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September 1, 1994



(Publisher's note: With this issue, we are beginning a new feature: The Chancellor's Column. It will provide the chancellor with a regular opportunity to share information and his views on issues of concern to the University community.)

Each September, I look forward to the beginning of a new school year and the excitement this generates on campus. For those new faculty and staff who have recently joined the University community, I welcome you to the campus and invite you to become active participants in the life and traditions of the University of Pittsburgh. I want to share with you some developments underway, as well as some of my thoughts about our community. Over the past summer, several new construction and renovation projects on the Oakland and regional campuses to upgrade and expand our facilities have been completed, and several others will commence this year, including Phase Two of the Oakland campus security lighting project, classroom renovations, a new Living and Learning Center on the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown campus and very important — entrance accessibility for the disabled to 13 Oakland campus buildings. Each of these will enhance our ability to better serve our students and faculty.

A University is, however, much more than its buildings — as important as they are to the conduct of teaching and research. We are challenged at this University to continue improving the quality of life and the working environment so that our students, staff, and faculty will feel even more positive about this institution and its future as one of this nation's premier academies. I would like to see this University become more fully appreciated as a leading undergraduate teaching institution, and one that produces graduates who do not merely compare favorably with other institutions, but who are superior in their capacity to perform in the work world, or in their preparation for further graduate study. By achieving such recognition, this University can not only position itself to attract the most talented students across the entire socioeconomic and ethnic spectrum of our society, but also add immeasurably to the quality of this nation's and, indeed, the world's future leadership. To move on this aspect of our shared vision, we must now begin to create an environment where — borrowing from The University of Pittsburgh: 1993 and Beyond — "undergraduate students can do their best work, realize their ambitious dreams…encourage an atmosphere of discovery, support gifted and caring teachers, and provide the tools that students need for independent thinking." Drawing upon the most creative talents we can muster, achieving excellence in undergraduate education can be accomplished without undermining the quality of our preeminent research activities or graduate and professional education.

Finally, with the recent events and publicity associated with issues of research integrity at this University ever so prominent, it is critical that we — together — begin this academic year to undertake a process for building a sense of collective ownership of how this institution can minimize serious breaches of ethical conduct in all arenas in order to prevent any further tarnishing of the image of this valued institution. This means that collectively we must affirm our resolute commitment to the principles of integrity and honesty in all our endeavors as the immutable foundation of this University. As a large and prominent research institution, and drawing upon our experiences, we have an opportunity to create a model for the conduct of ethical behavior in a University environment.

If we can seize this moment and move with all deliberate speed on these ideas, this academic year can become one of the most exciting in the history of this University.

J. Dennis O'Connor Chancellor

Filed under: Feature,Volume 27 Issue 1

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