President Robert L. Manuel > First 125 Days > Notes from Rob > Let’s start the conversation

Let’s start the conversation

​​​I am thrilled to share with you my first university message as DePaul's president. I feel fortunate to be a part of this outstanding university, and I'm excited about all we will accomplish together.

I spent a lot of time in Chicago these past few months and already have had conversations with close to 300 members of our community. Thank you for the warm welcome you extended, and the candid thoughts and ideas you shared with me. You've inspired me, and confirmed DePaul is a unique place, ready to engage our challenges and design our future.

Through these conversations I heard a few shared themes. I heard the concerns about the state of higher education and the weight our current professional realities have on your quality of life. I heard the need to more prominently showcase our mission as a lived reality of our community and engage our Chicago neighbors. Lastly, I heard the need to ensure every piece of our work should be focused on the care for the people in our community, and a need to establish excitement and confidence in our collective future.

I hear the need for change. I'm excited to see your willingness to design our path forward. With your help, we have the opportunity to redefine the national standards of higher education. This is a pivotal moment for all of us.

Based on what I've heard so far, I see several emerging themes. These themes will evolve over time, and as they do, they will guide our work. The themes are:

EMERGING THEMES

SHARED GOVERNANCE

Strengthen our commitment, our understanding and the impact of shared governance.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Create urgency to demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY

Recognize and respect the expertise of our faculty and staff. Take care of each other and our community.

PHILANTHROPY

Connect the expertise and talent in our community to our philanthropic opportunities.

MISSION

Establish the mission as the core of all work we do—current and future.

ACADEMIC DISTINCTION

Strengthen our existing programs and build new ones consistent with our mission.

DESIGNING THE FUTURE

Build a plan for our future that solidifies DePaul as a national leader in educational excellence and creates a shared belief in all we do.

Emerging themes infographic. Details of infographic listed below.

  • SHARED GOVERNANCE: Strengthen our commitment, our understanding and the impact of shared governance.
  • DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION: Create urgency to demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY: Recognize and respect the expertise of our faculty and staff. Take care of each other and our community.
  • PHILANTHROPY: Connect the expertise and talent in our community to our philanthropic opportunities.
  • MISSION: Establish the mission as the core of all work we do—current and future.
  • ACADEMIC DISTINCTION: Strengthen our existing programs and build new ones consistent with our mission.
  • DESIGNING THE FUTURE: Build a plan for our future that solidifies DePaul as a national leader in educational excellence and creates a shared belief in all we do.

This is only the beginning of the conversation, and I will expand more on these themes (and share others) at our Academic Convocation on Sept. 1.

This year's Convocation also will officially kick off DePaul's 125th anniversary celebration. As such, I plan to use my first 125 days at DePaul to continue these discussions, and celebrate the talent and accomplishments of all of you. Together, we will define our priorities, our approach to strengthening existing programs and developing new ones. We will honor our commitment to shared governance, our Chicago community, and caring for the development and wellbeing of our faculty, staff, students and alumni along the way.

As we prepare for the start of a new academic year and more students begin to arrive on campus, I look forward to meeting more of our DePaul community members. I'm in the process of lining up tours of our facilities across campus and plan to attend as many university events as possible. I'm also excited to fully immerse myself in our Vincentian heritage as a member of the next cohort for the Vincentian Mission Institute.

I am looking forward to spending time with you all. I welcome the invitation to join you at the events and ceremonies around campus that have meaning to you – and hope you will introduce me to the parts of DePaul that you care most about. You also can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and BeReal.

I am extremely humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve as DePaul's 13th president. The most exciting part of this moment is that our collective expertise, passion and devotion to DePaul's mission are the prerequisites to design the higher education of consequence, value and impact for the future.  Together, we will bring forward the talent of our faculty, staff, students and alumni to engage in the most pressing problems of our day and forge a path to model for the world the new standards of excellence, relevance and impact in higher educatio​n.