April 4, 2017

April 4, 2017: Provost search, strategic planning, campus master planning and more

Creighton University President, the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ

Greetings, and please allow me to provide you with an update – lengthy as it is – on various matters of importance, such as our provost search, strategic planning, campus master planning, the Policy and Procedure Review Committee on Sexual Misconduct, and the Creighton Global Initiative. Before doing so, I would like to express gratitude and offer a reminder. 

I am thankful to the more than 800 volunteers from our campus community who marked the 10th anniversary of Project Homeless Connect Omaha on Friday by serving as navigators and in other roles at our Kiewit Fitness Center.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners welcomed more than 550 guests experiencing homelessness from our Omaha-Council Bluffs area. In addition to providing access to social services, legal counsel, and haircuts, the event utilizes a campus-to-community Interprofessional Education and Practice Model for the delivery of health care services. Led by Creighton’s Center for Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CIPER), this unique model has gained national and international attention. It is truly wonderful to witness our mission in action as so many parts of our University join together to help individuals who are living on the margins of society. 

I also invite you to consider participating in the annual Creighton Cares day of service – formerly Creighton Clean Up – this Saturday, April 8, sponsored by Inter Residence Hall Government. While Project Homeless Connect brings individuals to campus, Creighton Cares sends volunteers into the Omaha community to help nonprofits such as the Siena/Francis House and Open Door Mission. 

Volunteers are encouraged to register in teams through a BlueQ survey. If you are not part of a team, organizers will assign you to one. Breakfast, lunch, and a T-shirt are provided.  

I have received a goodly amount of feedback from Human Resources and elsewhere regarding the candidates for the provost position who visited the campus community the past two weeks.  Leadership groups – as well as all participants of Town Hall sessions – were asked to provide feedback through links managed by HR, and the deadline to submit feedback is tomorrow, April 5. The link to the feedback form can be found here. 

Regarding the current status of strategic planning, the Goal Stewards have presented to the President’s Planning Committee (PPC) to discuss possible objectives related to their goal categories, including corresponding tactics that could actualize them. It was exciting to hear their enthusiasm and creativity for the work that lies ahead.

Goal Stewards have been asked to work with their teams to provide more clarity regarding a sense of success in their areas, due on April 21.
Based on their submissions, I will work with the PPC to provide the Goal Stewards with direction about which tactics to undertake, the appropriate timeline, and the authorized resources, which will guide the efforts of their Goal Work Groups this summer. 

Recent campus forums related to strategic planning were well attended, and they have been posted to the planning website, accessible using your Blue credentials. PPC members and Goal Stewards received positive feedback through the follow-up survey and intend to host forums for the other seven goal categories in April. Dates and times for these forums will be available on the website soon. Based on the feedback, we also will record future forums and post the recordings to the website for those unable to attend. 

An important part of planning involves finalizing our capital project priorities for the next five years, including completion of the new School of Dentistry facility at 22nd and Cuming streets that will open in August 2018. 

During my convocation address in February, I was able to forecast needs related to the Creating Our Learning Environment planning theme, such as the Creighton Commons and Interprofessional Education projects. Cross-campus teams are currently working to better envision these programs and facilities. I can share that demolition of Gallagher Hall is likely to occur in summer 2018 to allow for construction of the Creighton Commons as well as the repurposing and build-out of the current Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library space. Student Life, Administration, and Finance are also collaborating on a student housing strategy that will guide housing needs for the foreseeable future. 

Design for the renovation of the mall between the Harper Center and 24th Street is anticipated to begin this May. While mall work could potentially occur this summer into early fall, Metro Area Transit’s installation of transit stations on 24th and 20th streets is not expected to be completed until mid-2018.

A presidential Town Hall is being planned for early in the fall semester to provide updates and discussions on both strategic planning and the campus master plan, to be followed by campus workshops that will more fully engage our community in that important work. It will be essential for the campus to provide feedback throughout the course of fall 2017 as I hope to have a new strategic plan authored and approved for spring 2018.

I am pleased to inform you that the newly formed Policy and Procedure Review Committee on Sexual Misconduct has been meeting weekly for the past four weeks, and will continue to meet throughout the rest of the semester. 

Initially, the committee has focused on ensuring that everyone has the same foundational information by reviewing our current processes and policies. After informational presentations from Creighton personnel and a member of the local community, the committee recently formed three subcommittees to focus on:

  • Plans for ongoing education and training for our Creighton community, including students, faculty, and staff;
  • A review of our policies, procedures, and the issue of consent; and
  • A review of the issue of employee/student interactions and Creighton’s policies and procedures regarding the same.

These subcommittees will examine policies and procedures at other institutions for best practices, federal law, and other relevant resources as we work to identify areas to target for improvement. The committee hopes to present some preliminary recommendations by the end of the semester but will continue beyond that date if needed to ensure a full and comprehensive review of our policies on sexual misconduct.

You may have seen the exciting news last week from Dr. René Padilla, vice provost for Global Engagement, regarding a new partnership between the Creighton Global Initiative (CGI) and American Airlines that provides an opportunity for members of the University community to receive airline miles to support travel throughout the world. The airline is providing one million miles of award travel. 

This year’s CGI committee is working productively on Fridays to vet a new round of funding proposals, and I look forward to announcing grants shortly after the Easter holiday. 

As we move through our fifth week of Lent, I am ever eager for Easter – a season in Christian worship that recalls resurrection and a spirit of renewed life. Surely the rains of the past weeks will showcase a Creighton campus blossoming with beauty around us, and remind us of a bolder beauty within. 


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