Feb. 12, 2020 - Convocation Review

Feb. 12, 2020 - Convocation Review

Presidential message

Last week, we gathered together as community to honor the past, present, and future of Creighton University with our annual Founders Week celebration. I am grateful for the many hands that made the week such a success. 

Events such as the Founders Week Mass, the Interfaith Prayer Service, and the Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton Awards Luncheon showcase our diversity and our common bonds to the spirit of our mission.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on the state of the University in my address at the Founders Day Convocation and Awards Ceremony, as well as honor outstanding faculty and staff.

Today, I would like to follow up and expound on several items mentioned at Convocation, including our provost search, updates to the tuition remission policy, proposed 24th Street renovations, the curriculum innovation and pedagogical research grants, and Project Homeless Connect Omaha.

Having announced our new vice president for University Communications and Marketing (UCOM) earlier today, I would also like to welcome our new sustainability director, and share details on a new curriculum committee to review our efforts in the Dominican Republic.

With the announcement by Provost Tom Murray, PhD, of his coming retirement, a provost search committee has been formed, and I am grateful that Joan Eckerson, PhD, professor of exercise science and pre-health professions in the College of Arts and Sciences, has agreed to serve as chair. We also have set dates and times for the provost listening sessions, which will begin next week, with separate meetings for faculty, staff, and students to better understand each group’s unique hopes and desires for the position.

I encourage your active participation in this important process. Information on the listening sessions and a list of all search committee members can be found on the provost search committee website. More information regarding the provost prospectus and campus-wide search survey will be available on the site soon.

The new tuition remission policy, which I announced at Convocation, is now before the University Policy Committee for review and approval. Under the new policy, full-time employees would receive 100% tuition remission after six months of service for classes taken by the employee or the employee’s spouse or dependent children. Part-time employees would receive 33 1/3% remission for the same after six months of employment. I am excited about the opportunities this policy will afford our current colleagues, and its appeal to recruiting new, talented faculty and staff to our University. Please watch Creighton Today for updates.

We are working with the city of Omaha on a reimagining of 24th Street, for increased pedestrian safety and beautification, as it dissects our campus between Cuming and Cass streets. Plans call for the installation of bicycle lanes, trees, a redesign of Deglman Circle and construction of a roundabout south of Cass Street. It is my hope that construction can begin this spring, depending on the weather, with a target completion date of fall 2020. I will share more news as it becomes available.

Congratulations to faculty colleagues who received funding through the inaugural President’s Distinguished Curriculum Innovation and Pedagogical Research Grant Award program. Grants were awarded in four categories: interdisciplinary or interprofessional health education, lifelong learning innovation, community engagement, and exigent issues of global concern. A list of award recipients and their projects can be found online, along with recognition of two University Research Award honorees. Profiles highlighting other Convocation award recipients and honorees are also online. Again, congratulations to all.

This is the final year that Creighton University will host Project Homeless Connect Omaha, and I encourage the generous support of our entire campus community. For more than a decade, Creighton faculty, staff, and students have joined with other volunteers to connect individuals experiencing homelessness with health screenings and community resources inside the Kiewit Fitness Center. This year’s event will be held March 27. Visit the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ) for volunteer information. Faculty and staff can use Volunteer Service Paid Time Off to participate in the event.

Special thanks to Creighton alumnus Ed Shada, BS’79, founder and CEO of Project Homeless Connect Omaha, the SCSJ, and the multitude of Creighton volunteers who have given their time and service to this event over the years. We will continue to look for ways Creighton can engage the community and live out our Jesuit, Catholic mission of service to others, particularly those on the margins of society.

As we continue to engage sustainability efforts on campus, I am pleased to welcome our new director of sustainability, Nicholas McCreary, who will join us on March 16. Nicholas has served as the sustainability coordinator at Indiana State University since 2017. I look forward to his leadership and guidance in collaborating with faculty, staff, and students across the University to advance sustainability initiatives and accelerate our campus goal of achieving carbon neutrality. Read more about Nicholas.

Finally, with the University’s embrace of global aspirations for immersion, engagement, learning, and living, I am energized by the long-term relationships and opportunities we have in the Dominican Republic, particularly as we incorporate the Global Scholars “curriculum” with the Encuentro Dominicano program.

I have named a new Dominican Republic Academic Strategic Planning Group to review and assess opportunities related to course offerings and programming, particularly new online alternatives; local academic relationships; possible immersions in other Latin American countries; more distinct global and eco/sustainability programming and living; and marketing options for Creighton and Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) partners representative of our Caribbean context. René Padilla, PhD, vice provost for Global Engagement, will serve as chair of the committee. A full list of committee members can be found online. I am grateful for their service and excited to see their recommendations.

As we set our sights forward, I appreciate the time Founders Week affords us to pause and reflect as a community. In acknowledging and celebrating the collective efforts of so many, we come to more fully understand why Creighton is such a special place.


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD