The rhythms of academic life provide, at least for me, valued fresh beginnings, the chance to look forward, opportunities to welcome back colleagues and, together, to welcome the coming academic year. This we do at Western, gathering Friday for breakfast. For those almost 800 who RSVP'd to attend the breakfast, Cyndie and I look forward to seeing you there.
Breakfast is followed by a program that begins promptly at 8:40 a.m. in the PAC. All are invited. Please do come.
We will first be celebrating, honoring, and thanking the colleagues who are receiving the university's highest awards. I will then speak about the year ahead.
Colleagues from across campus asked me, in my remarks, to be upbeat and to share my ideas about Western's future direction. I will do both. The upbeat remarks address the positive trajectories we are on as we better define, explain, and sustain the excellence that is Western.
And, as asked, I am going to cover what I now think, after 90 internal listening sessions and the external "100 Conversations," should be our one basic goal and what the four key strategies should be for achieving that goal.
Please do attend. Not because you need to hear my conclusions. But, because I need – the university needs – to hear from you: your thoughts and improvements as, Fall quarter, we settle upon a focused and strategic direction for Western.
That longer view is what really matters. Minutes ago, we also heard further details about the budget cuts we knew were coming and that I previously wrote to you about. I bet you are as tired of reading my comments on bleak budgets as I am tired of writing them. So, I am not going to once again go into the details through email. A statement can be found here. That statement summarizes the strategies and steps underway through our ongoing budget processes. Written more for the public and the press, we do get into some specifics in order to convey the seriousness of the situation as well as our firm commitment to adhere to top priorities by making certain tough choices.
We need to do all we can to shake such reactive modes, though, and that is part of what I will talk about tomorrow. I hope to see you there. And, thereafter, to hear your best thinking as we focus Western's future.