Letter from Brother Ronald Gallagher,
26 May 2005
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Last weekend's traditional undergraduate and graduate commencements culminated a noteworthy year for the College. Having participated in previous Saint Mary's commencements as a graduating senior and later as a faculty member, I found it a privilege to take part in these ceremonies for the first time as President. I want to express appreciation to the community for steadfastly supporting our students throughout the year, and thank those who supported or participated in the weekend's events and activities. I wish everyone a safe, restful summer.
As we bid farewell to this year's graduates and prepare to welcome new undergraduate and graduate cohorts over the next few months, we also enter a period of transition for our adult serving programs. I want to provide some additional context to the decision by trustees to end admissions to SEED undergraduate degree completion programs, as reported in Provost Stampp's Friday email.
I want to first reaffirm that serving adult learners is a legitimate expression of our Lasallian tradition. In SEED's 26 years, thousands of adult learners have earned Saint Mary's degrees. These alumni, and the faculty and staff who served them, should be justifiably proud of their educational accomplishments. The faculty and staff who have served in these programs have consistently shown a high level of commitment to the mission of the College and deserve the thanks of the entire Saint Mary's Community for their dedication.
These programs in Extended Education have operated for the most part out of the purview of the main campus community, and many who work in SEED have expressed to me that their feelings of isolation have made the recent months of uncertainty about the future of their programs even more painful. On behalf of the administration, I would like to express my regrets to all who have felt such isolation.
We look forward to continuing to serve adult learners at Saint Mary's. Currently enrolled SEED students will be welcomed to continue their studies. Recruitment efforts for new LEAP and MA in Leadership cohorts will continue under a more efficient organizational model. Next month, a nationally recognized consultant will be engaged to help us evaluate potential new opportunities in professional and graduate education. I look forward to sharing the results of this work as well as progress in other areas of strategic planning.
The decision by trustees to end admissions to our adult serving undergraduate programs will impact certain staff and non-tenured faculty within SEED. Provost Sally Stampp, Interim Dean Donald MacIntyre, and Vice President for Finance Pete Michell are coordinating efforts in support of these individuals. Meetings with staff to elaborate on these plans are occurring this week. I can assure the community that all decisions and actions will be guided and informed by the College's core values. As plans are more fully developed, Sally, Pete, Don, and others will keep our community appropriately informed.
Brother Ronald Gallagher, FSC