Last year, I reviewed the six goals of our strategic plan in order to explain how we were accomplishing those goals. At that time, I talked about one goal at a time, and addressed their multiple components. For this talk, I have simply summarized:
Goal one was all about identity.
We want to be fully coeducational, as we already are in our Schools of Graduate and Professional Studies. With next year’s entering class in the Undergraduate College, we will have achieved that goal in all three schools. And at this point, I think we are well enough along that we can acknowledge that our transition to coeducation was remarkably – amazingly – smooth, thanks to all the preparation we did, as well how we seemed to have immediately gotten, and maintained, a healthy percentage of men in each class—this fall’s entering class was 37 percent male – that soon will mirror the national average for liberal arts colleges across the nation (39 percent).
We want to be content with our Catholic identity and enthusiastic about sharing it, even as we continue to follow a “model of engagement” as we welcome others of all other faiths, while focusing on likenesses rather than differences.
We want to continue our absolute commitment to our multiculturalism, and celebrate that we continue to be a model for other colleges even while striving to be better on our own campus. And when we say “multiculturalism” remember – we do not mean numbers; we mean relationships. It is our sharing with one another, our easy relationships regardless of our differences that will make the difference for all of us.
Goal two was all about our curriculum, our academic enterprise, and teaching and learning at Rosemont.
We are now setting up an assessment plan for the new General Education Plan that will assure that what we want in that plan – for all of our undergraduates – will be accomplished. We went through our General Education requirement to make sure that when our students graduate, they are fully prepared with skills, with ideas, and with the ability to problem solve and think critically – about everything – that they will be great citizens, employed citizens, and do well not only for themselves but in service to others. Realizing that current students won’t probably retire until 2060, and have multiple careers, not just jobs, this is an all-important responsibility and Rosemont intends to take this responsibility seriously, and accomplish it with excellence.
We completed last year program reviews for almost all of our undergraduate majors. Our Provost Dr. Chris Dougherty has put together an Academic Council with our new deans, and they are working on assessing current programs and majors with the purpose of attaining the best possible quality for all of our academic programs and working with faculty to establish new programs for our future.
We must remain committed to the fact that we are a liberal arts college: we embrace the liberal arts model, which means that we have the broad picture: we train students to be strategic thinkers, who have a background of knowledge across the board – which means that they can do a variety of jobs, a variety of careers, for the rest of their lives.
The most exciting aspect of our curriculum that happened last year was our launching of the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility! Please visit the Institute, now located in the very entrance of Good Counsel, and check in with our new Director, Dr. Alan Preti.
This is critical: a 2010 survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities of employers who were asked what colleges should “place more emphasis on” revealed that in the area of personal and social responsibility, employers did not choose “civic knowledge and engagement;” they did not choose “intercultural knowledge” (global issues); they did not choose “intercultural competence” (teamwork). Instead the top area in the category of personal and social responsibility that 75 percent of employers said was imperative was “ethical decision making.”
Our plans are to have the Institute as an umbrella center that will coordinate ethics study throughout the curriculum and build not only a course of study – a certificate, a minor, a major – but also build our reputation for ethics.
This is a save the date: April 20 will be the date for the Institute’s first annual conference, right here in McShain. We have a stellar line up of speakers for the conference:
John C. Bogle, founder of Vanguard.
Joanne B. Ciulla, Coston Family Chair in Leadership and Ethics, University of Richmond
Ronald Duska, President, Duska Business Ethics Consulting
William J. Byron, S.J., Professor, Business and Society, St. Joseph's University
Goal three is all about an engaged campus with increased student activity and student-centered learning.
Let’s take this opportunity to cheer our student life folks for the past year of more activities, more fun activities, more service activities, more learning activities, and more choices of activities. And without going over our athletics record for the last two semesters, let’s show our appreciation for all those student athletes, their coaches, and our athletics administrators who are introducing yet two more new teams this year – women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse – and who took the men’s soccer team to playoffs, and who saw the men’s golf team last fall finish second out of eight teams, and then second out of fourteen teams in their first time competition. On October 1 – our family weekend – we had a milestone. We had four home games that day and every home game was a winner for the Ravens. We are on our way for the spring season!
