Not counting summer jobs making concrete pipe, hauling garbage, and packing cotton products- not as many tough physical jobs like that for male college students anymore and that’s too bad- I’ve been in higher education since I was a freshman in college, so I think it agrees with me. I’ve been an undergraduate student, a graduate student, a college professor, a dean, and chief academic officer at Columbia College since 1996. It is with honor and humility that I serve as your interim president during the coming academic year. The honor part is being able to serve you. The humble part is Dr. Brouder’s amazing legacy that I will ask you to help me protect and enhance so we can hand off an even stronger Columbia College to the next president in 2014.

Our year together will not be dull. (Actually, it’s never dull at CC.) I will give details at the State of the College address at 11 a.m. CPT on September 12, but here’s a preview:

  • In August, we will launch an institutional effectiveness initiative (known as LEAN) designed to improve processes and eliminate waste.
  • We will launch two new degree programs this fall: Masters in Educational Leadership and Bachelors in Public Administration. (And at the Main Campus, an updated Graphic Design major, and a restored Bachelor of Arts in Music in 2014.)
  • On August 29, Adult Higher Education will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Every campus across the country will commemorate this milestone, which began in St. Louis in 1973. Columbia College-St. Louis will celebrate with a rededication of its renovated facility.
  • On September 26, we will dedicate the Gerald T. and Bonnie M. Brouder Science Center, an extraordinary space named for extraordinary people.
  • A task force will continue examining our general education curriculum.
  • We will work on achieving the new Key Goals in the Transformational Plan. You will be asked for input on them soon.
  • Perhaps most importantly, we will look closely at futuristic teaching modalities in order to position Columbia College for greatness in 2023-24. Intrigued? Stay tuned.

While there may be changes in the coming year, one constant is guaranteed: the ubiquitous primacy of the mission ‘of exemplary teaching and deep learning in the liberal arts and sciences in an environment of civility and respect. Give me your advice (– I’m not on Facebook and I don’t Tweet). Let me know how you and I can make sure Columbia College is a better place to teach and learn tomorrow.

School starts soon. Enjoy your year.