Friday Letter 2016-12-02:
A Year of Progress at UI
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This has been an exciting year at the University of Idaho. Across our statewide campus, new programs, initiatives and facilities are making an impact. The hard work of our faculty and staff has been complemented by the commitment of our students, alumni and friends. Our 2016 Annual Report, released this week, captures some of those successes and lays the groundwork for future excellence.
The annual report is used to assess our progress and adjust efforts in the next year. It sets a baseline for gauging our impact in key areas — research and scholarship, teaching and learning, and outreach and engagement. In coming years, expect to see annual progress on our strategic plan goals documented here.
The annual report offers a chance for reflection and assessment. Where are we doing well? Where could we be stronger? Readers will also find a focus on the intangibles that make us who we are: our mission and vision, as well as our institutional principles and values of excellence, respect, integrity, perseverance and sustainability. These are concepts that unite us; they are not just words, but deeply held commitments to beliefs and practices.
The report also highlights the tangible excellence we achieved in the past year. We grew our enrollment, including bringing more Idaho students into higher education through the Direct Admissions initiative. We completed a total renovation of our College of Education building and a remodel of our Wallace Residence Center. We created a new Office of Undergraduate Research and spurred innovation with the Vandal Ideas Project. Our land-grant research footprint surpassed $100 million in research expenditures. And we set our sights on a market-based compensation system as part of our dedication to fostering an outstanding work environment. These are but a few examples — see the full report for more.
I have intentionally used the first person plural in discussing these successes. Individual efforts are important, but these accomplishments are not something any one of us does alone. We come together as a university community — and that includes our alumni and supporters — to build a better UI for our students and our state. We all have valuable roles to play.
That collaboration has our institution moving forward. We have made great progress this year, and we have outstanding success to build on in the years ahead. I say it often because it’s true: We are a brave and bold institution. So in the words of our fight song, let’s “all bear down for Idaho.”
Go mighty Vandals!
P.S. With a 7-4 record with one game left in the season, our Vandal football team is bowl eligible! We will have information to share soon about which bowl game we will be playing in. Congratulations to the Vandal football student-athletes, coaches and staff. The football team’s motto, “Expect to Win,” aptly describes the brave and bold way Vandals have approached this season on and off the field. It’s also a great attitude to apply to endeavors across UI life and work. You can help our student-athletes win off the field, too, with a donation to the Vandal Scholarship Fund. Go Vandals!