President's Spring 2008 Report to the Board of Regents
Beginning with the first strategic plan adopted during my presidency which provided guidance for the period 1996-2001, and continuing with the plan for 2001-2007, Pacific has sought to identify and "heighten academic distinctiveness." This strategic goal has enabled Pacific to begin to market its mission as distinct and set apart from the many other institutions of higher education with whom we compete to attract students. In my reports to the Board over the last twelve years, I have been pleased to report on the degree to which we have achieved this goal - especially in ways that are central to our mission, such as developing strong interrelationships between the liberal arts and sciences and our professional programs.
With the adoption of Pacific Rising, 2008-2015 one year ago, Pacific embraced the Board of Regents' bold charge - to become the West's most distinctive student-centered national university. Strategies to accomplish this, in addition to academic excellence, include emphasis on innovation, creativity, multi-disciplinary approaches, and whole student development.
Clearly, nothing has more promise for developing distinctiveness at Pacific than the Powell Gift, which will enable us to attract students from diverse economic backgrounds that have exceptional potential for academic success and leadership. The University is developing the Powell Scholars program as a signature scholarship program that we envision will eventually match the nation's most elite such programs.
New academic programs are being developed as an outcome of the work of several collaborative faculty and staff groups. Some of the more advanced of these include the Accelerated Pre-Law Program, which is creating an accelerated pathway linking undergraduate students to the Pacific-McGeorge law programs. The Emotional Social Intelligence Initiative focuses on whole student and leadership development; faculty and staff development, and the integration of social and emotional competency outcomes in both the curriculum and co-curriculum. These and other emerging new programs, developed with Pacific's core values to be learner-centered, experiential, and interdisciplinary, have the capacity to attract new students and create greater visibility for Pacific.
Centers and Institutes are also a vehicle for greater distinctiveness. The Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship is providing experiential learning opportunities for students with social entrepreneurs regionally and globally. Since its founding in the year 2000, the Brubeck Institute has been developing audiences and making friends for Pacific around the world through its affiliation with the career and legacy of Dave and Iola Brubeck, the renowned performances of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, and the rich scholarly resources of the Brubeck Collection. The Collection, attracting scholars in both musical and social justice studies from various parts of the country, complements the unique John Muir Collection, which similarly attracts Muir scholars from around the world and is featured as part of Muir conferences on a regular basis.
At our January meeting, I reported on our ongoing analysis of enrollment trends as we seek to enroll a strong class this fall. While this analysis will inform and enhance our recruitment and yield efforts, long-term successful recruitment of talented students will clearly rely upon our ability to develop, strengthen, and sustain academic programs of exceptional quality that attract the nation's and world's most talented students.