As we begin a new academic year, it’s refreshing to look at the positive signs that our revitalization has traction. Here are just a few:
- Our alumni and friends contributed more than $25 million last year, a 25 percent increase in giving over the previous year; this is a sign of confidence in the university’s future.
- Our incoming new freshman class is strong based on test scores and high school grade point averages. We’ll have more detail when we have official enrollment data in a couple of weeks.
- Participation in our July open house for students considering enrollment in fall 2019 increased by 17 percent over last year; this follows the year-to-year growth we saw in our spring open house numbers.
- Proposals on new schools are moving forward through the review process, thanks to the hard work and engagement of our faculty.
- We have expanded the REACH program with private support, providing more opportunities to engage students in research and creative activities, a key part of our mission.
- The provost’s office has committed to the strategic hiring of about 25 new faculty members after several years of cutting faculty positions due to budget constraints.
- We have renovated the pavilion thanks to a donor and added a bicycle lane through campus – just a few of many initiatives reinforcing our reputation for being a green university with a beautiful campus.
- The Diversity Council has developed a plan, to be rolled out shortly, to support our commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence.
- We have streamlined the application and admissions process and revamped recruitment strategies and materials to benefit future enrollment.
This is just a small sampling of what we’re doing, with much more in the works.
More to come
Our revitalization is a long-term effort. We know it won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen with continued diligence.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that will lead to additional progress – from additional recruitment strategies to completely revamped marketing materials to new student engagement initiatives, including e-sports and a makerspace designated for the Student Center.
People across campus are working hard, and people off campus are cheering us on and lending support. There will be times when we may get discouraged, but positive signals like those mentioned here, as well as those to come, should reinvigorate us and keep us focused.
Let’s look forward with optimism. Let’s keep going.