PRESIDENTIAL COLUMN

Presidential Column
Looking Ahead


The rapid growth that the University has experienced in the past four-five years is coming to an end. The governmentís policy for the next few years is to shift resources for the development of a second tier of institutions of higher education--the regional colleges--while keeping the existing universities at their current size level. The budget framework for the University in the next four-five years reflects this policy.

We now have to concentrate our efforts in several key areas. One is in digesting the phenomenal growth of the last half decade. Another is in restructuring the administrative organization of the University to match and contend with the existing and future size of our institution. We must place stress on introducing constant improvements in the level of services to students and to scholars, this necessitated by our own moral commitment as well as by the growing competition that has now been produced among institutions of higher education in Israel. In all these areas mentioned above, we must strive for excellence.

Yet another task that is high on the priority of the University is the strengthening of our academic programs, particularly the graduate programs. Under the leadership of the Rector, Prof. Mordechai Shechter, new Masterís and Ph.D. courses of study are being carefully designed. Some are already awaiting the approval of the Council for Higher Education.

The new programs and the new emphases are not without their financial cost. To this end, we have begun to implement a fundraising program, backed by a new fundraising effort and apparatus and implemented by a newly created post of vice president for resource development.

The multiple tasks immediately ahead of us should not obstruct the need to define our goals and objectives for the future. With that purpose in mind, we have initiated a strategic planning process that will lead us and guide our daily decision making toward the beginning of the 21st Century. I am aware that strategic planning is more common among business ventures. Indeed, you would find but few public organizations, let alone public universities, that are engaged in such a process.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that it is absolutely necessary for us to define where we would like to be five or ten years hence--where in our academic directions, where in our administrative structure, where in our financial organization (including our fundraising campaign), where in the physical setting of our Carmel campus.

No less important is the need to evaluate certain exogenous factors--the impact of geopolitical changes in our region, the advances of technology in general and communications in particular, and the matter of the needs of the community in which we are located and the effect of these needs, indeed of all these factors, on the future of the University.
Taking care of the immediate concerns of the University is our job. Looking ahead to the future is our obligation.

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