Inside USD

Convocation Spotlights Faculty, New Directions

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The 2011 Fall Convocation of the Faculty and Administration of the University of San Diego, held Sept. 2 in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre, showcased outstanding work by nine faculty members and a glimpse into the university’s future.

University President Mary E. Lyons (pictured, right) announced the six USD Board of Trustees-approved Strategic Directions (2011-16) for the university. They are:

• Student Learning and Outcomes: The university will attract, retain and support highly qualified, diverse students; promote their success through a rigorous, innovative and interactive education; and enhance their employment and other post-graduate opportunities.

• Faculty Teaching and Scholarship: The university will attract, retain and support an outstanding and diverse faculty, widely known and recognized for its teaching, scholarship and engagement in addressing current and emerging issues of global concern.

• Global connections and Impact: The university will enhance its reputation and reach by strengthening its connections with local, national and international communities and its contributions to improving the global human condition.

• Catholic Character and Outreach: The university will promote its Catholic character by drawing upon the Church’s intellectual, spiritual, cultural and social traditions to engage critical issues about the role of religion in society, foster interreligious dialogue and understanding and to promote peace and social justice.

• Constituent Participation and Engagement: The university will strengthen meaningful lifelong relationships among its students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, donors and community supporters.

• Resource Enhancement and Economic Vitality: The university will enhance its financial sustainability through increased endowment and external funding to advance institutional priorities and reduce dependence on tuition revenue.

The strategic directions, formulated after considerable campus community input, help Lyons and other top administrators chart the university’s future through specific initiatives, focused timelines and measurable outcomes. Input from faculty, staff and more will continue to be part of the process going forward.

Some initiatives, Lyons said, are already beginning to take shape: the design of a core curriculum that promotes student engagement and retention through integrated learning grounded in the liberal arts; establishing faculty and student research and creative inquiry as a distinguishing feature of an undergraduate education at USD; Engaging new students academically in themed living-learning communities that combine shared courses with shared living; and strategically renovating classrooms through coordinated long-term planning that uses pedagogy-driven design standards focused on teaching and learning.

The strategic directions contribute to what Ron Fowler, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said he envisions for the university in the next five years and beyond.

“The bottom line is we want USD to be a university of difference makers. We want to have the most energetic faculty members we can find, we want to deliver impactful programs and the university needs to be at the forefront of social entrepreneurship that meets the needs locally, nationally and internationally. It’s important to have dedicated administration, faculty and students working together to be difference makers.”

Nine faculty members who fit Fowler’s “difference makers” profile were recognized.

Five University Professorship awards, the highest academic honor bestowed university-wide to faculty and recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement in teaching and research, were handed out: Phillip Hunsaker, professor of management, School of Business Administration; Judith Liu (pictured, top left), professor of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences; Michael Ramsey, professor, School of Law; Patricia Roth professor, Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science; and Sally Yard (pictured, top right), professor of Art, Architecture and Art History, College of Arts and Sciences.

Four professors — two Steber Professors, one Herzog Endowed Scholar and one honoree of the School of Law Class of 1975 Endowed Professorship — received awards at the convocation.

The Steber Professor recipients are Charles Teplitz (pictured, left), professor of Decision Sciences in the School of Business Administration and Karma Lekshe Tsomo, associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. The award is annually presented to a faculty member in the SBA and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theology and Religious Studies, respectively, per request of the donor, Clarence L. Steber. The award recognizes substantial contributions in the areas of teaching, research and service.

Two awards given only to School of Law professors, the Herzog Endowed Scholar and the Class of 1975 Endowed Professorship, went to Laurence Claus and Steven Smith (pictured, right), respectively. The Herzog Endowed Scholar recognizes meritorious teaching and scholarly productivity of a law professor. The Class of 1975 award, a 25-year reunion gift from the School of Law’s Class of 1975, recognizes meritorious teaching, leadership and academic accomplishment.

“We can all take great pride and joy in the contributions of these nine faculty to their disciplines and to the University of San Diego, and we are delighted that their outstanding achievements are being recognized with these prestigious awards,” said Lyons earlier this year when the awards were first announced.

— Ryan T. Blystone

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