Our recent commencement ceremonies at Lyman Center and Webster Bank Arena were wonderful celebrations of student accomplishment and a job well done by all members of our campus community. At our undergraduate ceremony, students witnessed an exceptional role model in the form of honorary doctoral recipient and critically acclaimed author John Searles ’91, who has credited much of his success to the mentoring he received from Southern faculty. And our students were inspired by the poignant words and life lessons shared by Heather Abbott, an amputee and survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, who delivered the commencement address. For a retrospective look at our ceremonies, in words, video and pictures, visit: http://go.southernct.edu/scsu2015/
Now we enter the summer months, preparing our budget, finalizing our enrollment numbers, fine-tuning our strategic and master plans and also engaging in a range of activities that will carry the institution forward on a number of fronts. New Student Orientation for both first-year and transfer students is soon to begin, and we also need to think about our individual opportunities to connect with current students throughout the summer to ensure strong retention in the fall. One good way to do that is through our Week of Welcome Activities (more details on that at the end of this blog).
I also hope that you take the opportunity for some much needed rest and relaxation during the coming weeks. This has been a busy year and the forthcoming one already promises challenge and opportunity in equal measure. I thank you for your accomplishments, your innovative ideas and your commitment to the academic and personal success of our students.
There was excellent news from the state Capitol in recent days when the legislature’s Higher Education Committee and the General Assembly both unanimously approved a statute change that – pending Governor Malloy’s signature – will allow Southern and our sister CSU institutions the ability to offer professional doctoral degrees. Accomplished after extensive conversation and engagement at the Capitol, this move will further enhance Southern’s ability to meet the developing needs of the 21st-century workforce.
As you know, we now offer doctoral degrees in educational leadership and nursing education, but due to changes in the educational requirements for employment in numerous other professions and scientific fields, expanding into offering additional advanced degrees is a practical necessity.
A number of professions, including social work (DSW), marriage and family therapy (DMFT), speech and language pathology (SLPD), and public health (DPH), have developed professional doctorates for those wishing to assume senior practitioner and clinical administrator roles within organizations. Other fields have also recognized the need for professionally trained scientists, or scientist administrators, with advanced skills in both a scientific specialization and the business arena, creating a demand for the Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in many disciplines.
All of these degrees reflect the understanding within these professions that the level of knowledge required to be effective at senior clinician, senior scientist, administrator and management levels is advancing rapidly and requires a degree of specialization that only a doctoral-level education can provide.
Southern and our sister institutions will need to address this demand for increased education if we are to continue to promote Connecticut’s economic vitality and remain viable providers to organizations and businesses in the state that employ our graduates.
Our first clinical doctorate – in social work – has already progressed through internal governance and will soon go to the Board of Regents for final review and approval. This program, and others in health-related fields, hold great potential for growth both here and abroad, as you will read below.
2015 has already been an outstanding year for international education. Our familiar facets of international programming – semester and year-long study abroad and faculty-led programs – have increased in enrollment numbers. We also launched new faculty-led programs this year to Italy (department of recreation and leisure), Belize (department of biology) and Peru (department of nursing). This is in addition to eight existing programs in Guatemala, Tuscany, Rome, Iceland, Spain, Paris, Jamaica and South Africa. Interest in faculty-led programming abroad has never been higher!
By far, the sharpest increase in international programming has been in institutional partnerships. Work undertaken in October 2014 by Provost Bette Bergeron and Erin Heidkamp, director of the Office of International Education, is bearing fruit in the most marvelous ways. Their trip to China led to a follow-up delegation visit by members of the social work department – Todd Rofuth and Bill Rowe – accompanied by Jin Jin Yang of exercise science. As a result, 24 students from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture will be visiting our campus this July to take a course in social work and gain exposure to clinical environments here in the United States.
