2002 State of the University Address
President Javier Cevallos
I am delighted to be here this morning, and to welcome all of you back for a new academic year. As you know, on July first I became the 11th President of Kutztown University, and when I look around the room I see how many people I have already had the opportunity to meet. I want to thank each of you for making me feel so welcome here. Everyone I have met has reinforced my initial impression of the generous spirit of this community and its commitment to education. Before I begin my formal remarks, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my wife, Josee. This morning we put our children, Alex and Caroline, on the school bus, and they should now be at Kutztown Elementary School, beginning their own new life in this community.
The beginning of a new academic year is always a time of optimism. It combines the energy of all incoming and returning students with the excitement of faculty and staff. I can feel a vibrant enthusiasm here this morning as we all prepare for the many opportunities that classrooms, laboratories, campus events, and residence halls will provide. It is also a moment for me to reflect on the many achievements of this university. Indeed, one of the things that attracted me to Kutztown was the excellence I saw in the institution. And that excellence is the result of many years of hard work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Dr. David McFarland, for his many years of hard work and dedication to Kutztown University. I feel fortunate to be here and I look forward to working with all of you in the years to come.
At this time, I would like to recognize the Kutztown University Council of Trustees members here with us today: Trustee Guido Pichini, Chair of the Council, Trustee Diane Lutz, Trustee Brian Clements, and Student Trustee Jennifer Clark. Also with us this morning is the President of the Alumni Association, Ms. Sandra Holod. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be with us today.
As you know, I am not the only new person on campus. We have new faculty and staff who have joined us this year. Welcome to the Kutztown University family. As you have noticed, we have changed the format of this event. We are all part of the university, and we all play important roles in fulfilling our mission. Thus, this event is a way of recognizing the multiplicity and complexity of what we do. It is important to be here together, both the academic and the support areas, as we prepare to move on to a new academic year. For those of you who join us for the first time this year, I want to say thanks for your hard work and dedication. It is not unnoticed, and is certainly deeply appreciated. Together we can move forward to make this an even better university.
I would now like to introduce the Chair of the University Senate, Randy Schaeffer, to make some remarks.
(Following his remarks, Dr. Cevallos continued.)
Kutztown University is proud of the positive relationships that have been established between management and the various unions on the campus. I have asked all the union presidents who would like to, to make some brief comments. As is always the case, not everyone can be here, but we do have three union presidents with us this morning. I would like to ask Gary Brey, President of APSCUF; Ray Ignosh, representing SCUPA; and Eric Furst, representing AFSCME, to make some remarks.
(Following their remarks, Dr. Cevallos continued.)
It is also a tradition that at our opening day festivities, we acknowledge the accomplishments of one faculty member. It is now time to name the 2002 recipient of the Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Before we announce this year's winner, I would like to acknowledge the previous Faculty Award recipients. Professor Patrick Duddy, Biology (retired); Professor Jack Schellenberg, Physical Sciences; Professor John Landis, Communication Design; Professor Ed Evans, Math/CIS (retired); Professor Allida McKinley, History; Professor James Ogden, Marketing; Professor David Peterson, Audio/Visual Communications; and Professor John Loomis, Physical Sciences. Thank you, again, for setting an example for all. I would like to ask the Kutztown University Alumni Board President, Sandra Holod, to join me in presenting the award and a check for $2,000 to Dr. Kathleen Dolgos.
As you entered the room you probably saw a brief publication called "Kutztown University Pride." During my first few weeks here, I have met with many people and had the opportunity to hear about a vast array of outstanding achievements. At the same time, I have sensed that we tend to focus in our own areas and thus collectively we do not have a sense of all of the wonderful education and support programs that are happening across campus. "KU Pride" will offer a vehicle for us to share some of those accomplishments. It will be published periodically throughout the year. A quick look at it reflects the variety of initiatives and the excellent programs here at KU. For example, you will note that Kutztown University has just signed a contract to host former New York mayor, Rudolph Giuliani for next Spring's Decision Maker's Forum. You will also read about our many academic achievements, such as Dr. Ruth Freyberger's generous gift that secured Kutztown University the first endowed chair in the State System of Higher Education. You will read about the success of our Upward Bound program, and you will read that thanks to the efforts of Senator Michael O'Pake we have received a $250,000 state grant to buy scientific equipment. We certainly have many reasons to be proud, and thankful.
