Convocation 2015: Awards, Successes, and Highlights

convocation1Faculty & Staff Convocation 2015 marked the start of the new academic year. New and returning faculty and staff came together for PSU’s traditional acknowledgment and honoring of their accomplishments and to set the table for the coming year.

Let Us Talk Liberal Education
Gina Greco, professor of French and Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate, opened the event and invited faculty to a campus conversation about liberal education. convocation3

As Gina stated, this is “an opportunity for us, as a campus, to launch a conversation about what it should mean to be a PSU graduate, and how we can best articulate that to our students, our community and ourselves.”

She continued, “I would like us to assess where are we succeeding, and where can we improve in our work to prepare students for success in the workplace, for meaningful participation in their communities, for personal growth, and for the pursuit of lifetime learning.” I encourage all faculty to participate in this important conversation and hope you will stay informed of the progress the Faculty Senate makes.

convocation4Acknowledging Achievements of Faculty/Staff
I, along with my colleagues, Vice President for Research Jon Fink and, Interim President of the PSU Foundation Constance French (on day 3 of the job!) acknowledged nine faculty and staff awardees.

We also acknowledged the government of Qatar for the Ambassador’s gift to increase the monetary awards for 2015. Awardees thanked their students and the work of their colleagues, and highlighted the importance of philanthropy, their research experiences, international education, and their appreciation of PSU.convocation5

We recognized new staff, over 70 faculty, 18 faculty promoted to associate professor with indefinite tenure, two faculty awarded tenure only, and 53 faculty promoted into other ranks, including 18 to emeritus.

convocation6Highlights of the Past Year
President Wiewel highlighted three PSU successes:

  • Increased state funding
  • PSU named the “16th Most Innovative University” by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Our undefeated football team – 3-0, the best record among the three big Oregon Universities. Go Viks!

No question – we could have spent the entire day in the ballroom listing the accomplishments achieved by all PSU faculty, staff and students. There is so much at PSU that contributes to our excellence, achievements, reputation, and determination.

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Status of Strategic Plan
The President did a quick flyover of the status of our strategic planning effort. Planning started a year ago and has involved hundreds of faculty, staff, students, administrators, board members and persons from the community. We also had a writing team work over the summer, synthesizing the ideas generated by the Strategic Planning Development Team, the Topic Teams, and the many campus events.

The strategic draft plan will be shared with the campus in early October. Stay tuned for details on another Strategic Ice Cream for students on October 27, and a Slider and Suds event for faculty and staff on November 5.convocation8

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Folks mingled at the convocation reception for quite some time – meeting new colleagues, catching up with others, and celebrating the start of the academic year. My only regret is not having enough time to say hello and chat with everyone. Yet, I look forward to the opportunity to do so throughout the year.

Please share with us your convocation experience below.

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