Interim President Nagi G. Naganathan called on The University of Toledo community to come together to tackle big challenges and elevate UT for faculty, students and staff as he spoke toto a packed crowd of nearly 600 in Doermann Theater during the State of the University address Oct. 29.“We want UT to be a source where big ideas are developed, to deliver big results. What better way to achieve this than by working together?” Naganathan said.
“Together, we can attract increasing numbers of well-prepared students, create pathways for all students to be successful, and attract world-class faculty who push the frontiers of their disciplines and who are prepared to tackle complex societal problems.
“Together, we can elevate the intellectual and cultural vibrancy of our city and the region, create a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, and foster an environment where diversity is celebrated. Together, we can make a difference.”
In a speech highlighted by videos that featured some two dozen members of the campus and regional communities, Naganathan pointed to partnerships as key to UT accomplishing its goals and benefiting those constituents that count on the University.
Naganathan spotlighted several institution-wide initiatives — established following a meeting with faculty, staff and student leaders — that his administration was working to implement in the coming year.
“I firmly believe, while my title is interim, my responsibilities are not,” he said, emphasizing the University would not sit idle during this year of interim leadership.
Among the initiatives highlighted were an ongoing focus on recruitment and retention, a faculty hiring plan, a reinvestment in the University’s academic core, a focus on UT research, and a commitment to transforming the medical enterprise to meet the changing industry realities in health care.
The interim president got a laugh when he introduced his goal for student recruitment for next fall by referencing one of his favorite phrases. “If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re taking up entirely too much space,” Naganathan quipped, as he announced the goal of enrolling and retaining 400 additional students.
In his speech, Naganathan also addressed UT’s response to the August water crisis, the institution’s role in economic development, and the University’s commitment to a safe campus, including plans to ensure its sexual assault policies and procedures “meet and exceed the recommendations and requirements of the White House Task Force on Sexual Assault.”