Higher education in our nation is transforming itself. Knowledge has expanded in dramatic ways, and there are many new and exciting fields of study. Our students will face an ever-changing working environment. We need to provide them with both the practical skills for their initial job, and with the solid academic education that will enable them to be prepared for career and professional opportunities. As disciplines expand and change, so must our curricula. More than ever, we need to be actively engaged in our scholarly tasks. We should also use the opportunities technology offers to help us achieve our goals.
The main focus of my comments will relate to technology in the academic arena, but we should also recognize that technology in the support and administrative areas also represents a major opportunity. One of the most significant events from an administrative point of view will be the implementation of the SAP Shared System, which will unify the technological base of all universities in the State System. Many of the changes will deal with purely administrative issues, such as purchasing, finance, and human resources. But the changes will also have benefits for the entire community, as it will expand support processes for advising, establishing class offerings, registration, grade submission, and many other tasks.
Technology is an extraordinarily powerful tool that can be added to our scholarly repertoire. The issue is how to incorporate it into our learning environment and how to use it in creative ways to enhance and enrich the learning that takes place on our campus. To that end, I have asked the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching to provide some leadership in the creative use of technology. We will very shortly launch a program we are calling, tentatively, "Teachnology Incentives." The program will address the broader issue of how can we encourage the infusion of technology throughout the curriculum and ensure that it is well supported. On a related note, you may have heard that the Board of Governors instituted a new tuition fee for instructional technology. This additional revenue may be used for initiatives for incorporating technology into every part of the curriculum under the umbrella of academic and instructional technology. We will have some clear guidelines about its use in the near future. This will truly be an augmentation program and should provide wonderful opportunities to be creative and innovative.
This is also a good time to reaffirm our fundamental commitment to education. Technology, as I said, is a tool, not an end. I know that many "futurists" have predicted the demise of universities as we know them. In their vision, distance learning will replace the bricks and mortar of our institutions. I believe that vision is short-sighted. Universities are much more than a list of courses and books. Our students thrive in an environment that supports their academic growth and personal development. Nothing can replace a one-on-one chat with a professor or a late-night conversation about the origin of the universe with a good friend. Not to mention the incredible role that attending a concert, visiting a gallery, or engaging in a chemistry lab experiment has in expanding our student's minds. Nothing can replace the unique experience student organizations provide, the personal growth that derives from involvement with student government, a club, or a service learning activity.
Our universities help students gain social skills, broaden their horizons, meet people who come from totally different socio-economic, ethnic, or national backgrounds, and provide the opportunity for them to learn from each other. Brick and mortar also play a critical role. A student's room in the residence hall is not a hotel but a home. When students walk through campus, when they go to the library, when they sit in a classroom, they are in their home. Our task is to make these combined experiences, in the academic and support areas, relevant to the overall "college experience" we provide.
This becomes particularly challenging in light of the fact that, as anticipated, the state legislature passed, and the governor signed, a budget that reduced the State System's appropriation by 3 percent. Our share of the cut amounted, in effect, to a 3.5 percent reduction. In order to mitigate this reduction, the Board of Governors raised the tuition for in-state undergraduate students by 9 percent. This was a very difficult and bold decision and helps us in a significant way. But we still need to find additional funds. When we look at our growth in expenditure requirements, resulting from a variety of issues; such as inflation, contractual obligations, negotiated salaries, it far exceeds this increase, leaving us with a shortfall of $2.5 million. Last spring, when the campus was informed about the Governor's budget request, we immediately began modeling what the impact would be. At that time, it appeared it would be in the range of $2 million to $3.6 million. With this information we put a budget reduction process in place to remove $2 million from the base budget and to fund any remaining deficit from emergency reserves. This plan was based on the best information and modeling available. Since the cuts had to be implemented prior to the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, it was necessary to trim the $2 million up front. These reductions, as you know so well, affected the entire campus. This approach offered KU the assurance that only the minimum necessary would be cut and proper planning time would be available to review all reasonable options. The Strategic Planning Budget Subcommittee, a standing committee of University Senate and part of our shared governance, was instrumental in the decision to move in this direction, and I will continue to work with this committee as we look for ways to trim the additional $500,000 from the base budget.
