Dream no small dreams
The memory of my inauguration—almost two weeks ago now—is a special one for me. What a wonderful celebration of UTSA’s future! I was so honored by the students, faculty, staff, local community members, friends and family who participated in the day, and quite awestruck by the musical and dance performances. My heartfelt thanks to all those involved.
My pride in this institution grows by leaps and bounds as I see Roadrunners living out the foundation of my inaugural remarks: dream no small dreams. Big dreams are all around us at UTSA, and growth, strategic change and innovation are our new constants.
Where to next?
This week sees our last of five candidates for provost and vice president for academic affairs. I will be looking at written feedback from the open forums and constituent group gatherings, meeting with select groups to hear their input, and working with the search consultant to gather insights from the candidates’ references. We expect to make an offer within the next few weeks with the intent to have the new provost start in early June. This hire is an important one for our institution. Thanks to all who have participated in the search.
Six Strategic Themes
We are at the point where our six strategic themes have gelled and can now serve as our bedrock. Thanks to those of you who participated in my “community conversations,” attended Tacos with Taylor sessions, and shared ideas with me through email and hallway conversations. Your feedback was invaluable to the visioning process.
One of our next steps is to establish a Strategic Plan Implementation Advisory Committee, consisting of a broad array of internal and external stakeholders. This group will counsel me along the path toward achieving our vision as a multicultural discovery enterprise and urban-serving institution, helping to prioritize our initiatives with the potential for broadest impact. We are in the process of identifying and inviting potential members now, and they will be announced soon.
Campus Conversations 2.0
It’s important to me that regular campus community dialogues are staples of my presidency. This summer I will be embarking on my next round of community conversations, gathering with colleges and faculty/staff/student constituency groups to present an integrated path forward for the next phases of our strategic plan implementation and the issues that merit attention.
I also plan to use these meetings as forums for gathering feedback regarding proposed revisions to UTSA’s mission/vision statements, as well as a new institutional statement on diversity and inclusion. As with our six themes, these foundational statements must belong to all of us as community, and I want everyone to have the opportunity to help shape them.
Campus Master Planning Process
We are required to produce a campus master plan every five years, and fortuitously this timeframe aligns with our strategic plan implementation efforts. Four firms have been interviewed and two finalists are undergoing reference checks. We expect to name a firm later this month and to begin the campus master planning process for the main, downtown and Park West campuses. The effort will take about a year and we look forward to deep campus and community involvement.
Focus on the Downtown Campus
Presidential initiatives are underway to achieve a fully realized Downtown Campus, including the exploration of residential opportunities. I will be hosting a series of town halls this month with students, staff and faculty to share a vision and to seek input. More information will be shared next week.
I know that the next six weeks will be busy ones as we finish out the semester and head towards spring commencement. Please remember that the work you are doing is important and valued. The big dreams you dream for UTSA and our students are within grasp.