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A letter from the editors

fAs the 2009-2010 school year winds down, many things are up in the air at SAIC. President Wellington “Duke” Reiter resigned in April, ideas for the 19,000 square foot student center in the Sharp Building are still being finalized and SAIC administrators and faculty continue to develop the Strategic Planning Initiative.

Ingrid Olson, SAIC undergrad and student representative to the Strategic Planning Committee, says that the team has “worked hard to whittle [the SAIC core values ] down to the bare bones — what makes the school, the school.”

According to Bob Miller, outgoing Interim Provost, the Committee met with a variety of groups throughout the SAIC community to refine the core values. You can access, and make comments on, current drafts of the core values and initiatives on the message board of the Strategic Planning SAIC public portal group.

The newly established Organizational Effectiveness committee, consisting of SAIC faculty and staff, will oversee this initiative to develop an overall campus master plan.

They plan to: update studios and technology (with the potential for separate senior studios, as well as competitively advanced graduate studios); build suitable community space within all of the School’s buildings; expand upon diversity represented within the School’s student body, faculty, and administration; and develop a Department of Contemporary Practice, which will serve to guide and advise students as they pursue their studies at SAIC.

Along with fostering stronger relationships between departments, the Strategic Planning initiatives also seek to strengthen SAIC’s collaborations with alumni, the museum, and its sister institutions within the Chicago area.

Administrative roles need to be filled. When Duke issued his letter of resignation, the school was left to find a dean of faculty, a president, and a provost [vice president of academic affairs]. Lisa Wainwright has since committed to return next fall as Dean of Faculty. According to Chuck Price of the School Board of Governors, an interim president will be selected for next year, and a concrete plan for finding the next president should be developed by next month.

The provost is a new position at SAIC, and Miller says “with the right provost the President will have an experienced individual with a very deep reservoir of skills and talents that, I think, will serve the new president well.” Miller plans to have finalists for the position visit the school by

May 10. “I believe there will be an open session around four or five o’clock,” Miller said at an open meeting on April 29. Interested students can attend and give their feedback, and there will be a podcast for those who can’t attend.

As for the Student Center in the Sharp Building, Ed McNulty, Senior Vice President of Planning at SAIC, says that the design will be finalized by “the first week of June.” Once the design and the cost have been determined, the school’s board of trustees will need to approve the plan. McNulty estimates that the student center will cost $6-7 million to build, and that finding a private donor is imperative.

In light of the continuing transitions at the school, F decided to produce this supplement — “Focus: SAIC Moving Forward” — to explore what YOU, the SAIC community, want to see change.

Inside you will find investigative reporting and commentary addressing a variety of concerns.

• Why it matters (or doesn’t) that our MFA program is currently ranked #3 (pg4)

• A call for transparency and a focus on diversity as new hires are made (pg6)

• A look at student health issues and the need for fitness facilities (pg9)

• A Q&A with the “Duke” —
see fnewsmagazine.com for the video! (pg14)

• Department developments and needs —
in their own words (pg17)

• A survey on School/Museum relations (pg21)

Along with providing the info, F strives to project the voice of the student body — your concerns and personal experiences are extremely important to us. If there’s anything you’d like to comment on, share or have featured in F, you can always email us at editors@fnewsmagazine.com.
On that note, good luck with finals and have a great summer. Check out fnewsmagazine.com for web exclusive content which will be updated throughout the summer and we’ll see you in September!

Brandon and Amanda

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