January 26, 2001
What a week! This one was dominated by the SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) visit, the Provost search and my open letter to students about excessive drinking and the new alcohol policy in residence halls.
Every ten years the university goes through a comprehensive reaccreditation process that includes a self evaluation and a visit to campus by a review team from peer institutions. The self study alone took almost two years to prepare and this week we were visited by the peer review team consisting of members from Emory, Rice, SMU, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Duke and other universities. Their evaluation was very complimentary and only included a few recommendations for change. The team commented on a number of positive things including the quality of the faculty and staff, student affairs, undergraduate admissions, the planning process, and a number of undergraduate initiatives. I need to thank so many people for overseeing this process but I would particularly like to extend my appreciation to Dick Whiteside, Phil Leinbach, Hugh Lester and Charmane Leblanc for leading the charge.
We also hosted another Provost candidate this week and are now processing feedback from all the visits thus far.
On Thursday I presented a letter to student leaders, which you can read online. The letter outlined my concerns about excessive drinking and informed students that our policy allowing those under 21 to drink in the residence halls will be phased out over the next 18 months as part of a comprehensive effort to make the environment safer for our students and to put greater emphasis on our academic culture rather than the "party" scene.
By the way, I had a great time at the staff appreciation lunch last week. I was overwhelmed by the attendance and the great spirit represented in the room. A president could not ask for a nicer group of people to work with.
Have a nice weekend.
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