It is clear that strategic planning and budgeting are inseparable activities. We need to prepare for our next planning cycle, and I would like to request your help. I believe that strategic planning, as a process, requires participation from the entire campus community, and I want to solicit your input. I want to invite you all to think about the future of our university, and to write your thoughts about it and send them to me, either by regular mail or by e-mail, by October 1. Please limit those comments and ideas to one or two pages. Please feel free to write about any topic you think is important in planning. A few come to my mind, in random order: diversity, instructional technology, enrollment management, budget and resources, facilities and infrastructure, international studies, globalization of the curriculum, outreach and engagement. You may choose to write on any of these or on any other relevant topic. This planning process presents an opportunity for us, as a community, to reaffirm our mission and our core values. After all, this planning process should aim at building upon what we have. I will read all your suggestions and statements, and from them, in consultation with the leadership team and appropriate governance structures, we will put together the topics that emerge from this process and do my best to bring them back to you in early Spring 2003. I envision holding open meetings for further discussion on these topics and objectives. We will begin to plan how to reach those goals.
As you know, the State System, following a mandate from the Board of Governors, has been carefully monitoring our performance in a number of specific areas. Overall, our campus did a terrific job, and we met or exceeded almost all our targets. In fact, of the 50 measures that applied to us this year, in categories such as "stimulating intellectual growth", "applying knowledge", "serving the common good", we met or exceeded 94 percent! This achievement is a clear reflection of the quality and dedication of your work. But we cannot rest. Last year's achievements raise the bar for next year. It is a wonderful challenge, as we strive to enhance everything we do. I look forward to working together as we aim at exceeding every single target. And because, as a team, as a campus family, we all work together to reach our goals, it seems appropriate for me to ask the executive leadership team to share with you some of the achievements and goals being pursued in their areas.
Academic Affairs: Provost Linda Goldberg
I am pleased to share with you the many exciting and wonderful accomplishments of the Academic Affairs division during this past academic year. The accomplishments are:
ACCREDITATION - All education programs achieved reaccreditation by NCATE, Business is preparing for AACSB accreditation and Chemistry for ACS accreditation.
CURRICULUM - The Social Work department secured approval from the Board of Governors during their June meeting to offer the MS in Social Work. They have begun this important work to implement this new program but in concert with a consultant from their respective accreditation body. The global MBA will be launched this fall with five international partners. A Master of Education in Instructional Technology with East Stroudsburg University has been approved by the Board of Governors and will begin this fall. All five Counseling and Human Services Masters programs designed new tracts so students will have the options to qualify for the new requirements for Pennsylvania licensure.
TEACHING QUALITY - The Center for the Enhancement of Teaching held 36 workshops with a total faculty attendance of 547. Science faculty received a National Science Foundation grant and a system grant to integrate science teaching techniques into education programs.
ACADEMIC ADVISING - The expanded Academic Advising department increased second-year retention of undeclared students from under 50 percent to over 75 percent in each of the last two years. First-year retention continues to stay at about 90 percent.
ROHRBACH LIBRARY - The Library has made great strides in its collections. Beginning this academic year, the library has more than 1,100 print journals and more than 14,300 full-text electronic journals and has acquired the Dornish Children's Literature Collection and the Rand Bishop Africana Collection.
DIVERSITY - Kutztown University hired at least12 faculty from underrepresented groups over the last two-year period. A Multicultural Studies Minor was created and the library established a multicultural services unit to support persons from diverse backgrounds.
TECHNOLOGY - The Technology Infusion in Teacher Education grant from the U.S. Department of Education provided funding for integrating technology into the curricula.
These are just a few of the many wonderful contributions that have been implemented this year. For the next academic year 2003-04 the Academic Affairs Division will focus on three main goals: enhance academic excellence, continue increasing efficiency within the Academic Affairs division, and demonstrate effective outcomes for Teaching/Learning.
These goals are consistent with the State System of Higher Education accountability plan. With the leadership of Dr. Cevallos, a comprehensive planning process will be developed and implemented during this academic year for the university, which will allow the Academic Affairs division to develop a plan consistent with the university.
This year will be challenging for the Academic Affairs division. The faculty, chairs and administration will work together to create a framework that will focus on learning by expanding learning options for students, by engaging students as equal partners in the learning process and by designing educational structures to meet their needs. The university that places learning first and provides educational experiences anywhere, anyplace, anytime has great potential for fulfilling the student dream.
