It is hard to believe that we are nearly at the end of the semester, and this message is appearing in the final issue of The Trail for this calendar year! I appreciate having this opportunity to share a few thoughts with the readers of The Trail, and I would like to offer a message that has been adapted from my December report to the faculty.
As classes come to a close and the winter break approaches, let’s take a deep breath and acknowledge the emotional journey we have been on over the past few months – the joy of welcoming our students fully back on campus for the fall semester for the first time since 2019, the satisfaction of knowing the individual and collective difference we can make in students’ lives, the connection of being in community again together, the worry and anxiety of the outcome of the Academic, Administrative, and Auxiliary Program Review (“AAAPR”), the shared outrage and personal and institutional reflection that was catalyzed by disruptions in our Town Hall just a few weeks ago, and, perhaps, the glimmering and growing hope for the bright future I know is in front of us. My faith in this university and its people is resolute, even in the face of anger, confrontation, and incivility. Because at the same time, I hear from many of our campus colleagues that they share my optimism, and they appreciate the urgent need to return to financial equilibrium and actualize our strategic goals. I have thought of little else since March 2020, and certainly, this has been the dominating focus of my attention since receiving the AAAPR Committee’s Report and Recommendations just over two months ago. I am buoyed by our colleagues who have similarly confirmed their understanding of our current situation and who affirm they are prepared to work collaboratively through the difficult decisions now and step forward together into a sound future for the university. We are in this together.
Following the work of the AAAPR Committee and the delivery of its report to me, I have taken many of their recommendations and ideas and worked with the members of the Cabinet and the Board of Trustees to develop a slate of strategies to meet this moment and catapult us forward. I have met multiple times with the AAAPR Committee, with the Faculty Senate Chair, with the Faculty Senate, with the Staff Senate, with ASUPS, with individual students, staff, and faculty, and with the more than 500 members of the campus community in our recent Town Hall. I have responded to innumerable emails and answered as many questions as I can. I have charged the members of the Cabinet to continue to think creatively and thoughtfully about how to address the structural issues in front of us with the least amount of harm to the university and its people. I have promised you continuing conversation and consultation, meaningful engagement, and a commitment to our shared governance principles as we move forward. This is the hallmark of our Puget Sound culture
I am pleased to inform you that a campus update regarding A Sound Future is currently being prepared and will be distributed prior to the end of this semester. The update will share with you some of the good implementation work already underway and provide more information regarding our path forward, consistent with my ongoing commitment to providing timely information regarding implementation of the strategies included in A Sound Future and our progress toward realizing our goals outlined in the Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan. I also encourage you to regularly review the A Sound Future website for FAQs, implementation timelines, and other campus communications.
We have a promising future ahead of us, but much work remains. As we head into break, it is my hope that those reading this message will make time to be with loved ones, friends, and family and to invest in rejuvenating yourselves. Enjoy this holiday season, and please accept my best wishes to all of you for a safe, healthy, and joyful new year.