Edington Lays Out His Vision for ‘One UDC’ in Town Hall Presentation

Edington Lays Out His Vision for ‘One UDC’ in Town Hall Presentation

Edington Lays Out His Vision for ‘One UDC’ in Town Hall Presentation

President Edington at Town Hall

President Edington lays out his vision for the University to members of the UDC community at his first town hall.

President Edington presented his vision for UDC at a town hall for faculty, staff and other University community members. With an eye squarely on the future, Edington introduced his approach to leadership, his top priorities as President and the steps he will take in his first 90 days in office.

In the months before Edington took office on August 1, he says he devoted considerable time to the transition. He met with internal and external stakeholders, researched various University programs and reviewed some of UDC’s units using a SWOT analysis—a method for evaluating a program’s efficacy based on perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Through that process, he says he observed “great pride” in the University.

“It was a magnet that attracted me during the interview process,” Edington said. “It became obvious from the moment I first interacted with the search committee to coming on campus. I said, ‘Wow, the individuals that I’m interacting with [who] are connected to this University love this University.’”

The new President describes his leadership style as collaborative, compassionate and transformational when it comes to effecting change.

“The way I think is about the future,” Edington said. “Where are we taking this institution? That’s what drives me.”

Edington is also analytical and results-oriented. With a background in science, he says he relies heavily on data in decision-making.

“I appreciate opinions. They’re important, but opinions don’t move the needle on the things that matter most,” Edington said.

Edington will approach the presidency through three lenses or themes.

The first is performance outcomes. By identifying and tracking key performance indicators, the University can lift its rankings and reputation. The second is growth and prosperity. The President intends to “expand the UDC footprint” by boosting the University’s “financial, human, operational and physical capacity.

President Edington’s third lens is outreach, engagement and partnerships. By enhancing external advocacy through relationship-building, the University can “broaden UDC’s impact.”

Edington also envisions an institution that offers high-quality academic programs, an exceptional student experience and is a known leader for student success and innovation.

We want to demonstrate that we know how to bring students in, [graduate] at a high rate with the credential that they want, and that we are the pathway to a successful career,” he said.

To that end, the President wants the University to be considered a “first-choice institution” for students and families.

“When people make their college decisions for their parents and their kids, I want it to be hard for them not to choose UDC,” Edington said.

Edington will also make community outreach a focus. Just after his presidency was announced to the public, he received an email from a community member welcoming him.

“That was powerful,” Edington said. “We do a lot in the community now. I want to broaden that and do more. I want us to figure out how to continue building on what we’re doing to be a good community partner, and meet the community’s needs across the whole city.”

Edington said the University should have “a presence in every ward” and that UDC should meet each ward’s needs.

In his first 90 days in office, Edington’s priorities include continuing his ongoing listening tour with internal and external stakeholders, finalizing the University’s strategic plan and enhancing the University’s marketing and communications strategy.

“[We want to tell] a story about what good things we’re doing while we’re working on doing more good things,” he said.

A key component of the President’s vision is the idea of One UDC, that this single institution provides many pathways to success.

“At every level, you can get on the train,” Edington said. “We have to do a better job of telling everybody that there’s a stop in their town. Ask them why are they calling Uber, getting a car or looking for the bus routes? We’re coming right to your house.”

In Edington’s slideshow presentation, “One UDC” appears on a sphere hoisted by three people, representing the parties comprising the UDC community, from students to faculty to the Board of Trustees to the DC Council.

“Any way you can think of it, we are all on the same page,” Edington said. “One UDC—one institution for the District. We are all together.”