University Strategic Alignment Process
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July 6, 2016

The vice chancellors and I continue to evaluate the 41 recommendations and are on track to share a plan of action at the beginning of fall semester. We appreciate the input received via usapfeedback@ipfw.edu and are taking all input into consideration.

Our work to date has resulted in identification and assignment of the appropriate point of responsibility and accountability for each of the recommendations and a high-level discussion of potential actions to address each recommendation; e.g., technical fixes, additional study and review, creation of working groups to develop plans, etc. As expected, the majority of recommendations fall within Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management. Other recommendations have shared responsibility or are the responsibility of another administrative unit. Each vice chancellor will be responsible for developing the specific implementation plans to address those recommendations specific to and assigned to his/her unit.

Regarding recommendation 2.3, which has received the majority of attention: As Vice Chancellor Drummond announced in May, he has charged the deans with developing academic program viability metrics that will be vetted with faculty and finalized this fall. These metrics will help inform any reorganization or restructuring plan that will be finalized by the end of December. Implementation of any restructuring plan will be a multi-step, multi-year process. Let me restate that no tenured or tenure track faculty will be eliminated. In addition, all relevant and applicable IPFW senate and university policies and procedures will be followed.

The USAP task force completed their work with the submission of the report to senior administration and its release to the campus in early May. The recommendations contained in the report are just that, recommendations. Continued criticism of the process, conduct of meetings, and task force members is simply not constructive and only serves to distract and redirect energy from the real work before us, which is developing and implementing plans that better serve students, support their success, strengthen the institution, and better position it for the future.

June 2, 2016

Final updates have been made to the USAP website to include visualization of academic performance metrics as well as unit-level evaluations written by the task force. In addition, minor editorial changes to the final report are highlighted.

May 12, 2016

While feedback has been received expressing both support for as well as concern about the recommendations, I want to reiterate that no decisions have been made on the recommendations contained in the report. Each recommendation will be considered and vetted by the vice chancellors and myself during the summer.

As stated in my messages to the campus community on May 6 and again this afternoon, the vice chancellor and I will be developing an action plan that will be shared with the entire campus community at the beginning of fall semester. Input on the plan will be solicited. I want to once again thank the task force for their efforts in completing this difficult work. Please send any responses to the report at USAPFeedback@ipfw.edu. All responses will be shared with the vice chancellor and myself.

May 5, 2016

The final report from the USAP task force will be shared with the campus community this Friday. The group has accomplished exactly what was requested of them, which was to provide recommendations on how we allocate our resources to support strategic initiatives from Plan 2020. I commend the 24 members of the task force for their diligence and commitment to this work, knowing they worked as Institutional Trustees, remaining focused on creating recommendations they believe will best help us achieve the goals of Plan 2020. 

April 28, 2016

The final report from this year's USAP Task Force is nearing completion and high-level information has been presented to the Vice Chancellors and myself as the team works to prepare for dissemination. I'm impressed with USAP's focus on IPFW's future, and how their recommendations emphasize their original guidelines frames around areas for investment, areas for cost savings and efficiency, high-impact areas and student success, and finally, on creating a culture of continuous improvement. I know many people are eager to read the report, and I look forward to the conversations and action it will generate.

April 21, 2016

Last weekend, Task Force members spent nearly 20 hours together at an off-site retreat in order to synthesize their analyses of 119 unit reports and performance metrics. USAP reports revealed more than 100 new goals created this year, replacing the nearly 100 goals achieved from last year. Collectively, over five hundred goals are process, which are primarily focused on improving or enhancing programs and services or increasing efficiency in some way. I recognize the significant work that went into this process for each department and I appreciate the forward-thinking planning that these goals reflect. The task force is in the process of finalizing their report and recommendations which will be released by the end of the semester.

April 14, 2016

Members of the USAP Task Force are going off-site for a two day retreat to finalize their analysis and evaluation. After reviewing over 100 individual, unit-level reports, the team now turns their focus to the university-level and will begin the arduous task of synthesizing all the information and data they've collected and reviewed. The team is on target to complete their report with recommendations and they plan to distribute to the campus community by May 6th.

