President Goldfarb's Spring 2005 Letter
January 13, 2005
Dear Campus Community,
As we begin the Spring 2005 semester, let me take this opportunity to welcome back faculty, students, staff and community members; reflect on the fall semester; and look forward to the remainder of the academic year. While we continue facing difficult budgetary challenges from reduced state resources, I remain enthusiastic about the continuing progress toward the institutional goals outlined in our strategic plan, Higher Values In Higher Education, and the successes we have achieved thus far.
At the close of the fall semester, I reminded members of the graduating class how they should repay the benefits and privileges of their college education through leadership roles in their communities, and, we hope, their alma mater, Western Illinois University. Our graduates should continue to volunteer and share their skills as well as their future good fortunes. It is important that our University share with our students the values of academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility.
In that context Western has supported civic engagement as a theme for this academic year. Our students have participated in activities through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities American Democracy Project. This projects goal is to urge college students to engage in the democratic processes in their local communities. The student voter turnout last November reflected the success of the American Democracy Project.
It has been rewarding to read stories about the involvement of Western Illinois University students in numerous volunteer projects in the Macomb and Quad Cities areas. A few of these include a People-To-People volunteer expo in Moline; collecting funds to benefit Sudan; a fundraiser for St. Jude; sponsorship of a hunger banquet; participation in a blood drive; donations for community service projects; the Big Pink Volleyball Tournament for Breast Cancer research; and food drives for local pantries.
While our students exhibit outstanding characteristics as good citizens, the University as a whole is pleased with other projects and programs such as the pilot First-Year Experience for students in the Illinois Centennial Honors College and the high visibility we have received for our Cost Guarantee, GradTrac, and the first doctoral program on the horizon for Western, an Ed.D. in educational leadership to serve educators in our region.
University enrollment increased last fall and we are optimistic we will have additional growth in 2005. Last fall we had to close admissions by August 1, and we may have to move that cutoff date earlier for next falls incoming students. As part of our campuswide commitment to new recruitment initiatives we have a more diverse student, faculty, and staff population; and will continue to strive for greater diversity in the coming years.
We are thankful for the progress we made on campus facilities projects. Last fall we opened a new residence hall and partnered with the Western Illinois Credit Union for a location for their new facility. Funds for the Memorial Hall rehabilitation were released, and we have moved forward with plans to relocate current operations and plan the renovations. Our Entrepreneurship Center and Small Business Development Center, along with many related activities, moved off campus to partner with MAEDCO, and many of you toured those facilities during an open house.
While we have not received funds for our new Quad Cities Riverfront Campus, we are hoping that $1.5 million will be allocated for architectural and engineering work as soon as possible. And, of course, we continue to politic for the release of the planning funds for our Performing Arts Center on the Macomb campus to serve the campus and the region.
I look forward to working with the University community in 2005 as we continue to make progress on our strategic plan and goals for Western Illinois University.
All my best wishes for a great spring semester.
Al Goldfarb, President