March Updates (March 16, 2022)

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Even as Lawrentians are preparing for finals and finishing up winter term, spring is in the air. Each day brings more light than the day before, and I’m seeing more faces of colleagues and students as I walk across campus. It’s clear that we are all ready for a well-deserved break and more days in the sun.

As we look to the possibilities for renewal that spring brings, I am pleased to report that we are making great progress on planning for the future of Lawrence. We have started to receive reports from our Guiding Coalitions, and to date, the Full Speed to Full Need and Amplifying Athletics coalitions have submitted their findings and recommendations. The Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Antiracism group will submit their report shortly, and the Visioning Committee is continuing to work through March and will submit their report in April, as will the Strategic Equitable Enrollment Management (SEEM) team.

Our Strategic Planning Committee has also made great progress evaluating the results of our current strategic plan, Veritas Est Lux, and preparing for our future planning process. The committee is currently assessing each component of Veritas Est Lux, noting where we have completed or institutionalized initiatives and where we’ve made progress or fallen behind. The work of the Guiding Coalitions and SEEM will inform the next phase of the process, during which the committee will partner with well-known consultant firm Keeling & Associates. Keeling will assist them through the remainder of the strategic planning process, which will outline an institutional strategy for the next 3-5 years. The committee plans to use our shared governance model, existing committee structures, new staff structures, town halls, and surveys to ensure we have input from all community members as we finalize a plan.

Simultaneously, we are working though shared governance to create our strategic investment plan. We held the first meeting last week with our planning team, which consists of students, faculty, staff, and Cabinet members, and we will continue to meet on a weekly basis until the May Board meeting. We have gotten a head-start on a few projects, including infrastructure improvements to Music-Drama and the Warch Campus Center as well as brand elevation work, both of which require time and resources to implement. I am excited about the work and opportunities ahead and look forward to sharing our progress with the community.

Thank you, once again, to all community members who served on the coalitions and committees and participated in various discussions and town hall meetings. Your participation and input in the process is invaluable as we work together to build Lawrence’s bright future.

I’m pleased to report that Eric Schacht, who graduated from Lawrence with a government degree in 1991, is returning to his alma mater to serve as our new university counsel. After graduating from Lawrence, Eric worked in risk management, litigation, and insurance for more than a decade before pursuing his J.D. from the University of Illinois. He has worked at the Wolfram Companies since receiving his law degree, most recently as general counsel.

Eric is truly excited to return to his alma mater, stating, “I have not lost my passion for the university, and I look forward to using my position to ensure that the current and future students of LU are able to succeed and thrive as I was.” I look forward to working with Eric, who will officially start his role on March 28 and will serve on the President’s Cabinet.

Dwight and Marjorie Peterson Professor of Innovation and Associate Professor of Economics Adam Galambos will also join the President’s Cabinet starting this month in his role as special assistant to the president. He will replace Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and Associate Professor of Government Jason Brozek, who will end his term as special assistant this June. Adam is joining the Cabinet early to assist with the strategic initiatives planning process. I look forward to working with him in his new role at this exciting time.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on Women’s History Month, which is made even more special for me this year as the leader of one our nation’s first co-educational institutions. This institutional commitment was renewed in 1964 with Lawrence’s consolidation with Milwaukee-Downer College, one of our nation’s preeminent women’s colleges. And as a former student-athlete, I cannot forget to mention the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which leveled the collegiate playing field for women athletes, including me. Its impact is still felt today.

“Providing healing, promoting hope” is the theme of Women’s History Month this year. As we conclude winter term and look to the spring, I hope our upcoming break brings you moments of healing after a challenging term and fills you with hope for the new term ahead.