As we head into the month of March I would like to keep you all updated on several items of importance to the entire College.
1. I would like to thank all who took the opportunity to attend the Convocation honoring Brother Vincent Malham. Many of you have communicated to me and to others that you were moved by Brother Vincent's presentation and the convocation as a whole. So was I. Brother Vincent has sent his sincere thanks for the honor accorded him and for the ceremony.
2. The College received a letter from the WASC Commission containing the official report on Thursday, March 3. We will be publishing the report on the College WASC website on Monday, March 7. Among many positive aspects, the report commended the College for its "strong and diverse approach to facilitating social justice," for "its High Potential Program" and "its positive efforts to use the
program review process to align the College's programs with â€¦ Catholic, Lasallian and liberal arts themes." The WASC Commission also acted to:
- Reaffirm the accreditation of Saint Mary's College;
- Schedule the Capacity and Preparatory Review in fall 2012 and the Educational Effectiveness Review in fall 2013;
- Schedule Special Visits in fall 2005 and fall 2007. The focus of the 2005 Special Visit is the EdD in regards to capacity, student enrollment, program vision and educational effectiveness. The focus of the Special Visit in fall 2007 is on the following topics: adult and graduate education, library resources, diversity, and an update on the EdD program; and
- Suspend admissions to the EdD program subject to Commission action at its February 2006 meeting.
You will find more information on these issues in the letter from the Commission.
3. The Saint Mary's College Board of Trustees held its annual retreat on February 25 and 26. The topics for discussion at the three sessions were SEED, the College's Development Program, and the College's identity and related marketing strategies. The SEED discussion took into account the 2003 Task Force on SEED, the implications of the AACSB accreditation process, current enrollment and finance issues, competitiveness of our current programs in today's market, and governance issues. The Board of Trustees expects the College to move expeditiously to formulate a plan to effectuate changes in SEED in light of the necessity to discontinue the BA in management program and maintain the competitiveness and integrity of the other programs currently operating under the
auspices of SEED. The Board passed a resolution authorizing the College to pursue the possibility of a transfer of some of SEED's programs to Regis University or a "like entity" that shares the educational mission and institutional values of the College. The Board expects us to present a plan by its May 2005 meeting and to "provide opportunities for appropriate comment from various interested individuals at the College, including, but not limited to the faculty of the College."
I have already spoken to the SEED staff and faculty about these issues at a meeting on Friday, March 4. Beginning with the Cabinet, I invite various groups and individuals at every appropriate level of the College to respond to these challenges and directions from WASC and the Board of Trustees. Our response can also be framed and guided by questions such as these:
- How can we better connect the graduate and professional programs to the core traditions of Saint Mary's College?
- How can our efforts to improve our appreciation of the diversity of our College be better connected to our core traditions and values?
- What are the most appropriate governance, organizational and financial structures for graduate, professional, and undergraduate programs?
- How can we assure that the integrity of our programs and the ethical and just treatment of staff, faculty and students are guaranteed in the midst of possible changes?
Brother Ronald Gallagher, FSC