Goal four is all about communications and marketing.
I am very happy to report that our new website has had tremendous results: let me read some comparisons: this is exciting! This was over a thirteen month period beginning two months before our new website was launched and nine months following the launch. Our visits went from 122,150 to 416,121. Our page views went from 1,460,605 to 2, 996,709.
Goal five is to develop an institutional culture and organization that is flexible, collaborative, and competitive.
If you remember, at my State of the College address last year, this was the goal that I considered most accomplished at that time. We ARE flexible, we ARE collaborative (we are collegial, not competitive, just as Middle States observed. We have made so many changes, and so many upgrades, and we have all stuck in there together – this goal is our forte!
Goal six is about finances, tied into our strategic investment into our infrastructure. For this, I believe we will be some kind of sweet spot over the next few years!
As I stated earlier, our finances are clearly tied to our enrollment. This simply must grow – and we know that this is especially difficult because we have raised our academic criteria. We filled out an inquiry for a foundation recently that asked, “What is your greatest challenge in the past few and future years?” This was our response: our greatest challenge, which we have embraced – is that we are going to increase numbers of students while raising the level of selectivity – at the same time.
We are doing this. Our honors program is flourishing, our student academic profiles continue to go up, and our enrollment for undergraduates is poised to grow each year.
But it is our plans to grow the infrastructure – especially as it will promote recruitment and retention – that have enormous potential.
I am happy to remind you that we are in the process of acquiring a new property – the large Victorian house (it is enormous, over 7,000 square feet of living space), immediately contiguous to the campus on Wendover Avenue, a property known as “Gracemere” – this year. I must thank here the Connelly Foundation, which has given us a generous $300,000 gift towards this project. We have plans to renovate the house in order to make it into an Honors House for junior and senior honors students. And we will use the lower floor reception area for small lectures and activities – Campus Ministry has already christened this with their great fish fry to raise money for our next service trip. When completed, it will link with the main campus by way of our fields.
And speaking of the fields, I am also pleased to announce that we now have plans to implement in summer 2013 phase one of an all new athletics complex. Phase one will convert the current grass field to artificial turf. This will make it possible to sustain the fields over the years of having four teams (rather than two) playing full seasons. We will also be re-doing our softball field. Something to look forward to for the annual Faculty-Administration-Staff Team combating the students for our annual game for Founders’ Day!
Finally, we are now planning to also do phase one of our renovation of Cardinal Hall, with the building of a “Campus Commons “ – a Community Center that will be THE building on campus to which all of us will naturally gravitate – a center including the bookstore, convenience store, dining eatery plus additional multipurpose spaces. Also, we will move in the offices for the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility, student services and activities, and the fitness center will find a new home on the very top floor of the new Community Center. We will be doing the conversion and upgrade of Cardinal Hall’s first floor – especially the dining facilities – probably also in the summer of 2013.
How are we able to do this? I am very pleased to announce that our campaign – Reflect | Renew | Rejoice: The Campaign for Rosemont College – has been making great progress. Last year I was announced that we had – toward a goal of $40 million – already raised $11 million gifts and pledges. Right now our total is nearly $19 million. I am most pleased to announce that in mid-December we received a historic gift to the campaign of $5 million – an anonymous gift from a single alumna. She has agreed that we will use this very generous gift to fund the first phases of these two capital projects that are very important both to our current students and to our prospective students.
So – as we move into 2012, please realize that the next 18 months are going to be very busy, lots of action, and extremely exciting! Please join us in pushing our goals and our strategic plan forward in a most exciting way! Remember that we ARE Admissions, that we ARE here to help one another, and that we ARE Rosemont.