We all know that higher education is changing dramatically. I would encourage you to read this recent article from “Inside Higher Ed,” outlining seven trends facing higher education in 2018. I found it interesting and wanted to offer you a few thoughts on how Miami is responding and will respond in the future.
First – I believe that at Miami, we are working from a strong position. We offer an immersive undergraduate experience with access to outstanding faculty and excellent research. Our students work side-by-side with our faculty, making our education highly personalized and distinctive. We offer access through regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown and the VOA Learning Center in West Chester. Miami is routinely ranked among the top public universities nationally for our commitment to teaching, and for preparing our graduates for future success in careers or post-graduate education. Our commitment to curriculum that reaches across disciplines will pay dividends in the future. These factors continue to give us a significant edge in higher education.
Second – We will continue to invest in the things that are important. We have taken difficult steps in the last decade to become more efficient. Our Board of Trustees is crystal-clear about our priorities to prepare our students for the workforce, create jobs and investment in Ohio, increase access, attract the best and brightest, and place our graduates in top graduate and professional schools. That is where we will focus our resources. Academic enrichment and scholarships will be the focus of our investments and campaigns.
Third – We are dedicated to diversity and inclusive excellence, not as an isolated program but as a value that permeates everything we do. We want Miami University campuses to be places where everyone can fulfill their potential – period. This spring, I have charged a working group led by Professor Rodney Coates to focus on an inclusive student experience – how we leverage our diversity, promote and sustain inclusion, and create the most welcoming, barrier-free environment. Also this spring, we will communicate results from our campus climate survey and how we will use these results to enhance our university climate. We will have more information on those initiatives later in the spring semester.
Fourth – Keeping our campuses safe is not negotiable. It is paramount. We need to accept the fact that high-risk drinking, with its associated unsafe and unhealthy outcomes, is a threat to a safe and secure campus. Miami University does not condone it. We are focused on creative approaches we have developed internally as well as best practices that have demonstrated success at other institutions, and we will continue to emphasize to students the importance of making smart and healthy choices.