At my request, the Redefining the Library Committee was established to propose a plan for the future direction of the Libraries.  The committee has fulfilled their charge, developed a report with recommendations, and solicited response(s) to the report via a survey sent to Library faculty and staff and Information Technology Services (ITS) staff.  The Library Policies Committee of the Faculty Senate is currently reviewing this report and will present their feedback to Provost Weddle-West and me by the end of 2014 Fall Semester.  Let me express my gratitude to Dr. Green and the Faculty Senate committee for taking on this important task.  Let me assure all that we are committed to a strong, healthy and effective library, one that advances both our educational and research missions.

The feedback from the Faculty Senate committee will become part of the documentation that will be considered as we chart the future direction of the library and information services on campus.  It is anticipated that a decision will be communicated to the university community by mid-January, 2015. At that time, planning for implementation will begin.  Both faculty and staff will have significant engagement in both the planning and implementation processes as we move ahead.

I appreciate your patience throughout this process.  These are complex issues with significant impact for UofM, and we value the work done to assist in the understanding of our options and opportunities.  No changes have been implemented to date.  We will await direction from the committee first.

We look forward to charting a path that reflects the best practices for the libraries and information services.  I am very much committed to the library being the heart of intellectual activity and collaborative learning on campus and our future will certainly reflect that commitment in concrete fashion.

Regards,

M. David Rudd, President

SACS report filed

We are pleased to report that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) University of Memphis Reaffirmation of Accreditation compliance report has been completed and sent to the off-site reviewers. Reaffirmation of reaccreditation is required once every ten years.  Our SACSCOC project began more than 20 months ago when many people, from all divisions of the university, began the thoughtful work necessary to provide the supporting documentation for the Standards.

The more than 91 Standards, separated into three categories (Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements), address every aspect of the university and its functions. In our response, we needed to demonstrate that policies, functions, and decisions support the mission of the University of Memphis.

Off-site reviewers will determine if the U of M has satisfactorily responded to the more than 91 Standards of the Principles of Accreditation. Should the off-site reviewers conclude that additional information is required, focused reports will be prepared prior to the March 2015 on-campus site visit. The onsite reviewers will visit the campus, conduct meetings with various offices and employees, and advise us on the Quality Enhancement Plan.

The reaccreditation process is necessary for access to federal research and student funding, transfer capability of our students, and recognition of our peers.  However, the real value goes beyond these basics. This process causes us to look both inward and outward. We use SACSCOC accreditation to assess where we excel, determine what we do well, and ascertain how we need to improve.

I appreciate the thoughtful work and countless hours by the leadership of the SACSCOC team, particularly Interim Vice Provost of Academic Programs and Effectiveness and SACSCOC liaison Dr. Dan Poje; Director of Curriculum Planning Dr. Cathy Serex; Administrative Associate Kenya Sanders; Graduate Assistant Stephanie Zuckerman; the members of the various SACSCOC committees; and the many other individuals who have helped to get us this far. 

I encourage all University of Memphis faculty, staff and students to visit the University of Memphis SACSCOC website (http://memphis.edu/sacscoc2015).  Here you will see the result of the hard work and dedication that contributed to the completion of the compliance report. We look forward to the advancement of the University of Memphis through this careful study and the visible demonstration of our quality, breadth, and focus.

Filing this SACSOC report is a milestone to celebrate!

M. David Rudd, President

My home page on the University of Memphis website has a great new look, launched this week. You can find it at http://memphis.edu/presweb/.

I invite you to take a look at it. The focus on the web page is squarely on student success (recruitment, retention, completion), community engagement/partnerships, and advancement of our research mission.  Given the inaugural year, my welcome message emphasizes the upcoming “Year of Service” where students, faculty, staff and alums hope to donate at least 500,000 hours of service to their communities in Memphis, Jackson and beyond.

Users are now able to easily find the tools and information online that will move them forward in their college career from admission to graduation. A new Dashboard tab provides instant access to relevant data and supports the University’s determination to share the metrics that drive decision-making across all domains, divisions and units.

Prospective and current students, faculty and staff should find the site more seamless to navigate, thanks to the succinct menu bar across the center of the page. Frequently used pages are listed on the bottom portion of every web page. The prominently displayed Stay Connected window provides links to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the President’s Blog sites.

One noticeable difference happens when resizing the webpage’s window. As part of the University’s overall website redesign, the page utilizes responsive design. This means that navigation to the most used resources will be easier, and the website will automatically adjust to the screen size of most mobile devices.

“The goal is to make it easier for you to stay connected to the University of Memphis, and a comprehensive website redesign project will better reflect our engagement with and service to Memphis and the region,” explains Ellen Watson, vice provost for Information Technology and chief information officer.  Another example of the redesign can be found in a newly launched University Libraries’ homepage at http://www.memphis.edu/libraries/.

And there is much more ahead. The University has engaged Second to Nunn Design (S2N Design), which will oversee the creation of a comprehensive redesign project in the coming months, says Watson. “We expect the new University website to launch near the end of fall semester, but it will take time for all of the 16,000+ web pages to be converted to the new design.”

In the meantime, please look in at my website regularly to see how we are doing and to keep up with our progress. I think you will be impressed by it. It is one of the many ways to stay connected at U of M.

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

Dear Colleagues:

I was pleased to learn yesterday that our research expenditures for the past year (FY 2014) were $57.2M, up almost 10% from the previous year. Similarly, expenditures for FY 2015 are already $15.1M, up 5.7% over this time last year.  We have some incredibly exciting research news to share on Friday so please stay tuned.  This progress is consistent with our efforts to improve research support and infrastructure articulated in last year’s research capacity analysis.  I want to thank our VP for Research, Dr. Andy Meyers and his team for continued great work.  I also want to recognize the talented faculty driving a broad array of creative, impactful and cutting-edge projects that are helping make our community and world a better place.

It’s also a pleasure to share that student applications for this year are moving at a remarkable pace.  We have 7,045 applications to date, and have already admitted 1,522 students for the fall of 2015.  You might recall that prior to last year’s record numbers, we received in the ballpark of 7,500 applications for an entire year, something we’ve almost accomplished in the first quarter.  It’s good to be a Tiger.

Best Regards,

M. David Rudd, President