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Addressing Our Own Grand Challenges

By Mary Marczak, Director of Urban Family Development and Evaluation

During our regional visits this summer, I shared an update about the University's plans on addressing Grand Challenges. President Kaler issued a challenge to the University community in his 2014 State of the University address:

Poverty. Social inequality. Religious intolerance. World hunger. Climate change. Disease. These are among the most serious and intractable problems we face. They are among some of the world's Grand Challenges. ...

Students, faculty, staff, donors, community partners — no matter how different your perspective is, I believe together we will continue to move this University forward because we share a belief [in the same] principles. I believe those principles to be:

  • A limitless ambition in all we do,
  • An intolerance for complacency in our workplace or our work,
  • Academic excellence and global impact,
  • And civic responsibility to be a guiding force to meet those Grand Challenges. ...
I want this University to have a Grand Ambition and apply that against our many Grand Challenges.

The challenge for us is not to wait for someone else to name these Grand Challenges. At each regional visit, staff members described their own region's grand challenges. Similar to what President Kaler describes above, our own staff have accepted the challenge to address, find solutions for, and work towards minimizing the many issues that exist in our own state.

The next five editions of Family Matters will highlight our own regional grand challenges, and Family Development's efforts in that region. Family Matters will return to normal in January. We'll kick off this series by highlighting the Southwest Region next week.
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