On Thursday morning Linda Early and I ventured over to Benson for the Provost’s first Campus Connection meeting. We were both glad we went and we learned many things. First the Provost explained why she is having these monthly meetings throughout the academic year. She explained that the climate survey showed that many use have the drive and the willingness to push the campus forward but don’t know where we are headed. The Provost is hoping that these meetings will give us that destination. Today’s meeting had three speakers:

Pamela Dumas Serfes from Communications and Internal Relations

VP Serfes spoke to the new internal website that will be for faculty and staff. Right now it is in the “soft launch” phase but they are expecting to roll it out next week. The site address is http://inside.wfu.edu/ . This site will be where we as faculty and staff go to get all of our needed information. The home page will be geared for people outside of the campus community. The team of developers are looking for articles and photos and have placed submit buttons in numerous places on the website. This is also where we will go to find out if campus is closed or delayed for winter/unsafe weather. The ZSR even gets a shout out as the university has now adopted our Dedicated Deacon program campus wide. The Provost suggested that we might just want to go ahead and make it our new homepage. http://inside.wfu.edu/

Martha Allman from Admissions

Martha Allman from Admissions was up next and she discussed the freshman class; the statistics of the class and how we are doing at creating a diverse population here on campus. She also contributed some of this achievement to our over-sea houses. She said that there is still more work to be done in this area. They are in the process of creating a new admission video with the theme “Communities of Communities.” VP Allman also discussed and showed pictures of the new building or as they refer to it as “the promised land” that we are all watching go up. They hope to be in around February. They are using old fixtures and furnishing that have been refurbished (like a chandelier from the magnolia room) to give this building the welcoming environment they are trying to achieve.

Jim Alty from Facilities

Jim Alty from Facilities was the last speaker. He talked about spoke about the new growth that has happened and that is happening with the new 200 bed dorm and the new welcome center. He stated both are being built to be silver LEED certified. He thinks that the dorm might get gold certification. He said that the business building is in the design phase and seems to be moving along quickly. He hopes it will be completed by August 2013. Jim next spoke to the campus recreation center. The recreation center is in the design phase and will have two swimming pools, one inside for laps and a splash pool outside. He also mentioned basketball courts. If the funding is there they would like this to be on the same time line as the business building. He then discussed the student barn that is on the fast track to be finished. They are going to start construction in mid-October.

Some questions that people had were:

What is going to happen to the old welcome center? The Provost responded that right now there is an odor in the building that they believe could be mold. They are going to let facilities take a look at it as see how expensive it will be to renovate the building. She would like it to be turned into a club for faculty, staff, alumni and students.

Will the new buildings on campus be environmentally friendly? The Provost’s response was yes the goal is to make all buildings as environmentally friendly as possible.

Will the new site be available on mobile devices? Yes but not all sites linked off the main pages will be.

Will the slides from today’s presentations be available on the new website? Yes that can happen we will do that.

Will the Barn be run by student life? Yes it will be. This space is going to be really dedicated for the students during the academic year. They are not sure at this time what use it will have during the summer.

If you have any thoughts ideas or suggestions for topics for these meetings then please email Jill to let her know. jmt@wfu.edu

This was well worth our time for the amount of information that we took out of it. Also they do have fruit, pastries and bagels to entice staff there.