Provost Michael Halleran stressed the College of William and Mary’s recent internationalization during the Board of Visitors Academic Affairs session Sept. 22.
Halleran highlighted the new St. Andrew’s University in Scotland exchange program and the Confucius Institute in China. He stated that six percent of the class of 2015 are international students and a growing number of faculty are international as well.
Rick Gressard, chair for the faculty liaison committee, named communication as his main goal.
“I would really like to encourage innovation in our communication and our relationship because if we are not working together in this critical year, I think it could be problematic for all of us,” Gressard said. “We don’t always have to agree but we do have to come across and communicate.”
Gressard stressed the important role that the six-year plan will play in the College’s upcoming year.
“I think the issue that stands out most to me is the six year plan,” Gressard said. “To many, this upcoming year is going to be a very critical year for William and Mary. It is going to define the quality and character of this university, and this is something that the faculty members are obviously invested in.”
While faculty salaries have been an issue of late, Gressard emphasized how the faculty feels about their positions outside of a monetary context.
“If you look at faculty members, why we are here, what we do, this is not just a job for us,” Gressard said. “This is our passion, this is our preoccupation, this is our lifestyle. We are very concerned about the quality of this university, and I do think that the six-year plan, and the response to that in Richmond will be very critical of what we are going to look like.”
Gressard said the faculty understands why salary increases are not necessarily on the table in the near future, but he believes better communication will help both parties understand the issue.
“The faculty have an international and national reputation, so I know what is happening in California and Pennsylvania, so I see the programs that are getting cut,” Gressard said. “On the one hand we say, ‘Oh, it would be nice to get a raise,’ but on the other hand, we see that there are states that are worse off than we are.”
The committee agreed with Gressard to increase communication.