Todd and Bill also made a follow-up visit to Central China Normal University to discuss doctoral-level collaborations, which they hope to explore this coming fall semester. Also stemming from the fall trip to China, Tianjin University of Technology will be sending 16 administrators and 10 students to Southern in June for academic and cultural programming. Finally, a third group – high school students from Turkey – will visit Southern in June for language and culture programming. Altogether, we will be welcoming around 70 students and administrators for programming this summer! Southern has never had inbound international groups or camps visit over the summer months, and we anticipate this to be an area of increased demand in coming years.
In addition, thanks to a grant from the Donchian Foundation, I will accompany Interim Dean of Health and Human Services Sandra Bulmer and two nursing faculty members to Armenia in late June, to explore potential nursing collaborations there.
This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Professor Carlos Arboleda’s summer abroad program in Salamanca, Spain. This has been long in the planning! Erin will be attending the celebration, to be hosted by the city and universities with which this program has been affiliated over the years. At this meeting, Southern will be signing a new MOU with the pontifical University of Salamanca, and we look forward to expanding that partnership in the coming months and years. A follow-up celebration in September will take place on our campus in honor of the several hundred alumni who have expressed interest in celebrating this anniversary with Carlos.
Finally, last week we welcomed a 17-member delegation from Liverpool John Moores University. We are developing a unique and exciting partnership with this English institution. Collaborative work is taking place with eight different academic departments, fully supported by our deans and cabinet. The ultimate goal is to present a multitude of programming opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students from both institutions, ideally beginning in fall 2015. We plan to send a delegation of engaged faculty and deans to England this coming September to build upon the framework that has been established during the past year.
NEW ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT LEADER
As you know, our enrollment management team has worked long and hard in recent months to move our fall numbers toward their respective goals. These efforts will be enhanced in July with the arrival of Dr. Terricita Sass as the university’s new Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management. Terricita is a professional administrator with more than 25 years of service to public higher education and wide-ranging experience in student recruitment and retention.
During the last decade, Terricita has served as the chief enrollment management official at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va. At NSU, she has held leadership and team-building responsibilities for the offices of Enrollment Management, Admissions, the TransferMation Center (for transfer students), Financial Aid, Registrar, New Student Orientation, Customer Care and Military Services and Veteran Affairs.
Terricita’s collaborative efforts paid dividends, as during her 10-year tenure applications increased by 13 percent; new freshmen by 20 percent; retention by 9 percent; and total enrollment by 16 percent, with the highest entering-class profile on record.
At NSU, Terricita also led the Office of Institutional Research and organized a retention task force that led to the development of a dedicated office focused on advising. She has served as a consultant to other institutions and received several honors and recognitions for her exemplary leadership and dedication to her teams, students, and community.
Terricita brings to Southern specific expertise in improving student administrative operations through change management, engaging with the campus and off-campus communities, enhancing recruitment and retention efforts and crafting and executing holistic recruitment and enrollment management plans. She has experience in attracting and retaining students from many backgrounds including traditional, honors, first-generation, minority, low-income, adult, transfer and military students within an urban environment.
Terricita completed her undergraduate studies at Francis Marion University, Florence, S.C., earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting. She was conferred a Master of Arts degree in urban affairs from NSU, and a Ph.D. in education from Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn., with a specialization in leadership for higher education. Additionally, she has earned two post-master’s certificates in enrollment management and completed leadership training at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Center for Creative Leadership.
I believe that Terricita’s range of experience in strategic recruitment and retention, her aptitude for team-building and her commitment to student success will serve our university well. Please take the opportunity to welcome her personally to campus when she joins us July 7.
FAREWELL MARIANNE KENNEDY
Marianne Kennedy, associate vice president for academic affairs, begins her retirement today and it is with very mixed feelings that we say goodbye to this great friend of Southern. As Marianne leaves us, I extend to her my own sincere personal thanks, as well as that of the entire university community, for the work she has done to help Southern become the institution it is today.
As you know, Marianne has played a key role in developing the university’s assessment processes and procedures. In 2009, she was appointed associate vice president for assessment, planning, and academic programs, a new position that evolved from her prior position of coordinator of assessment and planning, which she had held since 2004. Later, she stepped in to provide valuable leadership as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. Marianne also played an active role in Southern’s 2001 self-study in preparation for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation review and subsequently went on to chair the NEASC Steering Committee for the university’s 2011 reaccreditation. Most recently, she has chaired the university’s strategic planning process.
