The Feedback Loop
The new academic year is off to a fast start! There is much to look forward to and much work to do to continue advancing “One Vanderbilt,” as we pursue excellence and equity in our rich environments of discovery and learning.
Last year, we made great progress and I learned much from talking with faculty and staff during receptions, breakfasts, dinners, and committee meetings in Kirkland Hall. This year, I bring Kirkland Hall to you. As part of this effort, I will be hosting informal discussion sessions, branded as “The Open Dore – On Location,” two times per month at various locations across campus (see sidebar for details). These conversations will be set in different buildings and the aim is to have colleagues from across the university in attendance. I encourage each of you to come share your thoughts on what is happening at Vanderbilt and how we can work together to continue Vanderbilt’s rise.
These “on location” discussion sessions are a continuation of the listening tour I began last year when I started as provost. I greatly value input from the Vanderbilt community, as it is a critical part of the feedback loop. Feedback loops – with outputs from a process used as inputs for the next cycle – have been studied by social scientists over the past 40 years as a way to help evaluate behaviors, analyze strategies, and refine processes. Everyone’s voice matters as we use feedback to continuously improve.
As I think about our efforts on a variety of fronts – the Academic Strategic Plan and the VU-VUMC reorganization, as examples – we are, and will continue, exchanging information and opinions to move Vanderbilt forward.
A number of ambitious endeavors are bringing significant change to our campus but that change also brings tremendous new opportunities. For example, we have launched a search for a new Vice Provost for Research and are making plans for how to better serve our scholarly community. We must navigate not only today’s national research climate but also further leverage “One Vanderbilt” to advance our agenda for discovery across all disciplines.
We also recently announced new investments in the graduate school that will allow us to recruit the best and will provide much needed support to our current graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The Academic Strategic Plan and the faculty-led Study Group drives this reevaluation and prioritization of graduate education.
As work moves forward in so many areas, the conversations we are having across campus are critical to continually identifying opportunities for improvement and adjustment.
This summer we focused on reviewing several core administrative services. A sincere thanks to the many who have offered input – either through the Faculty Senate, communication with the deans, or directly to my office. As a result, new advisory committees are focusing on such areas as IT support, pre-award management, and travel policies and services. In response to the work of the Faculty Senate, we also established the new retired faculty title and benefits.
This year we will continue to prioritize addressing issues of diversity and inclusion on campus. After an internal self-study and meetings with numerous groups, we announced several changes to better meet students’ needs including the appointment of associate dean Tina Smith to focus on inclusion initiatives and cultural competence. Just this past week, the chancellor announced a new committee chaired by Professors Keivan Stassun and Beverly Moran to chart a vision and path for the future.
I look forward to seeing many of you during “The Open Dore – On Location” sessions, in forums and committee meetings, at events, and around campus. During all of this, I will continue to use this newsletter and my website to regularly communicate updates on strategic planning, the reorganization, and other happenings. As always, feel free to email me at Provost@Vanderbilt.edu.
The listening tour never ends and I encourage each of you to offer your feedback into the loop and join the conversations in direct meetings so that we can track our progress, identify challenges, note our successes, and make improvements for the future.
Best wishes for a successful fall semester!
Previous Open Dore Issues
In case you missed it….
The Discovery ROI – May 2015
Strategic Decisions for Strategic Impact – April 2015
New Leaders and Calls for All to Engage – March 2015
A Culture Powered by Ideas – February 2015
Welcome to the First Issue of The Open Dore – January 2015
Civil rights focus of new John L. Seigenthaler Chair at Vanderbilt
Immersion, cross-college teaching strategic initiatives taking shape
TIPs pre-proposals due Oct. 23; proposal workshops scheduled
Center for Teaching launches Blackboard enhancements
Chancellor Faculty Fellows nominations open
Writing Studio and Tutoring Services relocate to 1801 Edgehill Ave.
Innovation Center to support campus ‘makers’; search underway for director
Sloop named associate provost for digital learning
Search to begin for vice provost for research
Barone named executive director of global learning and education
Seventeen cross-disciplinary projects win TIPs funding
New ‘retired faculty’ title and benefits established