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Board of Regents' Response to the Pacific Community

Feb. 1, 2019

Dear Pacific Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni,

Since the last meeting of the Board of Regents in October, the board has sought to gain a deeper understanding of the concerns raised in the faculty's "Resolution of No Confidence in the President" that was delivered to us on November 5, 2018, and ASuop Resolution SR 18-19:04. Regents Norman Allen, Corwin Harper and I met with groups of faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors at all three campuses, and we have reported our findings from those meetings to the full board and now share them with the community. The board would like to thank the participants for their willingness to be open and candid, for their deep concern for the well-being of the university, and for their passion for the success of our students. 

One of the most important and resounding themes that emerged in our meetings is that Pacific is a community united by a common mission: our students. All of you are important to the success of Pacific, and we value the opportunity to hear your concerns as well as the significant contributions you are making. The board views these listening sessions not as a culmination of a process, but the beginning of one.

I'd like to share some of the themes that we heard in our conversations, which provide insight into where we are succeeding and where we need to work together and focus as a community:

  • Pacific pride: People are proud to be affiliated with Pacific. Many mentioned students are the reason they are here and felt a "calling" to work at Pacific. There is a common belief that our people are our greatest asset. Our alumni would like more opportunities to share their talents and skills in ways that would benefit the university.
  • Leadership and communication: The upcoming search process will focus on identifying leadership qualities that are needed for the continued success of the university.
  • Third spaces: Students desire to create more spaces, separate from classrooms or other designated areas, where they can collaborate with friends and classmates.
  • Tuition increases: More certainty of the cost to attend Pacific through graduation is needed to help allay students' and families' significant concerns about the impact of tuition increases, and to help families better plan for their education.
  • Pacific's culture: People expressed it is essential to be able to share opinions and ideas in a respectful way, without fear of retaliation or censorship, and to be able to create an environment that rewards speaking up about a problem.
  • Budget: There are opportunities to help people understand why certain budget decisions were made, to better communicate that there is accountability for overspending and whether underperforming and highly performing schools and programs were considered in budget decisions. Additionally, there was a desire to know if innovative programs and different platforms for course delivery are being explored to increase enrollment and revenue.
  • Building a unified university: More dialogue is needed with some areas in the university to further explore current operations and how best to centralize and streamline services, keeping in mind the unique differences and needs among undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and how services are best delivered.
  • Strategic plan and values initiative: There are opportunities to help people better understand the strategic plan and how it is aligned with our mission, vision and values and to examine how best to focus and prioritize our efforts and resources for the long-term.
  • Strategic Investment Fund ("SIF"): There are opportunities to better communicate the successes and challenges of the SIF, and to explore potential adjustments to programs to ensure their success.

Our goal in these conversations was to listen to better understand the perspectives of our community. Addressing these opportunities will take time, effort and improved communication. The Board of Regents is committed to holding additional meetings with various groups across the university, and then establishing a structure for interacting with faculty, staff, students and alumni. 

These recent meetings do not reflect a change in the board's role in the governance of the university. And it is not the role of the board to manage the university. The insights we are gaining will help the board set policy, oversee the budget and fiscal sustainability, and approve strategic planning initiatives.

While we undertake the process of listening, of learning, and of change, the board believes strongly that we cannot lose sight of the important efforts underway to ensure the university's long-term fiscal sustainability and to improve compensation for our employees in a way that demonstrates their value to the university. We genuinely understand that these budget efforts are difficult and will have an impact on our community. And still, we know that they are necessary for the university's future. 

Our greatest takeaway is that we must improve communication because the heart of communication is trust. Without trust, teamwork and collaboration are impossible. A starting point for trust is the belief that the other person has honorable intentions. While we may not always agree, we can disagree with respect and with tolerance for one another. Positive and constructive words and actions build trust and communication, and we must avoid actions and communication that undermine or destroy trust. These principles are part of our values. The board is committed to our values, and we ask every member of the university community to commit to them as well. Our students are at the center of our mission, and their success depends upon our ability to trust and communicate effectively. 

In the next few weeks, we will begin the process that will lead to the selection of our next president, which will help us define the qualities and skills we desire in a leader. I will be in touch with the community soon to outline our vision for the next steps and how we will engage in shared governance in this process. The board and I are confident that our community will come together and succeed in making Pacific better and stronger. Leading with purpose, together, will ensure the long-term success of our great university.


Kevin Huber '86
Chair, Board of Regents