Vice President for Student Affairs Chick Woodard
Under the guidance of the Associate Vice President, all units of Student Affairs collaborated with other divisions for more than a year in a Council for the Advancement of Standards program review. This very successful self-assessment process culminated in an intensive campus visit by a team of national student affairs experts. As a result of the review, action teams were implemented to address report recommendations and critical issues in the areas of Health/Safety/Emergencies; Student Development; Enrollment Management; and Research and Assessment. Annual goals and timelines for monitoring results will help to set strategic initiatives and drive divisional progress over the next three years.
The grade point average of student athletes has improved, in addition to their improved athletic performance. At the close of the Winter session, the average GPA of more than 500 athletes reached an unprecedented high of 2.82. Athletic achievements included championships in Men's Tennis, Baseball, and Men's Outdoor Track, and NCAA Regional Titles in Men's Tennis and Baseball.
The President's "Roundtable" initiative, spawned from our Alcohol and Other Drug Program, brought together more than 130 campus and community leaders to assist the president in combating alcohol and other drug-related problems. A very creative offshoot was the implementation of a campus Alcohol and Other Drug curricular infusion project in which 55 faculty members participated, and 20 faculty completed curricular projects. Early reports from our Health and Wellness Center, indicate much success.
Through the efforts of our restructured Off-Campus Student Life Program, a website has expanded housing services far beyond the boundaries of the Kutztown Borough. Housing requests can be listed on the website by both landlords and students seeking co-tenants. This technology has reduced costs, improved customer service, and streamlined the process to instant information and transaction. Since August, 2001 there have been more than 19,000 hits on the website.
Through these and other projects, Student Affairs is assisting KU in meeting, and in many instances, exceeding the revised accountability goals targeted for the new millennium. Valuable contributions are made at all levels, especially those at the front-line, our custodians, our clerks and our secretaries. Many dedicated individuals are committed to creating a student life program that will complement KU and our academic program for many years to come.
Vice President for Information Technology Rich Zera
In Information Technology, many positive comments have been received on such accomplishments as the new centralized calendar function, our Spanish web pages, and the many new self-help links off of the IT home page. But these are just some visible additions - the more over-arching projects are not as easy to see. Our strategic goal for the past four years has been to elevate the infrastructure at KU to position our faculty, staff and students to capitalize on the newest technologies. Our multi-faceted approach has been to develop a foundation for our administrative, academic, and student computing and networking missions to reach a level of currency - and keep them moving forward.
This past year, we completed the microcomputer replenishment, or leasing, program, along with site licensing of common software, to ensure that everyone's desktop configuration will always be current. After some challenges requiring your patience early last year, the total replacement of our network was completed in March, and reports from all constituents are that it has been a dramatic improvement. We have also been told that deploying some of the IT staff to North campus has been very helpful to academic units. Now, we are in the midst of replacing the 53-year-old telephone system. A great number of improvements to our Web presence have been completed, and we are working with the SASI office to ensure successful implementation of all new administrative systems. These, and many other changes too numerous to mention, combine to provide a solid foundation to support the university and are coming together right when we need them most. Please look at our newsletter, which has been delivered to all offices, for details.
The new SAP shared administrative system has the potential to be one of the greatest technological changes for all administrative computing in more than two decades. The web-based self-service systems, particularly on the student side, can fundamentally change how we deal with students and greatly improve service to all. President Cevallos mentioned the Teachnology program, which will attempt to address incentives to use technology in the classroom. Of course, incentives must be backed with strong technology and support services, as well as consistent and current technology in the classrooms. As the President also mentioned, a new instructional technology fee has been approved by the Board of Governors, so we are very hopeful that both the instructional technology goals and means to achieve them may be feasible. Such directions are totally consistent with the direction proposed by the Academic Technology Committee, and we will continue to work closely with them and other faculty groups in developing plans. It is particularly exciting to see the total makeover of our infrastructure coming together in time to support the new administrative systems and major growth in the support for faculty and students in the classroom. As an institution, this is occurring as we face unprecedented pressures to operate more efficiently, serve our students better, and both encourage and enable our superb faculty to employ the latest in instructional techniques.
Your patience and support in building this shared vision have been greatly appreciated. Please help us to understand your views of the next level of technology development by calling, or inviting me to any departmental or other unit meetings.
Vice President for Advancement Bill Sutton
The fiscal year 2001-2002 saw the Kutztown University Foundation close out its most successful year of fund raising. During that period total reportable income equaled $3,777,190. During that same period, we were able to achieve a number of new initiatives, including growth of the endowment fund. Therefore, as of June 30, 2002, the endowment fund now totals more than $11 million, while total foundation assets are now in excess of $38 million.
