U of L President James Ramsey and Interim Provost Neville Pinto gathered in the Floyd Theater this afternoon with nearly 100 university faculty and staff members for an open forum on the 21st Century University Initiative.

After Ramsey welcomed and thanked faculty and staff for their hard work, he highlighted some concepts on which he wants to be clearer. Some of these include fighting for more state funds, doing a better job of communicating internally and externally and celebrating our university.

“We have to stay focused on what we do, which is educating our students,” said Ramsey while explaining recent  university achievements.

In 2015, the average freshman ACT score was 25.5, the six-year graduation rate was at 53.6%, 2,832 baccalaureate degrees were awarded and 174 doctoral degrees were awarded.

He also discussed the loss of state funding.

“Despite losing money, we are doing everything that we can, and we are going to fight like hell for state funding,” said Ramsey.

The topic then moved to the more recent allegations or “noise” surrounding the men’s basketball team to which Ramsey said,  “We don’t know what the truth is.”

Neville Pinto then took over and presented the 21st Century University Initiative to faculty and staff.

According to the initiative, “The 21st Century University Initiative will reaffirm the University of Louisville’s focus on its students, creatively engaging in scholarship and research that will help them advance to the head of their individual fields and grow into the leaders of tomorrow.”

“Our focus is on education of students,” said Pinto, while explaining that the primary goal is for the success of students.

With an effort to empower undergraduate learning, Pinto discussed the need to improve learning and study spaces. The Ekstrom Library renovation and a new Belknap Academic Classroom Building, opening Fall 2018, are some of the new changes happening on campus.

One main concept that was brought to the attention of faculty and staff was the need to improve student retention. Pinto explained the new programs for students, to make their college transition easier. These include offering a summer bridge program and a complete advising assessment plan.

“We need to focus more on a student’s second year at U of L, since only 67% of students make it to their third year,” says Pinto.

Once the discussion was concluded, Pinto advised faculty and staff to view the entire initiative online and contact him with any further questions.