April 7, 2016

My fourth and final USAP goal is to implement approved recommendations from the University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP) and the Campus Budget Committee (CBC). I am committed to a transparent process for allocation and budgeting of resources so that decision-making is driven to the lowest level possible. Both of these Chancellor-appointed committees are made up of faculty and staff representing every college and division across the institution. This integration ensures that recommendations reflect broad and comprehensive representation which has required tremendous time and effort of those involved. I'd like to thank each member of USAP and CBC for their commitment and willingness to serve IPFW on these critical initiatives and with this goal, reinforce my commitment to act on their recommendations.

March 31, 2016

Building and enhancing what we are already doing to transition and operate as a Multisystem, Metropolitan University is the focus of my third USAP goal. This new designation enhances opportunities for IPFW to directly impact the region through teaching, research and service by allowing us to create stronger partnerships with the region. This will result in increased support and funding for new program development, scholarship opportunities for students, and economic development of the region. Increasing outreach initiatives with economic, industrial, cultural, and intellectual partners across the region will strengthen our relationships with those in the community, providing further support for our programs and services which will impact student success at all levels.

March 24, 2016

Improving integration between IPFW and the community at-large is the focus of my second USAP goal. Supporting our role as a Multisystem Metropolitan University as outlined by the Indiana Commission of Higher education, we provide leadership to our region and use our resources to improve the region's quality of life. Promoting collaborations between regional businesses and IPFW will enhance our ability to respond to their needs and ensure the use of faculty and staff expertise, while allowing us to serve in a positive way. I applaud the work of all of those who already work with regional organizations through volunteering, consulting, and board service and encourage us to enhance this work even further. Doing so will create more opportunities for our students and university as a whole.

March 17, 2016

Just as each department created USAP Reports, so did the Deans, Vice Chancellors and my office. Administrative goals reflect the work required to support the divisions and colleges, as well as the entire university. Over the next few weeks, I will highlight each of the goals from my report beginning with my highest priority - Goal 1: Advocate for and secure an increase in base funding (operating budget) from state legislature. Additional funding will allow the expansion and creation of high-demand programs and upgrading our information technology infrastructure, among other needs. Last year, we saw an increase of nearly $800,000 to the operating budget. Additionally, $10 million in one-time funding was received for deferred maintenance. This year, the Chancellor's Office will continue advocating on behalf of IPFW, ensuring the legislature and community are aware of our needs and the impact that increased operating funds will have.

March 10, 2016

Over the last week, more than 50 USAP reports were submitted from Academic Affairs' units. I appreciate everyone's effort to honor the submission timeline, recognizing the competing priorities that existed for many unit leads. I want to personally thank all of you for the extra effort put in to ensuring submission before spring break. The task force has begun their review, and will follow-up with individual units as needed and plan to have their final report and recommendations before the end of the semester.

March 3, 2016

Staying focused on the goals of our strategic plan - Plan 2020 - is critical to the future of IPFW and the task force continues to ensure that Plan 2020 is the primary focus throughout their analysis. Regardless of any changes to our governance, the four goal areas of Plan 2020 are the right ones for IPFW: 1) foster student success, 2) promote the creation, integration, and application of knowledge, 3) serve as a regional intellectual, cultural, and economic hub for global competitiveness, and 4) create a stronger university through improving the support of stakeholders and the quality and efficiency of the organization.

March 17, 2016

Just as each department created USAP Reports, so did the Deans, Vice Chancellors and my office. Administrative goals reflect the work required to support the divisions and colleges, as well as the entire university. Over the next few weeks, I will highlight each of the goals from my report beginning with my highest priority - Goal 1: Advocate for and secure an increase in base funding (operating budget) from state legislature. Additional funding will allow the expansion and creation of high-demand programs and upgrading our information technology infrastructure, among other needs. Last year, we saw an increase of nearly $800,000 to the operating budget. Additionally, $10 million in one-time funding was received for deferred maintenance. This year, the Chancellor's Office will continue advocating on behalf of IPFW, ensuring the legislature and community are aware of our needs and the impact that increased operating funds will have.

