"Michele Gillespie" Archive

Wake Forest hires SmithGroup for campus space utilization study

Wake Forest University has hired the SmithGroup to complete a campus space utilization study beginning in October and continuing through April 2022. The study will bring into focus the diverse and evolving space and facilities needs of the campus today and for the future. When completed, the study will take into account lessons learned during COVID-19, forecasted future trends for academic work and the administrative functions needed to support it. Wake Forest hopes to identify opportunities to leverage and optimize use of the University’s real estate portfolio in service to the University’s academic mission.

“Careful and thoughtful campus space planning work is critical to positioning Wake Forest for the future,” said President Susan R. Wente. “The SmithGroup is known for its in-depth approach to analyzing space utilization and truly understanding campus needs in order to identify planning priorities and projects with the greatest potential for impact. I am confident they will lead this important process effectively for us.”

Guided by a steering committee of campus academic and administrative leaders, the study will prioritize the infrastructure in which the academic and residential experience takes place. As a member of the steering committee, Dean Michele Gillespie will provide leadership and engagement with the SmithGroup to ensure faculty voices and departmental needs of the College are communicated during the process. The committee will work with the SmithGroup to identify current and future solutions for ensuring that Wake Forest is equipped to offer exceptional academic experiences across all areas of study.

The SmithGroup will deliver a detailed space utilization strategy to assist the University in responding to its unique capacity and utilization challenges and opportunities on the Reynolda campus as well as off-campus University properties. The utilization study will identify investment, innovation and opportunity areas to ensure support for the University’s educational mission and continued investment in excellent academic, residential, research and athletic facilities that support a vibrant collegiate experience. Additional goals for this project include:

  • Addressing the need for additional instructional space, academic offices and support service space on Reynolda campus;
  • developing strategies to expand existing dining venue seating and assessing the need for a new dining facility;
  • identifying potential academic and/or administrative uses for University-owned commercial properties;
  • assessing recently acquired real estate for its potential academic, administrative, student activities and recreational uses;
  • and assessing spaces currently under University lease for future use.

“The buildings and spaces where we teach, learn, work and live on this campus are a huge part of what makes Wake Forest so special,” Wente said. “We will continue to invest in all of our physical spaces – academic, residential, athletics and administrative – to ensure we are able to offer environments that inspire creativity, deep learning, thriving, success and community connection.”

More information and ongoing updates about the space utilization study will soon be available on the WFU facilities website.

Nominations sought for commencement 2020 speaker

The Office of the Provost e-mailed this announcement to students, faculty and staff on Sept. 24:

Dear Wake Forest Community,

As members of the Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee, we look forward to engaging our graduating students and other members of the university community in the selection process of our 2020 Commencement speaker. As we begin this exciting task, we look to you to provide us with speaker nominations for Commencement 2020.

Please submit your suggestions to CSAC@nullwfu.edu by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. Submissions must include:

  • Name of nominee
  • A response to the question: “Why do you think this person would be an exceptional Commencement speaker at Wake Forest University?”
  • Any contact name(s) for your nomination (if possible) and/or any connection to Wake Forest

We are especially interested in hearing from graduating students and of nominations with a Wake Forest connection. Suggestions are also gratefully welcomed from faculty and staff.

As you can imagine, people of this caliber are in high demand. While we hope to host a speaker from suggestions we receive, we cannot guarantee that our invitations will be accepted.  Your thoughts will be vital to informing our approach and to selecting a speaker.

This committee is dedicated to the transparency of this process, but please understand that the actual invitation process must remain confidential. Announcement of the Class of 2020’s commencement speaker will follow a similar timeline as in years past.

We look forward to reviewing your nominations.

Sincerely,

The Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee

Rogan Kersh, Provost and Professor of Politics and International Affairs
Kyle Adams, Class of 2021 and Student Trustee
Shannon Dubuisson, Executive Director of University Events
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College and Presidential Endowed Chair of Southern History
Eranda Jayawickreme, Associate Professor of Psychology
Mark Knudson, President of the Faculty Senate and Professor of Family Medicine
Sophie Leruth, Wake Forest Fellow in the Office of the Provost
Mellie Mesfin, Class of 2020 and President of Student Government
Julia Mroz, Class of 2020 and President of Student Union
Matt Schlosser, Wake Forest Fellow in the Office of the President
Harold Pace, Assistant Provost for Academic Administration and University Registrar
Samantha Perrotta Turner, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Provost
Mary Pugel, Chief of Staff, Office of the President
Christina Soriano, Associate Provost for the Arts and Interdisciplinary Initiatives and Associate Professor of Dance

Response to malicious emails

The following message was emailed to students, faculty and staff on September 19, 2019

Last week, an unknown individual or individuals with malicious intent sought to spread a message of bigotry, division and fear among members of our campus community through emails sent to seven members of our faculty and staff and five offices on campus. Our faculty and staff have worked to protect everyone on our campus while striving to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

We hear the questions posed by some of our students: can you see us, can you hear us, do you understand our lived experiences? Yes, we see you. Yes, we hear you. And, no, we cannot fully understand what some of you are enduring.

