Planning Council Under Way

A committee representing a cross section of The Catholic University of America began its work this week to recommend a concrete action plan for the University’s future.

The Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., president, called for the creation of a planning strategy to help define steps the University needs to take to address its challenges in the new century.

Peter Cimbolic, vice provost and dean of graduate studies, said the members plan to end their work within 12 months and will offer forums to draw perspectives from everyone in the community who wishes to provide input into the process.

Among the issues the council will address are funding issues, the role of research at the University, the size and scope of graduate programs, and the relationship between the university’s graduate and undergraduate programs, Vice Provost Cimbolic said.

"We’re putting to closure the initiatives started by others," Vice Provost Cimbolic said. "We hope by this time next year, our task will be done."

Members invited to join the council are those who are leaders, creative thinkers, and able to consider the perspective of the University in a holistic way, Vice Provost Cimbolic said.

"We’re coming up with much more than a report to be put in a drawer," he said. "The result of our work will be an action plan that will have targeted dates of completion. It’s a public road map of where we’re going."

The planning council itself will devise ways to draw comments and suggestions from the wider CUA community. Vice Provost Cimbolic said the council may tap town meetings, assemble work groups, or gather small groups to study targetted areas. Planning committee members, in addition to Vice Provost Cimbolic are:

Ralph Beaudoin, vice president for finance and treasurer; Adele R. Chwalek, director of libraries; Richard Collins, vice president, Institutional Advancement; Robert Friday, vice president, Student Life; Jody Gatwood, associate professor of music; Elizabeth Hawkins-Walsh, assistant professor of nursing; Nora M. Heimann, assistant professor of art; Margaret M. Higgins, dean of student life; Gregory Hunt, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning; the Rev. Joseph Komonchak, professor of religion and religious education; Julius Levine, associate professor of architecture and planning; Charles Mann, director of business services and planning systems; Mary McAlevy Snyder, director of graduate admissions; Peter Murray, vice provost for Information Technologies; Marilyn Neeley, professor of music; Father O’Connell, Craig Parker, general counsel; Kevin Petersen, director of facilities maintenance and operations; Sue Pervi, vice president for administration; Sara Pickert, chair and professor of education; Larry Poos, chair and professor of history; Marc Sebrechts, chair and associate professor of psychology; Michelene Sheehy, budget director; the Rev. Msgr. Robert Sokolowski, professor of philosophy; Ernest Suarez, chair and professor of English; Aydin Tozeren, professor of biomedical engineering; Mary Jeanne Verdieck, associate professor, National Catholic School of Social Service; and Vincent Walter, vice president and general secretary.

The group met for the first time April 19.