February 25, 2016

As a reminder, USAP reports for Academic Affairs are due March 4th. Instructions, performance metric data, and other information is available on the website. I appreciate the work that has gone into preparing each report and acknowledge the substantial time departments are dedicating to the effort. I want to thank the entire campus community for engaging in and supporting this critical work that will strengthen and move IPFW forward. For questions, please contact Jennifer Oxtoby, Project Manager or email usap@ipfw.edu

February 18, 2016

As a data-informed process, the USAP task force relies on data pulled from our student information system (Banner) and budgeting system (SAP) and has been compiled for each department's academic performance metrics. As faculty continue the review of these data, we encourage you to supply further details that will help the task force to better understand the full picture of your unit and to interpret the data as it relates to your programs. These comments and contextualization are requested in Part 1, Question #4 of your USAP report.

February 11, 2016

A comprehensive set of academic performance data that the task force will use for review has been distributed to academic departments and is now available on the USAP website. VCAA Drummond established the process where each Department Chair led a faculty conversation that resulted in the identification of these clearly defined metrics. I appreciate the collaborative and iterative process VC Drummond led which involved faculty throughout the university. Questions about the metrics should be directed to the Chair or Dean of each department.

February 4, 2016

All those involved in leading and managing USAP including the task force, facilitation team, vice chancellors and myself have reflected on the process and potential outcomes given the LSA Recommendations. We remain fully committed to the goal of using evidence-based decision making to align university resources to our strategic plan, and will move forward with USAP as it is currently designed. I appreciate the thoughtful discussions and consideration that have taken place and especially acknowledge the hard work of the task force and the seriousness with which they view their assignment.

January 28, 2016

The USAP Task Force will be presented with information from two Graduate Students, Nadia Deiban (Systems Engineering) and Emuobome “Judith” Sobotie (Technology), who are doing a pilot project with Collective System Design (CSD) to illustrate how IPFW meets the needs of our students according to the concept of a value stream. The goal is to identify the interconnectedness of our work focusing on students in order to identify where there may be duplication of effort or inefficient work processes.  Their work is planned to be presented for discussion and use by the USAP task force and will be shared with the campus community later in the semester.

January 21, 2016

As a process focused on strengthening our university, USAP is uniquely situated to provide input into the potential changes we may incur as a result of the LSA recommendations.  Remaining focused on strategic alignment is more critical than ever and the task force and steering committee, along with the facilitation team, are having open discussions about the role USAP will play as we move forward.  Our commitment to openness and transparency with the campus community remains strong and we will continue to share all relevant information as it develops.

January 14, 2016

Under the direction of Vice Chancellor Drummond and with input from campus faculty, academic metrics have been identified and a metric matrix is currently being populated with data.  Input was received from each department and then reviewed by academic deans and faculty senate leadership who agreed on the final set of metrics.  A matrix will be available for each unit within the next week and will be distributed directly to Deans and Chairs.  Questions about the metrics should be directed to Department Chairs.

January 7, 2016

Over 30 USAP Reports were submitted by December 31st in the first round of reporting.  I want to personally thank all of you for the extra effort put in to ensuring submission before the holiday break.  The Task Force will begin reviewing reports from the Divisions of Financial & Administrative Affairs and Student Affairs in the next week.  Each department will then have the opportunity to meet with the task force to discuss their reports in more detail and will be contacted directly in the next month to schedule.  For questions or more information, please contact Jennifer Oxtoby, Project Manager.

 

December 10, 2015

Last year the task force highlighted “Leadership Development” among the seven themes in their final report.  Specifically, they recommended a comprehensive leadership development program be established to build capacity for engaging and managing change as well as empowering others.  In response, I’ve put together a team of individuals led by Dr. Kim McDonald (ETCS) and Tamarah Brownlee (HR) to develop IPFW’s inaugural Leadership Academy.  Nominations have been taken by Vice Chancellors and Deans to fill the first Cohort.  This competency-based program incorporates skill enhancement and self-awareness which I believe will lead to “multiplying” successful leaders across campus. I’m proud of this important initiative and look forward to getting it started in January 2016.  A website with details will be announced soon in Inside IPFW.

