September 29, 2013

At last week’s meeting of the William and Mary Board of Visitors, Rector Todd Stottlemyer challenged all of us to “think big, act big, and be bold.” The 2014-2019 strategic plan for Richard Bland College (RBC-19) that the Board of Visitors approved in April aligns well with this directive. RBC’s specific goals for the 2013-2014 academic year—enhancing enrollment, expanding the portfolio of academic programs, building revenue and reducing operating expenses—are, indeed, big and bold. As a result of being intentional about changing our ways of thinking and acting with a focus on the bold goal of 100% student success, at Richard Bland College we are already beginning to see progress along several key performance indicators even in year one of our five-year strategic plan.


Campus Welcomes Members of the W&M Board of Visitors

On September 18, shortly after he was named Chair of the Richard Bland College Committee, John Littel visited campus in preparation for the September 26 Committee meeting at William and Mary. While on campus, Mr. Littel met with a group of RBC Honors students and student-athletes who effectively articulated the mission and vision of Richard Bland College through their personal stories and observations about campus life. Mr. Littel will return to campus on October 22, and he will be joined by Rector Todd Stottlemyer and Dennis Liberson, former RBC Committee Chair. While on campus, Visitors will meet with College Council, which, as always, is open to the campus community. Stay tuned for additional details about this and other opportunities for dialogue with members of the William and Mary Board on October 22.


Institutional Advancement

The RBC Foundation Board held their first meeting of the year on Tuesday, September 24. The Board received the following update regarding student scholarships:

  • $167,000 was provided from Foundation funds for 2013-2014 student scholarships
  • Of this amount, $57,000 was awarded to 57 students as Presidential Merit Scholarships
  • $3,700 is available to award to new students in spring 2014


This year’s golf tournament raised $17,300 for the RBC Foundation with support from 8 business sponsors and a total of 18 teams. Participants provided favorable reviews about the golf course at the Country Club of the Highlands in Chesterfield County and the post-tournament dinner event at the pavilion. On behalf of the RBC Foundation Board of Directors and staff members Scott Davis and Jackie Bryan, I extend appreciation to all members of the extended campus community who participated in this year’s tournament.


In August, the Southern Knight Cruisers Annual Car Show was hosted on campus, and last week Ricky Williams and Paul Allen of the Southern Knights Cruisers personally presented a donation to the Richard Bland College Foundation in recognition of the College’s longstanding support of this popular community event.


Shared Governance

I extend appreciation to all campus leaders, both administrators and faculty, who are working diligently and earnestly to advance, through the shared governance structure, projects that directly support the RBC mission and strategic goals. Our shared governance system is relatively new, and until all policies and procedures are fully reviewed and updated, as planned, redundancies will undoubtedly persist, along with occasional confusion about the various committee roles and responsibilities.


During this settling out period, I urge patience and hyper-collaboration. Effective problem solving and relationship-building are best served by face-to-face communication between and among colleagues, specifically faculty committee chairs and college committee chairs. Attached is an updated visual representation of the flow of our shared governance system. As this simple diagram indicates, Faculty Senate and College Council each have committees whose recommendations are ultimately deliberated by the full Senate or the Council prior to moving forward to the appropriate VP or me for consideration. Arguably, it is the collaboration between and among committees and colleagues that adds the most value in terms of bringing multiple perspectives to bear in the problem solving process, and providing the opportunity to vet multiple viable solutions.


Community Building

Harry and I enjoyed hosting faculty from the Humanities and Social Sciences division for “cuisine and camaraderie” at our home on September 18, and we look forward to spending the evening with Science and Quantitative Methods faculty on October 24. The opportunity to gather together as colleagues in a relaxed and informal setting is one of the many wonderful benefits that we enjoy as a small campus community. It is always energizing and uplifting to spend time in conversation with faculty, staff and students. I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events at the house this year.