Go Big, Be Bold – Be Vanderbilt
“At Vanderbilt, we are not just staying the course, we are going big and going bold to advance in every way our values and mission.” – Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, Fall Faculty Assembly
Three years into the action phase of the Academic Strategic Plan, these words from the Chancellor underscore Vanderbilt’s ongoing commitment to lead in education, research and scholarship. I embrace this challenge to be bold, and consider new ways to support our faculty and students. How will each of us contribute to this charge?
Boldness requires creativity and innovation. I could cite multiple examples of efforts in all corners of campus that are forging positive change; yet, I focus here on two that aim to enrich our faculty and student experiences. This month we announced the launch of the Office of Immersion Resources, a novel administrative partner for the schools and colleges, conceived of from the input of the entire Vanderbilt community. As Immersion Vanderbilt goes through the process of passing faculty governance, important insights and considerations continue to shape what this initiative is and will be. Together, the faculty are making this a truly unique program, the likes of which could only be done at Vanderbilt. The “One Vanderbilt” spirit is such an important part of the program’s success. Our compact campus allows faculty from Owen, Law, Divinity, Nursing and Medicine to also support the program. I have been encouraged by the enthusiastic response from our professional and graduate schools who see how Immersion Vanderbilt advances their respective missions.
Having immersion projects as a formal part of an undergraduate student’s experience will further set a Vanderbilt education apart from other universities. It says to students, “we recognize the importance of out-of-classroom opportunities to apply skills and pursue passions; we want to help you make it happen.” It says to faculty, “we know you play an important role in students’ success and we are committed to supporting you as you support our students.” We have made resources available to both students and faculty to make successful Immersion experiences possible.
As we continue to develop this new initiative, we have developed a set of FAQs to ensure all have the latest information about Immersion Vanderbilt.
We are also committed to bold innovations in graduate education. The fall of 2018 will bring the inauguration of the Russell G. Hamilton Scholarships and Graduate Leadership Development Institute. Attracting the best graduate students is critical to advancing research and discovery, and we recognize the importance of training Ph.D. students for the benefit of society at large. Our leadership institute will provide training and resources to prepare graduate students for careers in government, industry, academics, non-profits and more. The value of graduate education has never been more obvious as the world becomes increasingly complex and integrated. The planning group for the institute will soon be announced and I encourage you to reach out with your most creative and impactful ideas.
I also want to note that our boldness is paying off. The students who choose Vanderbilt are more academically talented and diverse than ever. Be on the look out for the official update on the undergraduate Class of 2021 enrollment data – the students in Arts & Science, Blair, Engineering and Peabody are amazing. Moreover, renowned faculty from all over the country are choosing to call Vanderbilt home because of the faculty and students they will come to work with. And in this year’s U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges ranking, Vanderbilt moved up to number 14.
And, we are not stopping here. There is more to do. Be bold and reach out to the Data Science Visions Working Group with your ideas on big data, digital humanities, analytics or even artificial intelligence. Go big and bold and apply for a grant to enrich our Library Collections, to start a new center/institute through TIPs, or develop a new University Course. Be bold and share your ideas with me during my Open Dore on Location office hours. Please also remember to check the Provost website for the numerous faculty professional development events, resources and funding programs available – all of which are designed to help faculty at every rank and career stage be bold and reach new heights.
We will be bold together in advocating for the very best for all, and the creative spirit of our entire community has and will continue to push us ahead in research and education excellence.
Susan R. Wente
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