December 3, 2015

Since the economic downturn in the last decade, the cost and value of a college degree continues to be scrutinized.  For certain programs, such as nursing and engineering, employment outlook and job placement data can provide insight that may be useful to consider.  However, for many majors whose graduates receive a variety of job opportunities, these data are limited.  While the task force is considering Employment Outlook and Job Placement as part of their review, they understand the data is not applicable to all units.  Thus, when completing your USAP Report, we ask that academic units provide context, so that limitations, as well as opportunities, are understood.  I appreciate the effort that has gone into compiling these data as well as the time required to interpret the relevancy to specific units.  Questions about the analysis can be directed to usap@ipfw.edu

 

November 19, 2015

In this year’s reporting cycle, every unit will have performance metrics that have been developed by the respective divisions on which to report.  For Academic Affairs, these metrics are currently being developed through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and will be populated and reported on after the first of the year.  All other divisions are asked to provide their specific performance metrics and associated data in their USAP reports (Part 1, Question 4).  In addition to the data, units may wish to provide additional comments or context to help the task force better understand what the metrics reflect for their particular units.  Establishing performance metrics for each division is a significant accomplishment for IPFW and we appreciate the work that has gone into this effort.

November 12, 2015

Now that units have their pre-populated reports, the task force is preparing for the evaluation and analysis process which will begin in early January as the first USAP reports are submitted. Financial & Administrative Affairs and Student Affairs will submit their reports by December 31st with Advancement following on February 1st and Academic Affairs by March 4th.  As reports are submitted, the task force will schedule meetings with each department, creating a dialogue to ensure they fully understand the mission and goals of the units they are evaluating. We appreciate this enhancement to the evaluation process, which along with the performance metrics, will enrich the team’s perspective, providing a more thorough and complete analysis.  We want to thank the USAP Task Force and the entire campus community for engaging in and supporting this critical work that will strengthen and move IPFW forward.

November 5, 2015

In addition to demonstrating alignment to Plan 2020, USAP reporting encourages thinking outside of our current structures and ways of doing things to suggest creative, innovative ways to offer programs and deliver services that clearly demonstrate that student success is our top priority.  Part 2 of the unit reports invite a deeper dig into those ideas to create goals and action plans and to consider the resources needed to support the ideas.  As we transition into a multi-system, metropolitan university, it is this ability to identify, evaluate and implement innovative practices that will enhance how we serve the students of Northeast Indiana and beyond. Units are encouraged to consider and propose ambitious goals and bold ideas!

October 29, 2015

Distinguishing between Part I and Part II of your USAP Report is important to understand.  Part I focuses on how the mission of your unit supports and aligns with the IPFW Mission, highlighting accomplishments that demonstrate your role in the university.  Part II invites a forward-thinking perspective and focuses on your goals and how you intend to support Plan 2020. Examining resources associated with each goal will provide a comprehensive view of institutional needs that will allow us to leverage and enhance organizational capacity across all divisions.  Managing our resources this way will ensure alignment to Plan 2020 and will lead to the best possible outcomes for students.

October 22, 2015

The purpose of the University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP) remains unchanged since we began in May, 2014: To align our resources with the goals of Plan 2020. We are committed to a balanced, collaborative, and data-informed process as evidenced by the transparency of the integrated task force made up of both faculty and staff. Their analysis and evaluation will lead to recommendations which will be considered by myself and the Vice Chancellors in order to make decisions related to resource allocation.  As we transition to a multisystem metropolitan university, we must become a campus that makes data-informed decisions and aligns resources in support of institutional priorities. Creating highly inclusive strategic planning and alignment processes isn’t easy and will continue evolving in order to achieve the goal of aligning our resources with our strategic plan. 

October 15, 2015

VCAA Drummond has established a process for units in Academic Affairs to establish performance measures that will inform the USAP Process.  Allowing enough time for the task force to complete their work by the end of the academic year was a top priority in re-establishing the following due dates for USAP report submission:

Student Affairs:  December 31st

Financial & Administrative Affairs:  December 31st

Advancement – February 1st

Academic Affairs – March 4th

Pre-populated reports will be distributed early next week to all units.  In the meantime, you may refer to the previously distributed template to work on your report. 

October 8

Supporting an institution-wide process such as USAP requires tremendous coordination within and between various people and groups.  Over the last week there has been ongoing discussion with faculty leaders regarding the performance metrics that were developed earlier this year.  The time required to address this has delayed the release of the pre-populated USAP reports which will shift due dates for all divisions.  Further information will be provided directly from USAP very soon. We appreciate everyone’s patience. 

