Nov. 21, 2019
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to convey my gratitude to each of you for the many ways you serve our students and move our University forward, all the while remaining true to our Jesuit, Catholic mission.
We collectively have much to be thankful for, as we look back over the year that is quickly drawing to a close. Highlights include our expansion and collaborations in Phoenix; strong undergraduate and graduate enrollment; many thought-provoking speakers enhancing our campus; ever-strengthening local, regional, and national partnerships in service, academics, and health care; a continued commitment to fostering an inclusive campus community; students who continue to amaze us with their accomplishments; an abundance of community engagement and spiritual growth opportunities; and so much more.
I am especially grateful for the more than 500 faculty and staff, online and in person, who participated in Tuesday’s Campus Engagement sessions concerning the future of higher education. You are helping set the course for our University. Your participation speaks to the depth of your investment in and care for Creighton and the role it plays in shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
Lively discussions and many thoughtful ideas were generated, as together we analyzed the higher education landscape and sought to discern responses to challenges and opportunities, centered primarily on three areas of discussion: How individual departments and units are uniquely positioned to respond to the projected downturn in the number of high school graduates and the educational needs of lifelong learners; how well our strategic plan, “Creighton 150: Lighting the Way,” is positioning the University for the future; and whether there might be ways we can more quickly respond to meet the evolving needs of students, while maintaining and strengthening Creighton’s essence and mission.
As we look to continue this important conversation, please share your thoughts and feedback on these sessions. I will share more information, including the valuable insights gained through this exercise, at Convocation in February.
I would be remiss if I did not express appreciation for our beloved Bluejays, and how our student-athletes present the face of our University to the world. Our men’s and women’s basketball teams have launched their seasons; women’s and men’s soccer players collected BIG EAST honors; and our top-25 ranked volleyball team finishes its regular season at home this Friday and Sunday against Marquette and DePaul, respectively. Most of all, our student-athletes from their many different sports represent the University through generous acts of service and high academic standards.
This is a reminder to faculty to apply for a President’s Distinguished Curriculum Innovation and Pedagogical Research Grant award. These awards to full-time faculty, focused on four areas – interdisciplinary or interprofessional health education; lifelong learning innovation; community engagement; and exigent issues of global concern – will yield untold benefits for our undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The Dec. 6 deadline for applications is coming up quickly.
Please reserve Dec. 10 for our annual University Holiday Party, which will be held in the Harper Center’s Ahmanson Ballroom from 3:30-6 p.m. I always look forward to this year-end gathering, and the celebration it brings of the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.
Have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends, and relish the extended four-day weekend. I count Creighton University, our students, each of you, and the important work we are doing together among my greatest blessings.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD