In his first report to a Stated Meeting of the Trustees since taking
office as Provost in January, Dr. Robert Barchi sketched briefly four
overarching goals for his office. The following was compiled from his outline
and from notes.--Ed.
Four Goals Going into the Millennium
From the Provosot's Report to the Trustees, February
Good afternoon. It is a pleasure and a privilege to join you here this
afternoon for my first stated meeting as Penn's newest Provost.
I am energized and excited by the challenges facing us as a University
and I look forward to developing a strong alliance with you in the years
This early in my term I would not presume to articulate goals as rich
and all encompassing as those developed by President Rodin and others in
But I do want to briefly summarize for you four overarching goals I
have established for the Provost's office as we enter this exciting era
in Penn's history. I have developed these with President Rodin's Agenda
for Excellence as my guide. They are intended to complement the fine
work that is already underway and in some instances, to work with the President,
the Deans, the Executive Vice President and others to take that work to
its next highest level.
This is by no means a static list and I anticipate many additional components
will be added to it as we move forward together into the new millennium.
I am particularly looking forward to developing a close collaboration
with President Rodin as we both work with our 12 Deans to refine, expand
and augment Penn's academic priorities in these next years. The four major
- To enrich the intellectual climate of the University
- To encourage innovation in teaching and research
- To implement and advance Agenda
for Excellence priorities, and
- To strengthen the academic infrastructure of the University
Let me tell you a bit more about each of these goals:
1. To enrich the intellectual climate of the University:
- The College Houses now form a cohesive system that will allow us to
knit together undergraduate education, giving us the infrastructure for
additional programs that cut across the University.
- Expanding our Hubs, such as the Writers House and Civic House, will
give us more opportunities to sponsor events, from social events to performances,
that bring faculty and students together.
- Improved learning spaces, and improved recreational, performing arts,
and social space also present new opportunities.
- Finally, the Office of the Provost will regularly host intellectually
enriching events, including concerts, lectures, and performing arts activities.
2. To encourage innovation in teaching and research:
- Working closely with the Deans and the schools, we should further
expand on our highly successful interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary
programs, strengthen linkages and remove barriers between schools.
- Again working closely with the Deans and the schools, we will explore
and expand upon distributed learning opportunities.
- I expect to provide seed support to promote innovative teaching initiatives,
and foster student-based experiments in education in order to maintain
Penn's exceptional standards for teaching.
3. To implement and advance the priorities of the
Agenda for Excellence:
- We must, with the President and the Deans, carry forward the Six
Academic Priorities (Almanac September 24, 1996), and begin
to develop the next chapter in this plan.
- We must also provide the Deans with the empowerment and the resources
necessary to carry out their own strategic plans within the context of
the overall Agenda.
4. To strengthen the academic infrastructure of the University:
Let me begin by reaffirming the Office of Provost in its stated role
as the principal academic officer of the University, working in close partnership
with the President and the Deans. I will also:
- Carefully evaluate and improve the Provost's office structure to
best serve the needs of our community of scholars;
- Use the resources of the Provost's office to attract and retain an
excellent and diverse faculty;
- Work closely with the schools and the faculty on developing appropriate
solutions to the changing nature of academic work and faculty composition;
- Work with the President, the Executive Vice President, and the Deans
to help shape an improved strategic and space planning process that is
responsive to our academic missions and needs; and
- Work closely with the EVP to improve and coordinate research operations
to better serve the needs of faculty and students.
[The Provost then listed signal honors to faculty, citing Dr. Aravind
to the National Academy of Engineering and naming the five Sloan
Fellows and seven recipients
of National Science Foundation Early Career Development Awards; see Almanac
February 23. He ended with the traditional action of Provosts at stated
meetings of the Trustees: "I am now pleased to present for your approval
the Resolution on Faculty Appointments, Leaves, and Promotions."]
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 23, March 2, 1999
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