During the last academic year, each of the initiatives began the transition from working committee to a defined place in the university's organizational structure. Now beginning its fifth year, Strategic Directions celebrates the progress of all initiatives, while recognizing that none are "finished" yet.
Each initiative has been busy this fall semester making plans and organizing activities:
- Catholic Social Thought: The Catholic Social Thought Transition Committee is helping to plan the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture. Until the center is established, the committee will continue to coordinate educational programs for the campus community. The first program was a workshop for faculty, "Integrating CST into Your Teaching," presented by Dr. Barbara Wall, Special Assistant to the President for Mission Effectiveness at Villanova University. Dr. Wall also gave a public lecture while on campus. The second public lecture was given by Dean William Headley on the topic, "Happy 40th Anniversary Populorum Progressio: Reflections on a Papal Contribution to Humanitarian Service." The Catholic Social Thought Committee also maintains a website explaining Catholic Social Thought.
- Inclusion and Diversity: The newly-formed President's Advisory Board on Inclusion and Diversity (PABID) assumed primary responsibility for monitoring inclusion and diversity at USD and advising the president on relevant issues, policies, and practices. Dr. Alberto Pulido chairs the advisory board, and Dr. Beth Dobkin serves as vice chair. PABID called for proposals for the 2007-08 Inclusion and Diversity Grants and reviewed all proposals submitted using the Grant Application Guidelines.
- Internationalization: Administrative offices for many international programs have been consolidated in the International Center, located in Serra Hall 315. The center welcomed the campus community to their new offices with an open house held on October 12. The International Council, active during 2006-07, has been replaced by two new committees. Faculty appointed to the International Studies Abroad Committee continue to develop USD's opportunities for study abroad, and the International Center Advisory Council assists the center staff in developing internationally-oriented programs. The International Center maintains and develops its own website.
- Integrated Learning: The first area of emphasis under this strategic theme was the first-year experience, a cooperative venture between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Together, they created the new "Torero Days" freshman orientation program, added peer mentors and training workshops to improve the preceptorial experience, and developed educational and social programs in the residence halls to smooth students' adjustment to college life. The First Year Experience website explains these programs in more detail, and the FYE Advisory Board is assessing the success of the initial efforts. The next area of emphasis for the integrated learning theme being developed by the Second Year Experience committee. That group prepared a proposal for Provost Julie Sullivan and Vice President Carmen Vazquez with recommendations for an integrated second year experience. The proposal has also been presented to Unversity Senate and will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their meeting on December 7.
In response to demand from students, faculty, and staff, a new initative was launch in Fall 2007.
- Sustainability: A Sustainability Task Force was charged to study the status of sustainability at USD, research best practices at other universities, and develop a strategic plan by March 2008. The task force met twice monthly to discuss possible short-term and long-term initiatives for a strategic plan. The result was their "Outline of Sustainability Initiatives," which encompassed academics; outreach and community relations; auxiliaries; facilities operations; campus life; and executive decisions. The task force distilled this extensive outline into a proposed two-year action plan that highlighted the initiatives in each category that task force members considered to be most timely, important, or feasible. The task force specifically noted that implementing the action plan would require the guidance of a full-time director with sufficient authority and resources to take action. The university joined AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education), participated in both Focus the Nation and Earth Week, launched a sustainability newsletter (electronic, of course), and began audits of energy and water use.