President’s Leadership Retreat Focuses On Safety, Security and the Future

Wednesday, September 19 2012

President Duane Nellis kicked off this year’s leadership series with a retreat for university leadership that focused on making a safe campus safer and developing plans to meet the coming year’s goals.

The leadership group includes nearly 130 individuals from the director or chair level up to the vice presidents. The group normally meets several times each semester to deal with important issues affecting the university community.

“It’s essential that we work together to care for our community and to meet our goals,” said Nellis. “The goal of these meetings is for our leaders to be aware of the hot issues and to be better able to work together.”
The morning session included four sessions:

- “Employees’ Safety At Work” was led by Carmen Suarez, director of Human Rights, Access and Inclusion, and Greg Walters, the new executive director for Human Resources.

- “Student Safety Issues” were discussed by Bruce Pitman, vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students, and members of the Student Affairs team.

- Dan Ewart, executive director of Information and Technology Services and chief information officer discussed “Cybersecurity Considerations.”

- Matt Dorschel, the executive director of the recently merged Office of Emergency Management and Security Services, was joined by Risk Management, Safety and Security, and environmental security leaders to discuss “Public Safety and Security” for the university community.

A common theme across sessions was the need to remember that every employee is an agent of the university and their actions matter. As Carmen Suarez said, “As agents we can’t afford to ignore problems, we need to act and use the resources available to us to achieve positive results.”

“We have a no tolerance policy towards threatening behavior, and we’ve strengthened our ability to respond this year in the wake of last year’s tragedy,” said Nellis. “Everyone should feel secure when they come to work or to class. You need to know how to work through these issues, where you can get help and how you can best address challenges when they arrive.”

The afternoon session focused on goal setting and achievement. The president discussed the need to meet goals established in the new strategic plan, in accreditation and in the annual goals approved by the Board of Regents. These include a number of issues including

- stabilizing the budget,

- achieving Vision 2020 goals (16,000 students and $150 million in research expenditures by 2020),

- collaborating with other institutions,

- expanding the seats available in the WWAMI medical education program,

- work with K-12 to improve college-going rates,

- promoting transformational learning, developing an implementation plan for a three-year law program in Boise,

- developing partnerships and support for instruction, research and outreach;

- engaging with constituent audiences, and

- promoting summer utilization, student priority programs, and distance learning,

In addition to the president, other senior leaders discussed goals accomplished to date and plans for the goal achievement across the year. These speakers included the following leaders.

- Doug Baker, provost and executive vice president

- Jack McIver, vice president for Research and Economic Development

- Chris Murray, vice president for University Advancement

- Cami McClure, administrative and business affairs officer (for Ron Smith, vice president for Finance and Administration)

- Keith Ickes, executive director of Planning and Budget

- Rob Spear, athletic director

- Carmen Suarez, director, Human Rights, Access and Inclusion

For more information about this program, contact Teresa Dillon at or (208) 885-6365.