Speaking to about members of the staff and faculty as well as students on both the Belknap and Health Sciences campuses,  Ramsey said a total of nine committees and subcommittees have been meeting for more than a year to identify strengths, weaknesses and goals in such areas as niche excellence, community needs, student interests, and partnership and funding opportunities.

Through the Initiative, the university has reaffirmed that we are a thriving, innovative metropolitan research university leading transformative change through our commitments to the values of the academy, and to the primacy of the teacher/student relationship, he said.

“Change is hard. Change is difficult. But there are things we have to be willing to take on to move forward,” Ramsey said during his talk Oct. 13 in Floyd Theater. His Oct. 14 open forum took place in the HSC Auditorium.

The committees submitted reports to Provost Shirley Willihnganz in May and are getting ready to reconvene to refine and, in some cases, complete the reports. There are already three pilot projects underway related to the 21st Century University Initiative.

One project highlighted was the Applied Science Research Park under construction behind the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Speed School Dean Neville Pinto said the park is aimed at promoting advanced manufacturing techniques that are the future of manufacturing.

Ramsey said next steps in the Initiative include assembling a team from across campus to look at innovative models in general education from other schools and discuss them during a daylong symposium. 

He added that another goal of the Initiative is to change how we operate and manage our business functions. Specifically, there are pilot projects ongoing on campus that are using the shared service model in order to reallocate resources and realize efficiencies. 

Pinto said the shared service model pilot at the Speed School has been in place since July 1 and that he’s “seeing a real sense of professionalism and value” from the 13 staff members assigned to the new business center.

The hiring of a CFO/COO this month marked significant progress in another goal of the Initiative, which was to change how the university operates and manages, Ramsey said.

Ramsey said a written report on the committee recommendations has not yet been finalized.

Janet Cappiello covers student success for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since 2014.