University update, July 10, 2013

Dear Colleagues:

The early days of a new fiscal year at Marquette provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the momentum of the past year, take stock of our current realities, and move forward together. In this spirit, I am sharing several updates on matters relating to strategic plan implementation — a priority for the year ahead:

In recent weeks, you may have noticed an emphasis on the need for a sense of urgency in our efforts to implement Marquette’s new plan. After all, we don’t want it to simply gather dust on a shelf. To that end, I was pleased when Tom Ganey agreed to serve in the newly created position of Vice President of Planning, reporting to Executive Vice President Mary DiStanislao and working closely with the Office of the Provost. And now in another important step, six individuals have accepted our invitation to become “goal stewards,” responsible for leading our community’s progress toward each of the six goals in the plan.

These goal stewards are: Interim Provost Margaret Callahan (academic excellence for human well-being), Vice Provost Jeanne Hossenlopp (research in action), Vice President for Mission and Ministry Stephanie Russell (social responsibility and community engagement), Chief of Staff to the President Tom MacKinnon (formation of mind and heart), Mary DiStanislao (enhancement of organizational effectiveness) and Vice President of Finance Chuck Lamb (sustainability of valuable resources). Just as it is good to know that there is a person at Marquette, Tom Ganey, who will wake up each morning thinking about how he can help us move closer to achieving the vision in our plan, it is reassuring to have six additional people dedicated in a focused way to helping Marquette reach its goals. At the same time, we must realize that true success will only be achieved through the active support and involvement of all of us.

Knowing that our strategic plan for Marquette will require financial support and that we are living in a time of new pressures on university budgets nationwide, earlier this year, I asked a Financial Resources Task Force to consult with faculty and staff to develop and recommend strategies for building on Marquette’s financial strengths and addressing fiscal shortcomings. Co-chaired by Chris Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Bill Cullinan, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, this task force completed its work and submitted its report to me in recent weeks. I want to thank the co-chairs and the entire task force for their dedication to this effort. We will take time to study their proposals carefully to determine which recommendations will serve us best as we implement the strategic plan.

As the task force considered longer-range strategies, we have already begun making changes to improve Marquette’s fiscal stewardship. As you may know, since February we have been very careful and deliberate about filling vacancies and hiring for new positions. And we need to continue to judiciously review each request to ensure new hires are aligned with university priorities. To accomplish this, we will establish a review process led by senior university leadership that allows positions to be filled when they are determined to have a significant impact on safety, service, or the Marquette student experience.

Marquette is not alone in this new reality. Higher education faces challenges from changing market demands, new learning technologies, and greater competition. Though these conditions will require us to work harder and smarter to get the most from our talents and resources, amidst these challenges are real opportunities for us to be more effective in our work — to channel our efforts in ways that allow us to invest anew in the programs and initiatives that ultimately deliver on our promise to be among the most innovative and accomplished Catholic and Jesuit universities in the world. Thank you for everything you continue to do for the benefit of Marquette, our students and each other.

Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
Marquette University

Strategic Planning image

Beyond Boundaries

Branded Strategic Plan Document CoverApproved by Marquette's Board of Trustees in
May 2013, Beyond Boundaries: Setting the Course for Marquette's Future builds on the bold spirit that has always blessed Marquette University. In seeking to carry forward this tradition today, the university community collectively developed a clear vision of the qualities that must distinguish the Marquette of tomorrow. This strategic plan website was established as a vehicle for the campus community to learn about the strategic plan development and implementation process.