Update — June 5, 2018

Catholic University Board of Trustees:
“Great Confidence” in Leadership of Catholic University

The Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America, today expressed confidence in the leadership of President John Garvey and Provost Andrew Abela, and issued the following statement:

Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees renewed the appointment of John Garvey as President of Catholic University. President Garvey initially assumed office in 2010. With his leadership, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, Catholic University continues to flourish as a preeminent Catholic research university, with a renewed commitment to mission, academic excellence, campus investment, and fiscal responsibility.

Since 2014 outside contributions to Catholic University have more than doubled to $64 million, the University is recruiting more widely and imaginatively, and the campus is being transformed through renovations and new construction. We are seeing the impact of these efforts, with undergraduate enrollment up this year and ahead of the goal for next year, and student retention rates higher than they have been in more than two decades.

We need to continue to grow to attract the best students and scholars and to serve our mission. This means focusing on every area of University life, including academics, enrollment, facilities, outside support, and administration, to ensure that Catholic University continues to offer a high-quality education that is financially sustainable.

The Academic Renewal initiative grew out of guidance from the Trustees. The University leadership responded to our charge by consulting widely and carefully, and collaboratively developing an innovative approach that considers mission, academic need, existing standards, and data. This proposal is vital for a strong Catholic University and the Trustees have encouraged, overseen, and endorsed this project every step of the way.

Academic Renewal is notable in that it will maintain current programs while adding initiatives that will strengthen the University’s distinctive academic program. Key facets of Renewal reflect the transparency, imagination, commitment, and careful planning that we have come to expect of President Garvey and Provost Abela. We expect that they will apply that same vision, rigor, and leadership to carrying out the Academic Renewal initiatives and making the University yet stronger.

At the same time, the University leadership confirmed its commitment to review regularly the ongoing implementation of the Academic Renewal initiative and to continue the conversation with all sectors of the University community as we move into the future.

Joseph L. Carlini, Chairman of the Board of Trustees said that the Board has great confidence in President John Garvey, and “looks forward to our continued collaboration with President Garvey. Academic Renewal is about growth and investing in our future.”


Update — May 9, 2018

Proposal for Academic Renewal

As Approved by the Academic Senate on May 9, 2018 for submission to the Board of Trustees

The Catholic University of America has a 130-year history of excellence in teaching and research, in service to Church and Nation. Concerns about the number of high school graduates have contributed to an environment of increased competition in Higher Education; the University experienced an especially small incoming class in the fall of 2016 that decreased incoming tuition and put a strain on the budget. In order to take charge of our future in these conditions we need to strengthen both our academic excellence and our financial sustainability.

To reconcile these two vitally important goals of academic excellence and financial sustainability, we are proposing a plan for Academic Renewal that will reinforce our reputation as a comprehensive Catholic Research University with a global reach by highlighting the benefits to our students of being taught by active scholars. The specific objectives of the program are to enhance the University’s research reputation, support sustainable teaching excellence, and enable significant revenue improvements, all while respecting and upholding the governing documents of the University. The project will include the following initiatives:

  • Improved support for faculty and student research.
  • Increased investment and support for teaching development and especially through the creation of a Center for Teaching Excellence.
  • A new School of Music, Drama, and Art that will bring together all on-campus arts faculty to foster cross-disciplinary efforts in and anchor the University’s commitment to the Arts.
  • Reinforcement of the benefits of undergraduate education being delivered by active, world-class researchers, scholars and practitioners.
  • A plan to hire new faculty over the next three years to support areas of growth in our academic programs.
  • Plans to continue developing new programs in areas of high interest to current and prospective students, and a commitment to maintain all current programs, courses and sections, and low student-to-teacher ratios.
  • Renovations of Mullen Library, science laboratories, classrooms, and studio, performance and rehearsal spaces funded through philanthropic giving and capital improvement projects.
  • The reestablishment of the Department of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences.
  • As well as several other initiatives in support of the project’s objectives.

The Academic Renewal project will adjust teaching loads, without exceeding current norms enshrined in the Faculty Handbook. This will enable students over time to have more of their courses taught by faculty who are leaders in their research fields, and will also reduce teaching costs and hence strengthen financial sustainability. The implementation of the Faculty Handbook 3:3 teaching load and the equivalencies recommended by the Unit Standards Committee and approved by the deans will result in fewer faculty in certain academic units.

This Academic Renewal proposal is being submitted to the Academic Senate of the University and its relevant subcommittees, for extensive deliberation and broad consultation with the campus community over the months of March, April, and May. The Board of Trustees will consider the proposal at its June meeting.



The Academic Renewal proposal took into consideration data on enrollment trends and projections, budgets, and faculty course loads. These appendices to the full report include a number of these data items.

Update — May 1, 2018

Read President Garvey's Remarks at Faculty Luncheon


Update — April 20, 2018

The University’s Academic Senate has deliberated on the Proposal for Academic Renewal at three of its sessions: March 15, April 12, and April 18. During the two April sessions the Senate voted on a series of resolutions and amendments related to the proposal, including ones submitted by three of its own committees – Academic Policy, Budget and Planning, and Faculty Economic Welfare – as well the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Association.

Results of Senate Deliberations

The Senate adopted a resolution to refer the Proposal on Academic Renewal, with amendments, to the Senate Ad Hoc Committee, which was elected in February.

It also incorporated a number of amendments to the proposal, including:

  • The Department of Media and Communication Studies will remain in the School of Arts and Sciences
  • The proposed new school for the arts will be named the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama and Art, or the Rome School of Music, Drama and Art
  • Mentorship initiatives and other support for graduate students will be included.

Next Steps

The Academic Senate’s charge to the Ad Hoc Committee is to consult widely with students, faculty, and staff who will be affected by Academic Renewal and to submit a report to the Senate by May 2. To that end, the Ad Hoc Committee is holding three Town Hall meetings with the University community during the week of April 23. The Academic Senate’s final vote on the proposal is scheduled for May 9.

Consultation is an important part of the Academic Renewal process. The university is grateful to the groups that have submitted proposals and encourages campus-wide participation in the consultation opportunities offered by the Academic Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Renewal.