We are especially pleased to report that the university received a Kresge Challenge grant in the amount of $500,000. We are pleased because this is the largest challenge grant Kresge has ever given to a state system institution in Pennsylvania, and such a challenge is made based upon the strength of the university, its ability to raise funds, and the institutional leadership as demonstrated by the President's Office. Once we were able to announce the appointment of Dr. Cevallos, our Kresge challenge application went through the review process, and shortly thereafter the grant award was made.
The past year has also been a busy one in the area of capital projects. As you returned to school, you probably saw that the four student residence buildings owned by the foundation that were standing between the Graduate Center and Christopher House have been razed and the area cleared. During the coming year we will begin the final stages of development so that next year at this time, we will be able to formally dedicate a new Kutztown University Alumni Plaza - a green area and the focal point for student activities and for the enhancement of campus beauty.
Also, directly behind University Place, you will notice construction is under way for a new 500-bed residence hall being built by the foundation. During the coming year, decisions will have to be made on whether to build an additional 500- or 750-bed structure depending on current student demand and our anticipated ability to fill those beds. Phase II of the residence project has been approved by the township for 500 beds at this time.
You will also notice as classes open today that we have a very strong and vibrant freshmen class . We were able to achieve our admissions goals, including reaching the enrollment caps in most majors and meeting our diversity goals and enhancing the quality of the incoming freshmen class. As of last week, we will meet the freshmen goal and this includes 13.5 percent minority enrollment and 12 percent out-of-state freshmen.
For the coming year, we will continue to face additional challenges in trying to raise the remaining $2.1 million to receive the Kresge Grant of $500,000, and decisions will have to be made regarding the construction of the Alumni Plaza, size of the residence hall, and enrollment growth for the next year. We look forward to working with all of you to meet these goals.
Vice President for Administration & Finance Jim Sutherland
Good Morning, it's a pleasure to be here today and to share with you a few highlights from last year and some great opportunities for this year.
For quite some time Kutztown University has been in the process of bringing on line a new administrative system. Several years ago we were in the final stages of selecting an outside vendor to provide us the necessary software when the Board of Governors determined that a shared administrative system environment was the best solution for the State System of Higher Education. SAP was selected as the State System's vendor and last year Kutztown University, one of the five first phase universities, spent hundreds of employee hours in support of the monumental task of going live with the financial module on November 1, 2002. The work is continuing and training for users of the new administrative software and processes will begin shortly. Because of the nature of a systemwide shared environment many university-unique processes must now be standardized. This will change many of our current processes, some now with the financial module and more later, as the human resources and campus management modules are activated. It is anticipated that the human resources module will be activated next spring and the campus management module the following spring. If we look forward to these changes with an open mind we will be able to capitalize on this new system and maximize its potential. This is a very powerful system and should foster great improvement.
Speaking of great improvement, five years ago we were trying to figure out a way to stretch $11 million to meet a $20 million need for a renovated and enlarged science complex. A steering committee of faculty and staff was created, an aggressive design was drafted and everyone dreamed. Through the efforts of so many people, the necessary money was raised and the design finalized, and as a result, today the foundation is being poured on the new $20 million science center complex with the first of four phases to be completed by May 2003. This first phase will see the opening of more than 70,000 square feet of new state-of-the-art science classrooms, labs, and offices. The entire four-phase project should be completed by July 2004.
Our campus master plan, which was initially completed almost two years ago, and includes this new science center, also calls for the relocation of the heating plant to the southeast corner of the campus. The funding for this project comes from state and university resources. The state has finally released the funds for this project, giving DGS the green light to move forward. The first thing that had to be done was to hire a professional architectural/engineering firm to design the project. They have contracted with Entech Engineering to be the professional of record. Because it is a heating plant, an economic analysis must be completed before a fuel source is determined. Once this is completed, the design work can begin. Entech is looking at coal, gas or both as fuel source options. The economic analysis is to be completed by September 1. We are hopeful the analysis will provide Kutztown University the opportunity to relocate the heating plant, moving the industrial look away from the middle of campus.
Switching gears, I am pleased to be able to report to you that the State System's Food Service Consultant rated Kutztown University's Food Service program the best in the state system for all of last year.
Another exciting item is, last year the business office began the rollout of the long-awaited purchasing card, which allows users to bypass the normal paperwork for purchasing many low-cost items. This program will see a complete rollout during this academic year. With these, and many other opportunities, we are looking forward to another exciting year.
