State of the University Address
In his annual State of the University address on August
22, 2014, President James M. Danko reinforced the
University's commitment to the Butler 2020 Vision and outlined key
priorities for 2014-2015, including student safety and security,
construction of new parking and housing facilities, and investment
in professional development for Butler's faculty and staff.
President Danko shared highlights from the past year, including
the announcement of the Desmond Tutu Center, the receipt of major
grants from Lilly Endowment and the National Science Foundation,
the successful completion of the Hinkle Campaign, and strong
financial results for the University. He also welcomed new faculty
and staff to the University, applauded Butler's Enrollment
Management team for enrolling a vibrant incoming class, and said
that important national searches for Vice Presidents of Advancement
and Enrollment Management are underway and scheduled for completion
later this year.
Danko thanked the Butler community for their engagement in the
University's two-year strategic development process, which
culminated last year with the introduction of the Butler 2020 Vision
to be an innovative leader in the creation and delivery of
transformative student-centered learning experiences that prepare
graduates to make a meaningful impact in the world.
While 2020 may seem distant, President Danko emphasized that the
realization of our vision will require us to make focused,
meaningful progress each and every year. "Success will require
commitment from the entire Butler community," Danko said. "It's
challenging work and challenging times, but we're really confident,
given the greatness of this University, that we're going to
succeed." With that in mind, he highlighted key priorities for the
University in 2014-2015, which in turn support the University's
academic mission and Butler 2020 Vision.
Student Safety and Security
"The most important priority for Butler is the safety and
security of our students," President Danko said. "The issue of
sexual violence has reached a crisis point at universities across
the nation, and Butler is no exception." President Danko
previously announced plans for a Presidential Commission on Sexual
Assault near the end of the 2013-2014 academic year and asked
Provost Morris to lead the effort, which will center on assessment,
education, and prevention.
Though the final charge and composition of the Commission are
still being determined, substantive progress has been made on
several fronts during the summer months. He specifically
highlighted an expansion of student programming focused on
education and prevention, proactive work with government
stakeholders and peer institutions, and significant work to improve
Butler's sexual assault policies, procedures, and enforcement
President Danko also emphasized the important role that students
themselves must play in caring for one another. He further
underscored this idea at last weekend's
Convocation Ceremony, where he asked all first-year Butler
students to take a pledge to make healthy, smart decisions and to
help their classmates stay safe throughout their college career.
"We will do everything we can to keep you safe," said Danko, "but
it is ultimately up to you, as independent young adults, to make
the right decisions for yourselves and those around you."
Campus Living and Learning Environment
President Danko provided a detailed update on short- and
long-term efforts to improve Butler's living and learning
environment, highlighting ongoing renovations to Hinkle Fieldhouse,
which will be complete in time for basketball season, and the
Sunset Avenue Streetscape Project, which is progressing rapidly and
will conclude next spring.
He also provided an exciting overview of the multi-use parking and
student housing projects that will bring 1,000 structured parking
spaces, world-class accommodations for more than 600 students, and
new retail and community space to Butler's campus over the next two
years. Construction will begin in September on the parking garage
and next spring on the student housing, with the facilities opening
in the fall of 2015 and 2016, respectively. More details on
construction timing and impact are available online and
will be posted in The Connection.
Danko shared the importance of these capital projects to
advancing Butler's reputation in an increasingly competitive higher
education landscape, and shared his excitement about the foundation
they provide for future academic developments, including a planned
renovation and expansion focused on the sciences and a potential
new academic building to house the College of Business, among
Leadership and Professional Development
President Danko also emphasized the importance of investing in
Butler's people-the faculty, staff, and administrative leaders who
deliver upon the academic mission each and every day. He shared the
results and impact of a leadership initiative recently completed by
Butler's deans and vice presidents, and shared plans to expand this
and other professional development initiatives in the year to come.
"Realizing Butler's vision and potential will be an incredible
challenge, and we must have people in place that are able to get us
there," he said. "We're the stewards of this University. We need to
leave it a better place."
The Path Forward
With so many important opportunities and exciting activity on
campus, President Danko shared a plan to shift the State of the
University away from being a "moment in time" each year, instead
seeking to engage the Butler community throughout the year in a
series of leadership presentations and discussions focused on the
Butler 2020 Vision, its strategic platforms, and our key priorities
"The participation and input of the entire Butler community has
been critical to establishing the Butler 2020 Vision and
identifying key priorities for the coming year," said Danko. "Your
continued engagement will be just as important as we bring these
initiatives to life in the coming months and years."
President Danko's full address can be seen below.