Gallaudet University: State of the University Address February 7, 2012

Uploaded by GallaudetVideo on 08.02.2012

Before I begin my remarks, I did want you to make note
of this brand new theater we are sitting in.
If you've noticed, we have new seats, new carpet, new paint.
I think the colors blend very well.
So it's very exciting for us to be here,
a very exciting time for Gallaudet.
Let me begin by saying welcome.
Welcome everyone.
Welcome to the start of a New Year at Gallaudet!
I hope you enjoyed the slide show.
Those pairs of photos appeared
in our recently published Annual Report.
Yes, the photos were very fun to watch.
But they also have served a serious purpose.
The photos celebrate our past and our present.
The photos make us think about our future.
And why is that?
Because comparing our past with our present
makes us dream of our future.
Our past remains with us today.
Our traditions remain with us today.
And our future is also with us today.
Today I will start by sharing some other information
from the Annual Report.
And I'll use the goals of the Gallaudet Strategic Plan,
the GSP, as a framework for my presentation.
For Goal A, our Annual Report tells us that
the total for our enrollment for undergraduate, graduate,
and English Language Institute students
was up slightly in the fall as compared to last year.
Enrollment at the Clerc Center was up significantly.
But yet, so much work remains for all of us
on this issue of enrollment.
We must ensure that Gallaudet is "top of the mind"
for potential students.
And we must ensure
that Gallaudet is also "top the of mind"
for enrolled students, so that way they will return
year after year until they graduate.
Now for Goal B, our Annual Report tells us
that the graduation rate for undergraduate students
was up significantly this year as compared to last year,
but down slightly for graduate students.
However, both percentages exceeded targeted numbers
that were established by the U.S. Department of Education.
Later in my address today,
I'll talk about the other GSP goals.
Just two weeks ago Vicki and I, and also many of you,
attended a wonderful campus event.
That event,
"Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,"
was the inspiration for my words today.
Now I'm sure you can make the connection
between Martin Luther King, that event
and the title of my address today: "A Dream for Gallaudet."
Dr. King compares our present
with our dreams of the future.
An entering student leaves one world,
and at graduation enters a far different world.
Fortunately a liberal arts education is
the heart of preparation for a changing future.
Fortunately moving into the future is based
on a deep emotional tradition here at Gallaudet.
And fortunately our university is alive with the ability
to adapt to prepare students for that new world.
Liberal arts provides all of that and more.
It promotes analytical and critical thinking.
It engenders a life-long love of learning,
and it provides preparation
for the ever-changing jobs of tomorrow.
And so today, we take our inspiration
from Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
He passionately questioned our nation.
Just last October, his memorial opened at the National Mall.
His monument is beautiful, dramatic, and spiritual.
We all take inspiration from his granite sculpture.
We all take inspiration from his eloquent speeches.
And most of all, we take inspiration from his dreams.
We all know that Dr. King had a dream.
On what do we build on our dreams?
What is our foundation?
What words would we carve in granite?
KNOWLEDGE is our foundation.
COMMUNITY is our foundation.
COMMUNICATION is our foundation.
Let us cherish our knowledge.
We fulfill the dream of a university education
for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
We fulfill the dream of educating the country
about the capabilities of people
who are deaf or hard of hearing.
And we fulfill the dream of educating the world
about the capabilities of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Let us cherish that we are a community.
No university in the world has a community like ours.
No place in the world has a community like ours.
No people in the world have a community like ours.
Let us cherish our communication.
Our bilingual communication fosters
sharing of diversity of opinion and ideas.
Our bilingual communication fosters
engaging in the dynamic exchange of ideas.
Our bilingual communication fosters
summarizing our dreams for the future.
I love this new logo.
It symbolizes so much about Gallaudet.
So many different people came together to create it.
We came together and we made it happen.
We attended to others' opinions,
we took them to heart with respect.
Over 2,000 opinions were expressed in the process.
We can soar together into the future
with a logo representative of the University.
In particular I thank students.
Because of them we didn't just "settle"
for one of the earlier designs.
Many thought that this logo change should be postponed
or perhaps take several years to occur.
But instead, the change was swift and empowering.
Instead, the change occurred from the inside
under our control.
And instead, the logo process
was an open and inspiring process.
The University Council was pivotal
in the review process of the new logo.
Let me cite another example of change.
Consider the many construction improvements on campus.
In prior years we learned of improvements
through limited announcements
or when we saw the improvements actually happening.
But it was recently announced at the University Council
that we would establish a new process.
We will now solicit input from all segments of the campus
before the projects are selected.
This is one of many ways we better manage our resources,
all part of Goal C of the GSP.
Also in process is the development
of a ten-year master plan for the University.
What a dramatic responsibility as we envision...
dream... of the transformation of this University
in the coming decade or two.
We have a momentum on our side.
These changes reflect our goals for openness
and inclusiveness that are all part of our dream
for the University.