The emails, steeped in the vitriol of white supremacy and nationalism, were sent to individual and office inboxes associated with the Department of Sociology, the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ+ Center, and the Intercultural Center. These emails have hurt, scared, threatened, angered, and confused many on our campus in different ways. This cuts at the core of who we are at Wake Forest and impacts us all.

While none of the emails contained actionable threats or detailed a specific attack on our campus, they still managed to elicit the fear the sender intended. Wake Forest consulted with law enforcement and national threat assessment experts — including the FBI’s leading experts on domestic terrorism, white nationalism, and hate crimes — before deciding to continue classes and normal University operations. The increased police presence on campus and enhanced security measures will continue while the investigation proceeds.

Our decision to continue classes does not diminish the real emotions and concern some in our community still feel. We pledge to stand by all our students, staff and faculty when they experience hate and discrimination of any kind. We will revise protocols where necessary and improve on the processes that we know are effective. We must remember who we are as a caring and supportive community and move forward in the spirit of those values.

There are many sources of support for those of you who are affected by these hateful emails. The University Counseling Center (336-758-5273), the Chaplain’s Office (336-758-5210) and the Employee Assistance Program (336-716-5493) are invaluable resources, as are our friendships and circles of personal support. Please continue to look out for each other.

Sincerely,

Nathan Hatch, President
Rogan Kersh, Provost
Jane Aiken, Dean of the School of Law
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College
Charles Iacovou, Dean of the School of Business
Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life
José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Jonathan Walton, Dean of the School of Divinity

Faculty Drive neighborhood remains an integral part of the Wake Forest community

This is a guest post from Alex Abrams, communications coordinator in the Office of the Dean of the College:

A large historical marker stands at the corner of Faculty Drive and Timberlake Lane, just across the street from where Wake Forest University’s Department of Biology is housed inside Winston Hall.

The words “Welcome To Historic Wake Forest Neighborhood – Est. 1956” are etched into the metal historical marker, which has been painted old gold and black like other signs posted around campus.

Just past the marker, one- and two-story houses line the five quiet streets that make up the neighborhood. The houses range in style, with some exteriors made of brick and others covered with wood. Large trees in each yard provide both shade on a hot afternoon and a limb for the occasional tree swing.

Martha Allman, WFU’s Dean of Admissions, got a sense of the neighborhood during her four years living on campus as an undergraduate student. Her freshman advisor had a house on Royall Drive and hosted a dinner for students during Orientation.

“I had this very idealized feeling about that neighborhood and how wonderful it would be to live there,” Allman said.

In 2001, Allman and her husband moved their two young daughters into a yellow house on Faculty Drive. Their neighbors include a “Who’s Who” list of WFU administrators, professors, and staff members who also enjoy living on campus, walking to work, and hosting students in their homes.

The Historic Wake Forest Neighborhood was started the same year WFU moved its campus to Winston-Salem as a place for faculty who had relocated to live. It has since grown into a tight-knit community where dozens of university employees have raised their children just down the street from Wait Chapel for more than 50 years.

“Over here faculty members are our next-door neighbors, and the fact that one faculty member was a historian, another one was a psychologist, another one was a physicist, that’s tremendously important,” said Ed Wilson, the longtime English professor and Provost who is affectionately known as Mr. Wake Forest.

“And of course it made our children grow up with the idea that it was important to go to college, and if they could, it was important to do well.”

Wilson still lives in the same four-bedroom house that he and his wife, Emily, built on Timberlake Lane in 1964. He raised his three children there. He can still remember the different routes he used to walk every day to reach his favorite spots on campus, including his office in Tribble Hall.

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Categories: Inside WFU

Dean Gillespie to speak at Oct. 19 Staff Advisory Council meeting

Dean of the College Michele Gillespie will speak at the Oct. 19 meeting of the Staff Advisory Council.

All staff are invited to the meeting, which will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

The meetings and events schedule for the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) can be found on its website.

The SAC may be contacted at sac@nullwfu.edu.

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