President Leo M. Lambert opens 2006 Faculty-Staff Planning Week

President Lambert outlined plans and priorities for the 2006-07 academic year at the opening of planning week, Aug. 21. Read this note for details of his remarks…

President Lambert reflected on Elon’s climb to national prominence, an incredible journey from the 1930s when the college lost its accreditation and was on the brink of financial collapse.

Lambert said as one of America’s great universities, it is now Elon’s responsibility to provide greater service to the world beyond the campus, especially in the local community which has supported the university throughout its history. Specifically, he outlined plans to support the Alamance-Burlington Public Schools, with an emphasis on assisting Cummings High School, which has been designated a “low-performing” school by the state. Faculty Administrative Fellow Deborah Long is coordinating Elon’s efforts to assist Cummings faculty and staff in improving the school.

“I hope the Elon community can embrace these goals with the same enthusiasm and commitment to excellence that we bring to every other area of university life,” Lambert said.

Lambert said the university’s long-range planning committee has prepared a draft of Phase II of the NewCentury@Elon Strategic Plan. The plan will be discussed by the community this fall and brought to the board of trustees for approval in October. Among the plan’s initiatives are the following:

  • To further strengthen premier programs such as international education by increasing scholarship opportunities for students, supporting more opportunities for international internships and international service learning, and perhaps, creating new international centers abroad
  • To create a nationally-recognized program of student research, providing additional funding for faculty and students to work as partners in the creation of new knowledge
  • To strengthen the residential environments of the campus by adding more study lounges in the residence halls
  • To further increase the percentage of instruction performed by full-time faculty
  • To more fully engage young alumni in the life of the university

Lambert said Phase II of the NewCentury plan will continue efforts to create a better balance between liberal arts and sciences and professional education, increasing the percentage of students who pursue arts and sciences majors.

He said the plan also calls for two new facilities, a new auditorium to accommodate large gatherings, and the final facility of the Academic Village, Elon’s new quad for the arts and sciences.

Lambert said other building plans will have to be delayed during the next several years as the university turns its attention to building its endowment, the focus of the next comprehensive campaign.

“If we are truly serious about building the endowment … and the consensus of all of our constituencies is that we must be … we must seek interim solutions for some of our space needs or delay them until after the completion of the campaign,” Lambert said.

Lambert said Phase II of the NewCentury plan will also include initiatives to expand Elon’s senior year experience. An all-campus task force on the senior year will be appointed to produce recommendations on ways to better help students make the transition from the university to the next phase of their lives, in careers or graduate school.

Lambert concluded his remarks by reminding faculty and staff that planning week is a chance to discuss topics that impact the lives of students in profound ways.

“Thank you for keeping students at the center of this university, and for your great devotion to their learning and well-being. We do noble work. The world needs Elon graduates to go forth to sow seeds of understanding and of peace.”