many universities have eliminated or drastically reduced their liberal arts footprint in favor of professional or vocational education, we at Miami understand that both are critical. We prepare students not only for their first job, but for their first promotion to a leadership role, and for their subsequent career changes in addition to being a well-rounded global citizen. This week we received the first glimpse of the possible models our Liberal Education Council is proposing in response to the MiamiRISE recommendation to continue improving our Global Miami Plan. There will be opportunities throughout the spring for you to see their ideas. While we are actively discussing what a liberal arts education should look like, none of us questions the deep value that it provides.

We clearly identify “character” as an important value at Miami. Rather passing judgment as to what a “good” or “moral” character might be, what I think we probably do better than most is helping our students articulate their own personal values and moral compass. Our residential liberal arts experience leads our large and diverse group of students, facilitated by committed faculty and Student Life staff, to ask questions and engage in experiences that can prompt personal growth in reckoning with these challenging issues.

Our Code of Love and Honor is an explicit mandate for us to engage, rather than shy away, in challenging conversations both in class and outside of class. In doing so, we are helping create members of our global society who will understand rapidly evolving expectations about civil behavior (consent, inclusion, and respecting different viewpoints). I hope we are also instilling a disposition to take pride in challenging oneself to overcome obstacles rather than succumb to easy paths. When our future leaders can easily outsource their academic work, corporate superstars can be seen taking shortcuts to success, when distinguished faculty can find temptation to cut corners in their scholarly pursuits, when there are all manner of personal temptations available almost instantly online, it seems to me that we as an institution of educators and mentors have a duty to help our students mature and developing an adult identity. This might be one of the greatest and most overlooked benefits to what Miami offers. People may disagree with our stated values, but they know where we stand. In my mind, that is an important first step.

Now, for this week's Three:

Community Updates

  • University Senate – This week, senators submitted a list of great questions for me to respond to, which I hope to make a regular feature of Senate to ensure communication is bi-directional. Senate has been actively discussing challenging and important issues, including:
    • how to ensure shared governance is working at all levels;
    • maintaining a robust and active tenure-line faculty; 
    • how to live our values by continuing to improve the climate and working conditions for our TCPL and visiting faculty colleagues;
    • improving the curriculum approval process;
    • the composition and function of the Senate Executive Committee;
    • what we mean by “teacher-scholar” how we live these values;
    • and many more
  • Board of Trustees – Miami’s Board of Trustees will meet on campus next week, Feb. 19-21. You are invited to attend any of the public meetings of the full board and board committees. The full board schedule, agendas and materials for all meetings can be found here.
  • Faculty Assembly – At Wednesday’s Faculty Assembly, President Crawford and I discussed some of the details of our academic campus master plan including new buildings, renovation of Bachelor Hall, identifying space for our proposed Honors College, and which opens up opportunities for units to continue thinking about space and future needs. We will be presenting many of these ideas to our Board of Trustees next week and anticipate strong support. These campus improvements are critical to everything we are doing to ensure we remain a strong and vibrant university. The next Faculty Assembly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 10 at 4:15 in Shriver 104. One tentative topic includes Miami’s carbon neutrality/sustainability efforts.


  • As you know, February is Black History Month.  If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to attend one of the many great events planned for the month, I encourage you to review the list of events remaining to find one or more that may fit your schedule.
  • OEEO “Managing Bias” and “Diversity and Inclusion” Training – If you had not completed these two training programs during the voluntary stage, you should have received an email/emails mid-December titled “OEEO Online Training” with links to OEEO’s two (2)online training courses on “Managing Bias” and “Diversity and Inclusion.” These two training courses are now mandatory for all faculty and staff, and I encourage you to complete the training by the deadline included in your email. If you have any questions about the training, please contact the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity at 513-529-7157 or
  • Liberal Education Council and the Global Miami Plan (GMP) Revision - The committee will be holding additional listening sessions to update the community on the work that they have done. Each session will begin with an overview of the Three (3) plans they have developed after which there will be time for feedback and questions.
    • February 18, 2020 (4-5:30 pm)  McGuffey 224 (Oxford)
    • February  21, 2020 (2-3:30 pm) Wilks 200 (Hamilton) - Middletown (To Be Determined)
    • February  27, 2020 (4-5:30 pm) Benton 207 (Oxford)
    • February  28, 2020  (2-3:30 pm) Laws 302 (Oxford)

Thank you for all you are doing to get this semester off to a great start!

Love and Honor,