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Provost - Open Dore E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

December 2015

Looking Ahead to 2016

Dear colleagues,

It has been a remarkable calendar year at Vanderbilt. With the dedication and hard work of everyone in our community, we have focused on making progress in advancing our strategic initiatives in discovery and learning, charting the future of the university and medical center, expanding our support of diversity and inclusion, and prioritizing open dialogue. I am deeply grateful for the time, energy, and critical conversations that each one of you offers in ensuring this positive momentum continues.

In 2015, as part of the Academic Strategic Plan action phase, we selected the first Trans-institutional Program awards and Chancellor Faculty Fellows and launched the second round of applications for both initiatives. We also made calls for Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Immersion projects and new University Courses and Multicultural University Courses. New innovative educational technology initiatives were spearheaded and faculty, staff, and students engaged in workshops to develop future initiatives in digital humanities.

As we look ahead to 2016, there is greater clarity about the path before us for the organizational transition between the university and the medical center. We will continue to benefit from the strongest of ties between all ten schools and colleges. For most, the transition will go largely unnoticed, as the commitments and agreements are designed to ensure our tried and true processes and collaborations stay in place. For others, I hope you will notice improvements and efficiencies, as the restructuring has offered us the opportunity to rethink our approach to several core business and academic processes. For instance, the new pre-award office designed by a faculty and staff committee will offer coordinated administration for grants and contracts from external funding agencies.

I appreciate the thoughtful questions many of you had at the recent town hall focused on research operations. We are making plans to hold another research town hall early next semester. We will also welcome Padma Raghavan on February 1st, as our new Vice Provost for Research. She will join us from Pennsylvania State University, bringing deep experience and skilled leadership to implement our bold new vision for the office, which will propel our discovery mission forward.

I also anticipate exciting updates in the new year that build on our efforts to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion across our campus. This fall we welcomed to campus Vanderbilt’s most diverse entering undergraduate class to date, and we are committed to a holistic admissions process. We also celebrated new leadership with George Hill’s recent appointment as Chief Diversity Officer, and Associate Dean Tina Smith and Assistant Dean Frank Dobson’s promotions. Moreover, new investments are being made in student support and the curriculum. And, importantly, our re-envisioned faculty searches are yielding greater accountability and some early successes in forging a more diverse faculty.  All of these efforts require a commitment to change that is fundamental to the workings of the institution.  As a result, these changes will be enduring, making them incredibly exhilarating.

We will be sharing news on more exciting additions to the Vanderbilt team in the coming weeks as searches continue for the new dean of the Graduate School, the first executive director of the Innovation Center and our next university librarian.

Although much has been accomplished in the past 12 months – there is always more to do as we continue to aim high and address challenges. We will only be able to achieve our best if all give constructive input and energy. Thank you for speaking up and stepping up as we look ahead to 2016. I look forward to seeing many of you around campus, in meetings or at one of my Open Dore On Location sessions next semester.

Best wishes for a relaxing holiday and winter break.


Susan Wente

Other News

Center for Student Wellbeing, assistant director for access and inclusion at Psychological and Counseling Center announced

Vanderbilt joins Supreme Court amicus brief supporting use of race in admissions

Land use town hall participants articulate campus likes—and dislikes

Previous Open Dore Issues

In case you missed it….

A Message on Diversity and Inclusion – November 2015

One VU to the World – October 2015

On Location Update – September 2015

The Feedback Loop – August 2015

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

Check out the latest dates, times and locations.

Faculty and staff are invited to attend informal discussion sessions held at locations across campus.

Welcome Padma Raghavan!

Following an extensive national search, Padma Raghavan, a distinguished researcher in high-performance computing and computational science and engineering and a proven academic research enterprise leader, has been named as Vanderbilt University’s next vice provost for research.

Application Window Closed for University Courses and Multicultural University Courses

The Cross-College Teaching and Multicultural University Courses Committee will begin reviewing applications for courses designed to promote new and creative trans-institutional learning and to leverage the natural synergies across Vanderbilt’s ten schools and colleges.

Welcome George C. Hill, Vanderbilt’s First Chief Diversity Officer

George C. Hill is charged with articulating the vision and working with the chancellor and the provost to provide leadership in cultivating an inclusive, diverse and equitable academic community.

Tim McNamara to Step Down from Provost’s Office

McNamara plans to return to full-time research and teaching, starting with a leave that will begin Jan. 1, 2016. “I am deeply grateful for his commitment to the university and for helping to advance Vanderbilt’s missions of discovery and global engagement,” said Provost Susan Wente.


Helpful Links

VU/VUMC Transition

Provost Website

Advisory Committees

Search Committees

Strategic Plan Committees


Office of the Provost  |  vanderbilt.edu/provost

Helpful Links

Provost Website
Advisory Committees
Search Committees
Strategic Plan Committees

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