I could say much more about Marianne’s work here at Southern and the broad and deep impact she has had on the university’s processes and procedures. Few individuals in recent years have left such an indelible impression. We in the Southern community will miss Marianne not only for her accomplishments but also for her wisdom, grace, patience, good humor, and willingness – always – to work hard and get it right.
We wish Marianne a wonderful retirement full of new adventures. Marianne, you have earned it!
SUMMER AND WINTER TASK FORCE
In early March 2015, Provost Bergeron convened a 16-person Summer & Winter Task Force to improve the visibility, accessibility and profitability of our summer and winter sessions here at Southern. Representing all academic units and departments on campus, and chaired by Ian Canning, Director of Special Academic Programs and Sessions, Steven Breese, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Rick Riccardi, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, the Task Force will further our goals of attracting and retaining academically prepared students, supporting initiatives that foster interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration, and other complementary initiatives.
The Task Force has now concluded its formal meetings for the 2014-2015 academic year. It now will turn its attention to small group work in order to create an optimal baseline summer and winter schedule, integrate marketing and advising campaigns, build a new course scheduling model, develop new program offerings and delivery modes and research a new non-credit registration system.
While the Summer & Winter Task Force will build new innovation and creativity into its planning for Summer 2016, some exciting changes already have taken place this year, Ian Canning reports. The Office of Special Academic Programs & Sessions worked collaboratively with Public Affairs to create a new Summer at Southern website that provides an informational portal for current and prospective students alike.
Our Summer at Southern Twitter account has grown to 283 followers and highlights new course additions, answers to frequently asked questions, and new developments such as the new summer food service that was developed through Student Affairs. While Summer Session A has just begun, and we have great strides to make between now and August 16 when Summer Session C concludes, there are currently 3,163 students taking summer classes, with a 4.4 percent increase in billed credits. There is also an increase of 5.1 percent in total seats filled, meaning students are taking more classes and taking full advantage of the offerings on campus this summer.
BIOSCIENCE ACADEMIC AND CAREER PATHWAY
Following the celebration of the our Bioscience Academic & Career Pathway MOU signing on May 4, staff and faculty representatives at Southern are continuing to build connections and streamline pathways with Gateway Community College and the New Haven Public School System.
Respective faculty members are working collaboratively to ensure a positive student experience, from the seamless transfer of credits to a hands-on, interdisciplinary classroom experience, to professional preparation as they consider the multitude of career pathways in the exciting bioscience field.
The Biology and Chemistry departments will continue to work on course development throughout the 2015-2016 academic year for the launch of our new B.S. in biotechnology with a minor in chemistry, along with a revised B.S. in biochemistry. Campus representatives will continue to work closely with the City and institutional partners to assemble an industry advisory board that will closely assess the needs of New Haven’s burgeoning biotechnology industry and solicit support for these new programs. We anticipate a wave of activity throughout the summer and upcoming academic year to fulfill the requirements of the MOU.
WEEK OF WELCOME
Our 3rd Annual WOW! Fall Week of Welcome will kick off on Monday, August 31 and run through Sunday, September 6. The WOW! program strives to help create a sense of community at Southern by encouraging students to make new connections and to explore all that our university has to offer.
This is an excellent opportunity for your department, office or student organization to introduce Southern students to what you do best! You are invited to plan WOW! programs, events and activities to welcome and support our students as they begin a new calendar year on campus! I encourage you to think about fun and creative ways to bring attention to your programs and services that will appeal to our students.
The following link will allow you to submit a WOW! event for inclusion in the program of activities:
If you have any questions about planning an event for WOW! Fall Week of Welcome 2015 or if you are interested in sponsoring a program but would like some creative assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your anticipated participation in making this year’s Week of Welcome one to remember for our students!