Greatest Appreciation for our Staff
With the graduation of another cohort of amazing students and spring semester classes now complete, the summer season is well upon us. While certainly quieter this week, I know that the staff in our schools and colleges are still hard at work – wrapping up projects from the past academic year, supporting summer and year-round programs, and preparing all of us for the next academic year.
At such a special time, I want to pause to recognize all the efforts of our staff in Academic Affairs. Simply put: our staff are essential for advancing Vanderbilt’s missions in discovery, learning and service. Staff colleagues are critical to the success of our academic programs – from recruiting and admissions, to grants and business transactions, to events coordination and research support, to the daily work that keeps our operations moving forward. In addition, as higher education administration professionals, our staff are essential partners in ensuring that we all pursue best practices and are innovative in our work.
During the past three years in my role as Provost, I know that we have called upon our staff in especially extraordinary ways. Implementing new initiatives related to the Academic Strategic Plan has meant developing fresh processes and programs for which staff input has been critical. Significant efforts have also been required to adapt to the new administrative realities required by the university and the medical center re-organization. And since this past fall, many staff have been putting in extra hours to launch SkyVU and the transition to the Oracle cloud system. While we can all surely recognize that many of our business systems are in need of updating, the act of doing so is complicated and time-intensive. I extend my sincerest gratitude to each and every staff colleague for their time and attention to the painstaking details that are making sure we get all of this right.
With so much change and so much effort expended, how can we best support and recognize staff efforts? For the first time this year, the Chancellor announced the new Winter Break with the university closing from Friday, December 23 – Friday, December 30. This dedicated time to take a collective break had restorative effects, but we know that more can be done to contribute to staff wellness and work-life balance. The Chancellor’s Mental Health and Wellness Committee is directly charged with making recommendations for such. We also need to ensure that our staff have career development opportunities in our academic units. I am also actively working with Chancellor Zeppos and Vice Chancellor Eric Kopstain on new initiatives and appreciate any and all suggestions.
The collegiate “One Vanderbilt” spirit connects all ten schools and colleges as well as all faculty, students and staff across our academic affairs efforts. I am proud of the effort that all in our community are putting forth to support an open and inclusive university environment. As we work collaboratively together, we ensure that Vanderbilt offers the best educational experience and produces ground-breaking research, scholarship and works of creative expression for the good of our society.
At the end of this 2016-17 academic year, please join me in thanking all of our academic affairs staff for all they do for Vanderbilt. It would be impossible without our outstanding staff.
Susan R. Wente
TIPs NetsBlox project aims to make computer programming intuitive and understandable
Celebration honors 11 endowed chair holders
Time Machine: Old technology finds new life in first-year student programming
University Courses program wraps up successful first year
Vanderbilt Divinity School announces renovation and expansion
Fauchet reappointed dean of School of Engineering
Previous Open Dore Issues
In case you missed it….
Investing in our Future
An Every-10-Year Tradition: Our Reaffirmation of Accreditation – March 2017
The COACHE Survey: Be Informed about Faculty Satisfaction – February 2017
The January Jumpstart – January 2017
All past issues