A Message From President Helble

An update sent to members of the Lehigh community about the strategic planning process and introducing Christine "Chris" Cook.

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community,

With the spring semester now fully underway, I am writing to share updates on preparations for our strategic planning process—which will formally launch by this summer to occur during the following academic year—and to introduce you to a new member of the Lehigh community.

Since I began my tenure as president last August, I have been meeting with as many groups and individuals across the university as I can, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, in formal and informal settings, to hear their feedback and thoughts on the future of Lehigh. These conversations have been informative and enlightening and have affirmed for me the sense of pride our Lehigh community shares for our great university, as well as the collective desire to continue to improve, strive, grow and evolve.

Lehigh’s last comprehensive strategic plan was completed in 2009 and articulated priorities that included the establishment of broad research goals, making investments in faculty, staff, and the student experience, and expanding our partnership with the local community. Our strategic planning process this year will provide an opportunity to re-examine those goals, assess our progress against them, and chart Lehigh’s path for the coming decade, setting priorities for our educational and research mission and our commitment to supporting a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community.

Provost Nathan Urban will be leading the strategic planning process, working closely with the strategic planning team.

Christine “Chris” Cook has joined Lehigh as Vice President of Strategic Planning and Initiatives, a role that will report to me and will work with the provost and the strategic planning team to direct all aspects of the strategic planning process, including facilitating input and engagement from across the university and reviewing the progress we have made since the last strategic plan. Chris served in a variety of leadership roles over her 23-year career at the University of Delaware before serving first as the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, and subsequently as the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Resource Planning at Dartmouth College. Chris brings a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience to this effort, and I hope you will join me in providing her with a warm welcome to Lehigh.

I also am pleased to share that Patricia Mann in the Office of the Provost is transitioning from her current role into the role of Director of Administration on the strategic planning team, where she will work alongside Chris to facilitate key strategic planning efforts. Pat participated in Lehigh’s strategic planning process in 2008-2009; her work and knowledge built over the past 13 years in the provost’s office, as well as her collaborative relationships with university leaders, academic deans, faculty and staff, will be a tremendous asset and contribute to ensuring a cross-functional process that builds on and connects the important work being undertaken and planned across the university.

More information will follow as preparations begin in the coming months. I am excited for our future, and the value and importance of our community to this collective work cannot be understated.

Joseph J. Helble ’82


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