Members of three task forces were named in an email from President Ron Liebowitz on Monday which urged members of the Brandeis community to “participate in charting our future” and addressed calls for improving accessibility on campus.
The three task forces—the Task Force on the Student Living/Learning Experience, the Task Force on Supporting Research, Creativity and Collaborative Innovation and the Task Force on Honoring Our Founding Values—are part of Liebowitz’s “Framework for Our Future,” a plan for revitalizing Brandeis University with input from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Liebowitz first announced the framework in a speech on Oct. 29, 2018.
Community members can submit thoughts and ideas to the task forces on the Framework section of the Brandeis website, according to Liebowitz’s email. They may also provide feedback through open meetings, which will be hosted by task forces in coming months.
A fourth task force that will consider issues having to do with campus infrastructure will be created later this spring, Liebowitz stated in his email.
Preceding the creation of this fourth task force, each of the other three task forces will “consider questions of accessibility” in their respective topics, according to Liebowitz’s email.
In considering the issue of accessibility, task forces will be informed by last week’s Accessibility Forum, Liebowitz stated in his email. The forum “highlighted important steps Brandeis must take to make our campus a supportive and inclusive place for all community members,” the email said. Future forums aiming to develop specific recommendations on topics of accessibility will be planned in upcoming months, according to Liebowitz.
Liebowitz will chair the Task Force on Honoring Our Founding Values along with vice-chairs Jon Levisohn, a professor of Jewish Educational Thought, and Chad Williams, a professor of African and African American Studies and History.
Two working groups—one on Jewish Scholarship, Leadership and Service and one on Equal Opportunity, Social Impact and Community Engagement—will fall under the task force chaired by Liebowitz. Administrators such as Dean of Students Jamele Adams and Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas will sit on these task forces along with professors from multiple fields, according to a full list of task force members on the Brandeis website.
The Task Force on Student Living/Learning Experience at Brandeis will be chaired by Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Kim Godsoe and Professor Sara Shostak (SOC, HSSP). This task force, comprised of five working groups, is the only task force named by Liebowitz which will contain students.
The working groups on Residential Life, Undergraduate Academic Advising and Community Engagement each contain two undergraduate students as well as a selection of faculty and administrators.
Alongside faculty and administrators, the working groups on Graduate Academic Advising and Graduate Student Life contain one and two graduate students, respectively.
The task force on student living and learning has begun “exploring the advantages and disadvantages of a residential house system and how this system might be complemented by a decentralized advising model,” according to Liebowitz’s email.
The third task force, Task Force on Supporting Research, Creativity and Collaborative Innovation, is chaired by Constance Horgan, Professor and Director of Institute for Behavioral Health, and Sacha Nelson, a professor of Life Science. According to Liebowitz’s email, this task force is meeting with groups involved in research across the university.
The Brandeis website contains pages dedicated to each of the task forces and to the Framework as a whole. These pages contain samples of questions to be considered by each task force as well as a list of members assigned to each task force and working group.