Welcome to our spring semester! I want to thank you for all that you will do to make Spring 2011 a success. I’m pleased to report that our growth numbers are positive—a 3.5 percent increase in headcount over spring 2010— and this modest growth will go a long way to help us meet the fiscal realities we will face in the coming year. I want to take this opportunity to welcome you back to campus and update you briefly on several projects and initiatives that are coming this semester.
First, we welcome new leadership on our Board of Trustees. In December, General Chuck Horner, Ret., was elected chair and Lewis Bear, Jr. was elected vice chair. We look forward to working with both of them, as well as all of the members of our very distinguished board. We extend a special thanks to our longest-serving chairman, K.C. Clark, who is concluding his term on the board.
Next, the New Normal Initiative that began with a series of administrative retreats last summer identified two task forces and an outside consultant to gather information necessary to help us progress. The task forces were to provide information on 1) how to better serve nontraditional adult degree-seeking and non-degree seeking students and 2) to research and identify best practices on joining strategic planning and budgeting. In addition, a consultant was engaged to review our Emerald Coast operation and provide guidance for making it more effective and efficient.
The task forces and consultant study are nearing completion. Thus, the New Normal group will reconvene later this month for discussion and will hold a joint retreat with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to engage in dialogue regarding these findings.
Further, in order to inform us on the principles and implementation of joining strategic planning and budgeting, we are hosting the leading expert on this topic, Jane Wellman, the executive director of the Delta Project for Postsecondary Education Cost, Productivity and Accountability, on campus on February 25. She will conduct a workshop for our Board of Trustees and spend time with our Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and SGA leaders. We look forward to her insights and counsel on this important topic.
UWF is honored to host the Florida Board of Governors on Jan. 19 & 20, and there are many other important activities planned for Spring, including our SACS midterm review, the kickoff of our campus master planning process, a search for the vice president of administrative services, the beginning of the College of Business expansion, the opening of the new Health and Wellness Center, and the groundbreaking for housing expansion phase two. And together, our most wonderful accomplishment is the students we educate each day and those that will graduate this spring.
I hope you share my enthusiasm about Spring 2011. It is indeed an exciting time to be at the University of West Florida! I look forward to our many accomplishments together.