Dr. Phil Schubert conducted faculty and staff meetings Wednesday to help dispel rumors around campus regarding the recently formed Horizon Team and it’s intentions.
Schubert, president of the university, and Dr. Mark Phillips, associate professor of management sciences, led one meeting at noon and another at 4 p.m. to explain how the team aims to foster ideas around campus to help improve the university’s future.
“The team’s purpose is to facilitate campus-wide discussion to ensure ACU progresses despite the challenges it faces,” Schubert said.
Schubert began the meeting by remembering some of the challenges the university faced, including the budget realignment plan and the bus accident in October.
“I’m still amazed at how through the worst tragedies we can imagine God works to bring good out of a terrible situation,” he said. “Additionally, the budget realignment wasn’t easy but God continues to provide for us as individuals and what we collectively represent at ACU.”
He then introduced Phillips as the leader of the Horizon Team. Phillips named the rest of the team, citing their diverse abilities and interests as why he asked them to join the team.
Phillips also said that George Saltsman, executive director of Educational Technology in the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning, and Bill Rankin, associate professor of English and director of mobile learning research, will also be consulting the team closely.
“They are experts on the future of technology and higher education,” he said. “They are the best sources on campus for the project.”
Phillips explained the teams focal areas as well. The integration of faith, life and learning; pedagogy; technology; interconnectedness across areas; cost of delivery and basics of how the university is run will all be central areas for the team to evaluate.
Phillips wanted to erase all traces of rumors that the team would be making cuts or any other changes to the university.
“We have no power or authority,” he said. “We are the eyes and ears to bring information back to administration.”
Phillips also addressed past teams that had similar responsibilities, and explained this team has a broader scope, a leadership commitment and external pressures.
“Our intention is that there will be lots of talking,” he said.
The team will communicate and work closely with the offices of the president, the provost and the staff and faculty senates.
To help facilitate more discussion among faculty and staff, Phillips encouraged lunch and small group discussions as well as reading groups coordinated by Dr. Nancy Shankle, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“The team is not the exclusive work of the team,” Phillips said. “We encourage comprehensive discussion to evaluate opportunities or ideas across campus. I expect deans and other campus leaders to be heavily involved in the discussion.”
The team is being funded by the President’s Venture Council, a group of external donors that provides opportunistic funding for evaluating and pursuing opportunities
Schubert approached Phillips in October to ask him to form the Horizon Team, and after a few months of organizing the team and it’s responsibilities, the team just began meeting last week.
Phillips said the university has no intention to change its identity.
“This is not an attempt to change who we are,” he said. “It’s an attempt to preserve and protect who we are.”
For more information about the team, it’s progress, and it’s members, visit blog.acu.edu/horizon or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Mark Phillips