Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The University of New Orleans Holds Fall 2015 Convocation



The University of New Orleans held its fall 2015 Faculty Staff Convocation on Monday, Aug. 17 at 9:30 a.m. in the Sen. Ted Hickey Ballroom in the University Center. Convocation is an opportunity for the University's leadership to update faculty and staff on administrative developments and for academic deans to talk about new hires and plans in their colleges and departments.

UNO President Peter J. Fos delivered a presentation, entitled the State of the University, during which he offered a recap of the 2015 legislative session and its implications for the campus. Fos described the University's efforts at reaffirming its accreditation as very positive, including a successful campus visit in April from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the approval of the University's Quality Enhancement Plan.

Fos went on to extol some recent media recognition, noting that UNO is one of only three public universities in Louisiana to make the 2016 edition of The Princeton Review's annual college guide, "The Best 380 Colleges." He also highlighted that the Center for World University Rankings listed UNO as one of 5 Louisiana universities among the world's top universities.

Fos' extended remarks touched on many areas of the University's progress over the last year. He described some of the University's successful collaborations with other institutions and highlighted key events taking place over the last year, including the 40th anniversary of the UNO-Innsbruck International Summer School program and the opening of the International Center in January. He went on to list many notable achievements by students and faculty before calling other campus leaders to the stage to offer their own perspectives on the upcoming academic year.

The next to speak was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John Nicklow, who began serving in his current post in July. Nicklow talked about innovations aimed at capturing opportunities for growth. With regard to driving enrollment yield, he mentioned a new campus-wide Strategic Enrollment Management Team with subcommittees focused specifically on recruitment, retention and financial aid packaging.

Nicklow described plans to more tightly connect research and academics and diminish the silos between those two enterprises. The planned fall launch of a Center for Undergraduate Research will serve students who are interested in engaging in research but who aren't quite sure how to start. The Center will begin a competitive awards program, called The Privateer Undergraduate Research and Scholarly UNO Experience, or PURSUE.

Nicklow talked about ongoing structural improvements in IT, distance education and enrollment, and said additional structural evaluations would take place in a number of campus units, including academic affairs, advising and library services. He spoke to the importance of maintaining internal partnerships and also referred to his role working with deans to strengthen external relationships that will lead to the development of increasing scholarship funds, endowed positions and facilities support.

Nicklow invited to the stage each academic dean, who in turn welcomed new faculty to their respective colleges and highlighted recent achievements and plans for the upcoming academic year.

Convocation closed with the presentation of four prestigious annual awards:

  • The Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller International Leadership Medallion was awarded to Bhaskar Kura, professor of civil and environmental engineering.
  • The Cooper R. Mackin Medallion was awarded to Pamela Jenkins, research professor of sociology.
  • The Presidential Staff Medallion was awarded to Dan Harper, associate director of interdisciplinary studies.
  • The President's Medallion for Distinguished Service was awarded to two individuals, husband and wife alumni Cheryl (BA '72) and Pierre Champagne (BS '76).