Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Our Path Forward

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    Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum

Proposed key initiatives to support Southwestern’s strategic direction and present bold opportunities for the University and students.

On Sept. 15, 2011 I announced a series of new initiatives that support Southwestern’s strategic direction and present bold opportunities for the University and students.

In order to prepare our students to address the needs of our global society – education, medicine, business – we must augment the current foundation. Below are a few of the proposed key initiatives:

  • Southwestern, working with The Methodist Hospital Research Institute of Houston, is developing a curriculum for a new master’s degree in Translational Medicine. Often called “bench to bedside,” translational medicine is the process of integrating basic biomedical research and patient treatment.  In translational medicine, clinical experience and needs inform basic research and basic research informs clinical care. Research in translational medicine seeks to quickly move research findings into medical practices that improve patient care.
  •  Southwestern is planning a new $24 million Science Center that will promote the interdisciplinarity that characterizes science today. Initial contributions of $4 million have been received to date.
  • The addition of a January term will offer students more options for completing their educational requirements.

We completed the 2010-2011 fiscal year with a balanced budget.  However, the increasing need our students have for financial assistance has caused additional stress on the University’s financial model. This year, we are facing a $2.8 million budget shortfall, which we will cover through a variety of efforts, including asking all departments to reduce their budgets by 7.5 percent. 

While other colleges and universities have had workforce reductions the past few years, we have worked hard to avoid layoffs. Unfortunately, the current financial environment now requires strategic restructuring affecting 37 staff positions. Eliminating personnel is the most difficult aspect of a budget reduction plan. These are people who have been integral to the Southwestern community – some have lengthy tenures; they are our friends. It is devastating to see them leave and we will treat these colleagues with dignity, compassion and support.

Thank you for all you do for Southwestern. I am confident that Southwestern will emerge from these difficult challenges even more committed to our core purpose, Fostering a liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions toward the well-being of humanity.  This University is fortunate to have a community of amazing students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends.

To read about additional initiatives, please see my entire 2011 State of the University address here