 October 1

Pre-populated USAP reports are being distributed today along with instructions and process information.  Reports are due on October 23, 2015 and detailed information about this year’s reporting cycle can be found at www.ipfw.edu/usap.  Questions can be directed to USAP@ipfw.edu or to Jennifer Oxtoby, Project Manager, at x14186. 

Due to conflicts with other responsibilities and assignments, four members of the task force have been replaced with previous nominees.  Outgoing members include: Abdullah Eroglu, Rachel Hile, John Niser, and Shawna Squibb.  New members include Suleiman Ashur – Civil Engineering, David Cochran – Systems Engineering, Jeff Nowak – Educational Studies, and Kathy Surface - IT Services. 

September 24

USAP reports- pre-populated with last year’s goals, along with detailed instructions, will be sent to Unit Leads by September 30th. The report will prepared in a Microsoft Word Form that allows users to type or copy/paste text directly into predefined fields. This streamlined data capture system was developed by the Information Analytics & Visualization Center, led by Beomjin Kim, professor of computer science. Developing the program in-house allowed customization of the system to meet our exact needs while also reducing overall costs. In addition, the system provides data analysis capabilities that will enhance the process, providing more detailed and useful information about our strategic alignment efforts. Others working with Professor Kim on the development include Benjamin Aeschliman, application software developer, and two students – Nathaniel Gough (senior, computer science) and Brenna Noll (junior, visual communication and design). For questions, please contact usap@ipfw.edu.

September 17, 2015

The data capture system will be sent to Unit Leads via email by the end of the month.  In the meantime, the template is available as a word document which will allow users to simply copy and paste content into the system once it’s available.  Download the form here, under “Year 2 Reporting”.  On the report, the task force has asked for comment and/or to provide context to performance measures.  Vice Chancellors are working with faculty and staff to identify division-specific measures which are expected by the end of the month.  Draft measures for academic programs are available now and are nearly final.  Institutional Research is compiling the data and is working to build the actual measures which will be posted on the IR website as they are completed.   All feedback to this data will be considered and used to refine the measures.  Questions and comments should be directed to Bob Wilkinson at wilkinrb@ipfw.edu.

 

September 10, 2015

The USAP team recently sent an update to the campus community along with this year’s report template so that units can begin planning and working on their reports now.   This year, the task force will provide a more comprehensive evaluation of individual programs across the university which will include review of performance measures by division and employment outlook & data for academic programs.  The reports associated with these data will be available soon and each unit will be able to provide comment and context to their individual programs.  Sharing your questions and comments via the USAP website will ensure they are shared with the campus community. You may also contact usap@ipfw.edu directly.

 

September 3, 2015

To inform the legislative study report as I’ve requested, the task force has an extraordinary amount of work to accomplish in an extremely short timeframe.  To support their effort in meeting the reduced timeline, I’m requesting that units submit their USAP Reports one week earlier than originally planned.  This new deadline of October 23, 2015 will increase the task force’s analysis time by 25% and will ensure they are able to adequately review each report.  

 The task force has elected new Co-Chairs who will lead the group this year.  Barry Dupen, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Jack Patton, Executive Director of Marketing Communications will serve in these roles.

 

August 27, 2015

Chancellor Carwein has asked the University Strategic Alignment Process Team to accelerate their schedule by approximately four weeks in order for them to provide recommendations that will inform the legislative study report as well as the signature clusters discussion.  This work, to be successful, requires us to think outside of our current structures and ways of doing things, to identify programs and services that are poised for growth and investment, to ask what new and innovative programming we should be investing in, to reject thinking that maintains the status quo, to suggest creative innovative ways to offer programs and deliver services that clearly demonstrate that student success is not only the top priority of IPFW in words of our strategic plan, but that we live it and promote it every day in everything we do.  We must ask the question, how do we create a better future for IPFW so that we grow in distinction, in value and in service to our metropolitan area?  Later this week the USAP team will communicate the process and timeline for collecting your reports and analyzing performance measures. 

 

August 20, 2015

The USAP Task Force has worked over the summer to prepare for this year’s reporting cycle which will include an updated template, performance measures, and a simplified data capture system.  As announced earlier, the use of performance metrics will not be one single metric but rather a group of metrics that will inform the process, rather than direct it.  The team has worked within each division to identify the appropriate metrics and will collaborate with Institutional Research to gather the data.  As a reminder, this year’s reports will be due October 31st, an earlier timeline required in order to align with other institutional processes.  More specific information, including the template and metrics will be distributed soon.

