The data-collection stage of the Visioning Future Excellence initiative has ended and leaders are nearly ready to report their findings.
Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise updated senators on the progress of the initiative at their March 4 meeting.
She said she has received a list of recommendations from the six Visioning Future Excellence committees that were charged with developing ideas within an assigned theme that could serve as a strategy for the university in the next 20 to 50 years.
The themes, developed last year through a series of focus groups representing an array of campus interests, are economic development, education, energy and the environment, health and wellness, information and technology, and social equality and cultural understanding.
Nearly 1,000 people participated in those sessions, with another 2,000 replying to an online survey. The chancellor also met with corporate and community leaders to gather their input.
Wise said the final recommendations were prioritized by a group of 40 faculty and staff members, and students, who met with her for two hours on each category and brainstormed about the actions needed in the next 12 to 18 months and the next three to five years to implement strategies for each of them. Two days later, the group was asked to prioritize the list again.
That final list has been reviewed and discussed by Wise, the provost, the vice chancellor for research and the vice provost for planning and budgeting, who currently are consulting with college deans to develop a budget priority list based on the areas of focus.
The findings of Visioning Future Excellence will be delivered to campus at an April town hall meeting.
"We will outline what we've learned and what we've heard," Wise told senators.
The chancellor also took a moment to comment on Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, which has been marred in past years by drunken behavior leading to classroom disruptions.
"I'm pretty pleased to report we had no major disruptions and no classes were canceled," she said of the March 1 event.
She credited the efforts of several administrators for ensuring security cooperation that makes campus safer during the event.
"Even though we haven't been able to shut this activity down, we have been able to control it," she said.
In senate business, senators voted to fill a faculty and student vacancy on the Committee on Committees.
Selected for the open faculty spot was College of Fine and Applied Arts professor David O'Brien; for the student spot, Chris McCarthy, an engineering student.
Senators also approved a resolution endorsing the university's participation in the iCAP sustainability program, which seeks to create a carbon-neutral campus by 2050.
Ben McCall, a professor of chemistry and the chair of the Campus Operations Committee that presented the resolution, said the resolution's passage would renew the campus's reputation for its commitment to sustainable practices.
"Substantially more resources will need to be invested to achieve those goals," he said, noting that campus had already reached its early goals under iCAP.
The senate meeting concluded with an executive session for considering nominations for honorary degrees presented by the committee on honorary degrees.