Welcome back, Blue Hens!

February 16, 2016

Welcome back, Blue Hens!

The new semester is barely a week old, and if you’re like me, the assignments and projects are already piling up. Amid this bustle, it can be easy to miss the big picture: Our mission is to be consequential, to make a difference!

I’m proud to say we’re fulfilling that mission in many ways throughout the University. We are truly one of the world’s great research universities on a human scale.

Just this month, we launched the Community Engagement Initiative to strengthen and grow the bonds between our academic work and the wider world. University Prof. Dan Rich – former provost and leader in the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission – will serve as director, while Prof. Lynnette Overby – who led our successful effort to earn the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement designation – will serve as deputy director.

Community engagement is fundamental to our mission. As Dr. Rich puts it, “Part of the process of becoming an excellent scholar is recognizing how the knowledge you obtain can and should be used to strengthen the communities where you live and work.”

Also, we’re Daring to be First by piloting SAT/ACT-optional admissions for in-state students. After much study and consideration by the Office of Admissions and the Faculty Senate, UD concluded that requiring the SAT/ACT sometimes leads to unintended and/or misleading outcomes for students. We will fine-tune our admissions strategy using holistic reviews to encourage all Delawareans capable of success at UD to apply and be subsequently admitted. This will have positive consequences for Delaware students, who in turn, will enrich the entire University.

Of course, to ensure UD matters in the world, we need great faculty and staff here on campus. We’ve made several key moves lately:

  • UD ADVANCE – an initiative supported by the National Science Foundation and dedicated to the advancement of women and all underrepresented groups in STEM fields – has a new mini-grant program and is organizing a national conference April 29-May 1, titled “Women of Color in the Academy: What’s Next?” To learn more about both, visit the ADVANCE web site.
  • Prof. Ann Ardis is our new senior vice provost for graduate and professional education, an area that helps drive the success of many initiatives highlighted in Delaware Will Shine, including diversity and inclusion, and excellence in scholarship.
  • Prof. Lynn Okagaki is now deputy provost for academic affairs, an important role in strengthening our leadership locally and globally.

In the semester ahead, there will be no shortage of tasks to keep us all busy. But let’s also commit to achieving our shared goal as Blue Hens: to use our time and talents, individually and collectively, to change the world!

With a Daring Spirit Bold, Delaware Will Shine!


Domenico Grasso

Provost & Professor