 

April 24, 2015 

Nominations are now closed.  Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.       

TASK FORCE NOMINATIONS   

We are seeking nominations for the USAP Task Force and invite you to nominate outstanding colleagues for possible appointment by the Chancellor.  You may also nominate yourself.  Details can be found here.

       Click here for nomination form

NEXT TOWNHALL:  May 8, 2015 - 12:00PM - LA 35A

Topic:  USAP Report & Recommendations

December 19, 2014 - As we head into the semester break, many departments have submitted their final USAP reports ahead of the December 31st deadline.   The USAP Leadership Team will be available throughout the end of the year for questions.  Please contact Jennifer Oxtoby for assistance. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

TOWNHALL MEETING - Friday, November 21st 10-11 am (KT G46).  Topic:  Budget

SOFTWARE TRAINING (KT 205B) - Contact Joleen Downs to sign-up:  

  • Monday, November 3, 10--11 a.m.
  • Thursday, November 6, 9-10 a.m.
  • Thursday, November 6, 10--11 a.m.
  • Monday, November 10th -- 2-3p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 11th -- 11a.m. - 12p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 18th -- 12 - 1p.m.

October 15, 2014 - The task force has conducted over 50 unit meetings across campus.  We are collecting questions and comments that we will share with the campus community after we've met with each unit.  Units will use software to submit their USAP reports and can attend training on the following dates:

  • Friday, October 24, 9--10 a.m.
  • Monday, October 27, Noon--1 p.m.
  • Monday, November 3, 10--11 a.m.
  • Thursday, November 6, 10--11 a.m.

All training will be held in KT 205B.  

September 29, 2014 -  This week Unit meetings begin.  Task force members will conduct 60+ meetings over the next three weeks to present information about USAP, explain the unit report and answer questions.  

September 9, 2014 - The task force is preparing for department and unit meetings by finalizing their evaluation method and developing training materials. Co-Chairs Rachel Hile and Mandi Witkovsky have met with the Steering Committee and University Council, sharing information about USAP and their progress-to-date. Joleen Downs, USAP Secretary, is working with individual Department Heads to schedule their unit meetings to occur between September 29th – October 15th. Everyone is encouraged to participate!

August 25, 2014 – After 40 hours of “bootcamp” spread over three weeks in August, the 24 university trustees chosen as task force members have elected to operate as one unified team rather than as two distinct groups (one for academic and one for academic support).  This unanimous decision was quickly made as the team made up of 12 faculty and 12 staff members decided on the best structure for moving forward.  The team also chose co-chairs:

Rachel Hile - Associate Professor, English

Mandi Witkovsky – Manager, Security and Identify - IT Services

The task force is finalizing the report template and guiding principles and will share with the campus community soon.  Also, we are working with each department to establish a meeting schedule to discuss the USAP requirements. Task force members, along with Facilitation Team members will participate in these meetings beginning late-September and early-October.

August 6, 2014 - The task forces have begun meeting and are learning about our strategic plan, our budget, and institutional research.  Yesterday we had guests from Accounting Services, Student Information Support Services, and IR to present:

  • Budgeting process and timeline
  • Funding and income sources vs. expenses
  • Student data and information contained in Banner
  • Reporting capabilities of Banner
  • Institutional Research - where the data comes from and how it is reported
  • Department profiles that are being created and housed on the IR website

One more day of data discussions and then the teams will begin building the process and developing the criteria and metrics that will be used to determine strategic alignment.  This is an in-depth process that will take some time -- watch for details soon!  

July 23, 2014 - New questions were submitted by the campus community and responses have been posted on the Questions & Comments page.  The task forces begin meeting next week!  

July 10, 2014 - Most of the work currently underway involves planning and preparation.  The task forces just received their final workshop development schedule and will be meeting for 40 hours beginning July 29th through August 14th.  They will become familiar with IPFW's strategic plan, budget and data sources and then spend significant time developing the performance metrics we will use throughout the process.  

The Facilitation Team is creating workshop materials, developing communication plans, customizing software and preparing training for the campus community. 

The Campus Community is welcome to submit questions and comments for the team to respond to.