Assistant to the President, for Human Diversity Barbara Taliaferro
Good Morning: Welcome to all new members of our community and welcome back to the returning members.
Someone once said "no man is an island". I'd like to reframe those words this morning and put them in the context that no office, service, or department should be an independent educational silo. To that end, the Office of Human Diversity continues to collaborate with all of you to serve all our students. Under the auspices of Human Diversity some populations/groups are specifically identified to receive services that are legislated and/or mandated by federal, state, and local government bodies. These services are important and necessary to meet recruitment, enrollment, retention and graduation goals.
I'd like to review with you briefly some of the highlights and accomplishments of the past year and to share with you our hopes, dreams and vision for the future.
The Kutztown University Multicultural Center, located in the former John B. White House, is one new initiative , which is filled with excitement, energy and activities. In keeping with the history and tradition, it has been renamed the John B. White Multicultural Center. It is located on the south campus near Golden Bear Village and Detrick residence hall. The center celebrated a wonderful year, bustling with many activities and programs for students and groups engaged in collaborative academic study, social networking, and personal growth and development. The center just completed Phase II of a three-phase renovation plan. We can now provide greater access to a broader community to include people who are mobility impaired. There is a ramp outside, larger bathroom facilities, and accessibility to the complete first floor. Fully equipped classroom facilities are also part of the second floor plan and approximately six classes will be taught in the facility this fall semester.
The Multicultural Center experienced a fabulous open house in October of 2001, which included a number of activities and experiences to support and promote retention.
The center should live and breathe diversity. It is for all members of the Kutztown University community. It is to be inclusive, to share, and to value all voices. Please join us in the recognition, respect, acceptance, and celebration of differences. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, "let us become the change we wish to see in others."
The Kutztown University Women's Center has contributed to our community, our information and awareness regarding gender growth, development, challenges, and opportunities. It has been, and continues to be, a cornerstone of our community in forging ahead to provide a forum for gender dialogue. The Women's Center initiated a number of volunteer and social-consciousness raising events. They raised money for several local charities, and collected and provided outgrown school garb to be redistributed at local domestic violence and homeless shelters. Some women students became dramatic artists under the mentorship of faculty leadership and filled Schaeffer Auditorium for the second year in a row with their rendition of "The Vagina Monologues." This particular play was featured at nine of our 14 State System Institutions and a variety of other college and university campuses. The campus celebrated national recognition opportunities such as Women In Sports Day, National Women's History Month and National Take Your Daughter To Work Day. We are ahead of the national change to include sons. Kutztown employees have brought their sons, daughters, and others to shadow their parents and/or other relatives in the workplace. It is a wonderful opportunity to share our campus with future generations of possible Kutztown University students.
The Office of Human Diversity and The Women's Center also provide support, advocacy, and information regarding different lifestyles and sexual orientation. Our vision of diversity is inclusive. It has many aspects to it. These aspects are often complex, misunderstood, feared and ignored. However ... if we don't stand together we are destined to fall apart. The services at Kutztown University for Americans With Disabilities are recognized as some of the very best services in the system and beyond. Referrals come from our successful alumni such as teachers, guidance counselors, and other professionals.
Kutztown University is committed to achieving educational opportunities and participation for persons with disabilities. It is university policy to adhere to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. There are currently approximately 400 students with disabilities enrolled at Kutztown University and about 50 to 75 employees. Although the definition of disability is extremely broad, there are aspects of things that are not covered. If, and when, in doubt please make a referral, ask, inquire, and work with us to work out a solution to facilitate learning and success. Last year ADA students identified approximately 50 faculty as those who were especially empathic, caring, and helpful to the student in providing classroom accommodations. We applaud those special efforts.
We are also one of 23 institutions of higher learning nationally involved in the DO IT-Prof. Program. This is a project to help post-secondary educators work successfully with student who have disabilities. Our students come, do well, and graduate. We believe the only real disability is attitude.
Thank you for your commitment, attendance, participation, and collaboration as we continue to work hard to serve the needs of the university community and beyond. It is a new day and a new season. Let us Begin!
Assistant to the President, for Enrollment Management Ira Blake
Good Morning. Enrollment Management is still under construction as a comprehensive process designed to enhance enrollment planning and implementation as a function of budget, programs, physical assets, and human resources. I would like to share some of last year's enrollment-related achievements with you and present some key goals for the area.