Well, how can we ensure our success?
How can we use this great foundation to soar?
And how can we ensure our students will succeed?
For guidance, let's look to Dr. Martin Luther King.
"Intelligence plus character."
Let me repeat his words: "Intelligence plus character."
What a fabulous definition of liberal arts.
So how will we use our strength in liberal arts?
How will we meet Goal D of the GSP on academic programs?
Well, let me return to a theme that I raised in the fall.
Let me share some ongoing developments
and the incredible potential of the pre-programs.
They were first announced
in the welcoming address last fall.
Since that time an academic team is meeting
on a weekly basis to make these ideas become reality.
Two of the programs are actually under active development
and two are being researched.
We will return to those programs today
because I believe so strongly
in their potential to transform.
They are part of our dream for the university.
Each builds on our existing strengths and on areas
where we want to become even stronger.
Of course, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
are currently succeeding in these important areas.
But their numbers are small.
There is so much work to be done in these fields.
There is so much untapped potential,
and there is so much we can contribute to the opportunities
of young future students.
Let me briefly review the service
that we can provide because of each new major.
The passage of the ADA brought forward the issue
of rights for all.
Lawyers are needed to advance this work.
Lawyers are needed to promote equal access.
And lawyers are needed to advocate for all of us.
But beyond those specialized needs,
our society needs lawyers in all fields.
They help to ensure that we live in a society
that is fair to all.
Let's make this new program part of our dream.
For too long, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
have been underserved in health care.
And for too long, they have been unable to find
health care workers with whom
they can comfortably communicate.
And for too long, the door to this incredibly rewarding
health care professional fields has been shut to people
who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
But there is change coming.
Gallaudet has been working as a partner
with three other institutions
on a national Health Care Task Force.
We anxiously look forward to the final report
of this group which will be available to us
at the end of March.
Our thanks to all who have represented Gallaudet
so very well on this 18-month task.
We will make the offering of more health care careers
a part of our dream.
Business entrepreneurship has become a national need.
And people who are deaf or hard of hearing
often talk of starting a business.
But it's happened only in limited numbers.
We want to encourage those dreams by preparing students
to enter graduate business programs.
The knowledge provided by those programs matches
the foundation of today's economy.
Let us encourage and grow the entrepreneurial spirit
and the abilities of our students.
Let us encourage them to establish
and run the businesses of tomorrow.
We dream of establishing a pre-architectural program.
We want to prepare students to enter
a masters of architecture program.
It is possible to enter many of those programs
no matter area of undergraduate study.
But our dream is to provide a liberal arts
baccalaureate program designed to help students enter
and graduate from a masters of architecture program.
We can uniquely prepare those students.
And how is that?
We have a groundbreaking knowledge,
knowledge of Deaf Space.
And that knowledge connects to Universal Design,
for what we implement in our community
benefits all populations.
Our new living and learning residential hall
exemplifies what we can offer our students,
those who want to pursue architecture as a career.
So why do we dream so strongly and toil so hard
to have these pre-programs set-up?
Because we believe in these liberal arts programs.
They will create an environment that encourages
all potential students to dream without limits.
They will improve students' confidence
and abilities for graduate work.
They will prepare our students
for passionate careers rather than just jobs.
And they will benefit all Gallaudet students,
for we will strengthen so many of our current offerings
to support these new offerings.
In addition to these new academic programs,
we will continue with the pride we feel
in other undergraduate and graduate programs.
We will continue to emphasize
our other strong baccalaureate programs.
And we will continue to counsel undergraduate students
about their work options based on their majors.
And we will continue to emphasize
that those programs provide entryways
to our own existing strong graduate programs.
We will continue to build our research capabilities,
which is Goal E of the GSP.
Our Annual Report indicates that the dollar amount of grants
received last year was the highest of any
of the most recent ten years.
In addition the dollar amount of proposals
has grown significantly.
We will continue the expansion of our research activity
so that we meet the dream of becoming the epicenter
of our research areas.
To fulfill our dream, every one of us must contribute.
I include students, faculty, and staff.
And I also include our Board of Trustees
and our Board of Associates.
The success of one is the success of all.
Reverend King reminds us that "no work is insignificant."
Succeeding individually,
we redefine for each other what is possible.
Let us all use Gallaudet to pursue
our shared dreams for our future.
By reaching for our dreams we are serving others.
Let's take a moment to cherish
the amazing work of our graduates.
Almost seventy percent of our graduates
are in service careers.
What a very proud record.
Of course we will end today by repeating
the most famous quote of Dr. King.
Throughout this speech I have mentioned
time and time again his words.
They have been a unifying element of the speech.
The words of Dr. King continue to impact us
so strongly today.
His words closely parallel our lives and our issues.
His words excite us to consider our future.
And his words encourage us to dream of that future.
Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
for your inspiration today.
And thank you Gallaudet.