Last year, we served 8,268 students, a 3 percent increase over the preceding academic year. The undergraduate population was 7,293; and the graduate total was 975. In terms of gender, approximately 61 percent were female; and 39 percent were male. We saw an overall 2.7 percent increase in diversity among our total student population.
An important measure of how engaged with and successful in servicing students we are is the graduation number. I am pleased to inform you that last year we awarded 1,310 undergraduate degrees. This represents the greatest number of KU graduates in the history of the university, and it is a 15 percent increase over the preceding academic year. In addition, we awarded 222 graduate degrees.
As for the current academic year, what is the enrollment picture? The official institutional numbers can not be calculated until October 17th, the State System freeze file date. However, we can temporarily use the President's Enrollment Report on registered students provided by the Bursar to derive some unofficial numbers for opening day. Based on that report, we will be serving a total of 8,304 students: 7,425 undergraduates, 686 graduates. Female students continue to make up the greater proportion of our student body at 61 percent. And minority students comprise 11 percent of the total student population. Formal comparisons with the previous year will not be made until the official numbers are ready.
Turning to retention activities, a number of first-year programs were started or expanded: A First-Year Seminar was piloted across the four undergraduate colleges. Learning Communities for First-Year students, thanks to devoted faculty and staff, continue to grow and to have a positive impact on retention. Their combined five-year-average retention rate is 10 percent higher than the institutional five-year average. An expansion of Winter Break Supplemental Advising and Grade Monitoring was undertaken by multiple units across the divisions. We are anxious to assess the impact of these and several other initiatives that time does not permit me to list on our retention of last year's freshmen class.
Let us now turn to enrollment management goals for this academic year. A number of teams for enrollment management are being formed. The significant change regarding these teams is that membership is based on a process orientation for enrollment management rather than a structural one, specifically how and when service is provided to a typical student. Each team will focus on an important dimension of managing KU's service delivery.
Thanks to the willingness of many of you, an Enrollment Team is now in place and has been charged with the responsibility of setting enrollment goals, short and long-term. I will be calling on a number of you to serve as a Retention Team, with the objectives of reviewing current retention practices and identifying those that work well for us. The Advisement Center began the coordination of an expanded Supplemental Advising and Grade Monitoring program with cross-divisional units. That will continue and be enhanced with new web-enabled online student services and faculty advisement workshops through CET. As can be seen, great things are happening at KU. With continued support from all of you, greater things are on the horizon.
President Cevallos' concluding remarks
As you have heard, and I will repeat what I said: there are many reasons for us to be proud of what Kutztown University has already accomplished. And there are also great challenges in front of us, as a university and as a society. I am a firm believer that challenges are opportunities, a positive force that moves us in the right direction. The greatest challenge we face, as a society, is the education of our children. And we are particularly well suited to help our region, our state, and our nation, to meet this challenge. Kutztown University started as a normal school, and we have never strayed from our commitment to train the best teachers. Teaching is one of the highest callings, and we have to find a way to make it, once again, the profession of choice for the best and most devoted minds. To quote a famous line from Henry Brooks Adams, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Of course, today our language would be inclusive, we would say "she or he;" and this brings me to the next challenge we face: diversity, multiculturalism, and social equity. As a nation we have come a long way over the past three decades, but there is still a long way to go. We live in a changing society, and the face of America will be different in 50 years. In many ways, it already is. We have made significant strides in terms of recruitment and retention of students of color, as well as recruitment of a more diverse faculty and staff. We need to do much more. But diversity, as you know, encompasses more than racial or ethnic backgrounds. The aim of our commitment to diversity is to create a just and caring community for all. In my mind, our diversity goal should be summarized in one simple phrase: At Kutztown University we respect every single person. This is, indeed, at the core of the values of this university.
In just a few days, we will come together as a community to remember the tragedy of September 11. Needless to say, that day changed our lives, and it has had a profound impact in the lives of our students. The campus is organizing a three-day series of commemorative events, and I invite you all to participate in any form you feel appropriate.
But for now, we need to greet our incoming students. They come to us with the anxiety of the unknown and with the renewed enthusiasm of their return. It is a new beginning, for all. I know you are anxious to return to your buildings, to go back to your offices, to get to your classrooms, to meet and greet students in all the venues that make this a wonderful academic community. I will not keep you any longer. Have a truly wonderful year.
F. Javier Cevallos