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2005 State of the University Address

President Cevallos

Welcome back for what promises to be an exciting new academic year. I hope you all found an opportunity for a little downtime to refresh and reinvigorate for the coming year.

Last year at this time, when I welcomed you back, I said that we were bigger and better than ever before. I am pleased to tell you the same is true this year. Our student population continues to grow, not just in first-time freshmen, but in graduate enrollment and transfer students as well. We have added new degree programs in the past 12 months, and increased the number of collaborative agreements we have with universities across the globe.

I would like to begin by recognizing the Kutztown University Council of Trustees here with us today:

  • Ron Frey
  • Dianne Lutz
  • Rich Orwig
  • Guido Pichini
  • Jim Schwoyer
  • Kim Snyder
  • Ramona Turpin, Chair of the Council
  • Leigh Vella
  • Jack Wabby
.... and I would like to point out that Guido Pichini was recently appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be with us today. We have new faculty and staff who have joined us this year (please stand). Welcome to the Kutztown University family. I am sure you will find that Kutztown is a very warm and welcoming university.

Each year at this time we invite representatives of the Senate and bargaining units to bring greetings. I'd like to invite Bill Bateman, president of the University Senate, to make a few remarks.

(BILL BATEMAN SPEAKS)

Thank you Bill, and thanks to all the members of the University Senate, you play an invaluable role in the life of the university.

I'd now like to invite Gary Brey to bring greetings on behalf of APSCUF.

(GARY BREY SPEAKS)

Thank you, Gary, for those comments. We all are looking forward to another action-packed semester.

I would now like to invite Candi Calhoun to offer a few comments on behalf of AFSCME.

(CANDI CALHOUN)

Thank you Candi, and thanks to all of you who are the backbone of this university.

It is also a tradition of our opening day festivities that we acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments of one faculty member. It is now time to name the 2005 recipient of the Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Before we announce this year's winner, however, I would like to recognize the previous faculty award recipients. Please stand as I call your name:

  • Prof. Patrick Duddy, Biology (retired)
  • Prof. Jack Schellenberg, Physical Science (retired)
  • Prof. John Landis, Communication Design (retired)
  • Prof. Ed Evans, Math/CIS (retired)
  • Prof. Allida McKinley, History
  • Prof. James Ogden, Marketing
  • Prof. David Peterson, Audio-visual Communications (retired)
  • Prof. John Loomis, Physical Science (retired)
  • Prof. Kathleen Dolgos, Secondary Education
  • Prof. Tom Schantz, Art Education and Crafts (retired)
  • Dr. Arifeen Daneshyar, Economics (who claims he'll never retire)

Thank you, again, for setting an example for us all. I would like to ask the Kutztown University Alumni Board President, Maria Wassell to join me in presenting this year's award, and a check for $2,000, to professor of geography and faculty athletic representative to the NCAA, Dr. Robert Ziegenfus.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, Kutztown University is getting bigger. The Class of 2009 is one of the largest in our history. We continue to see double-digit annual increases number of applications we receive. Our residence halls are full and nearby off-campus housing is scarce.

In the past several months we have shifted our marketing efforts to those few areas where slack resources exist. And once again, we have seen double-digit increases - in summer school enrollment, transfer enrollment, graduate enrollment, and participation in both credit- and non-credit-bearing offerings through our office Lifelong Learning and Professional Development. Also, for the first time this past summer, we began to offer Educators' Workshops to meet the continuing education requirements of Pennsylvania's public school K-12 teachers.

But we're not just getting bigger, we're also getting better. We are admitting better, brighter students from a broader background than ever before. Diversity among the staff and student body continues to mirror that of the communities we serve, while the average SAT score of our incoming students continues to rise as well.

We will continue to attract more and better students as we are able to provide more and larger scholarships. Toward that end last year we held our second scholarship ball, and it was a great success, bringing the two-year total to more than $110,000 for scholarships. Last year's ball also featured the surprise announcement of a $1 million gift from an alumni couple, Bill Ribble and his wife, Joanne.

The ball committee has been busy for the past several months arranging this year's ball, which will be Saturday, November 5. But we won't be holding it here, at Keystone Arena. This year the ball will be held at the former Tri-Quint facility in Breinigsville, now the site of Kutztown University's life long learning, Tek Park. This facility was acquired by one of our alums, and our plan is to use to build new programs that will enhance our campus offerings and help us achieve our strategic goal of serving the needs of the region. Let me emphasize that our focus will be in new initiatives and programs, for which Tek Park is ideally suited.

As you know, the State System has an Accountability Plan that assesses the performance of the universities according to a series of specific measures. Based on past performance data, we are evaluated against specific targets for each measure. We are also evaluated against a nationwide group of peer institutions that provide us with a benchmark. I would like to share with you some of this year's results. Of 64 measures, we met or exceeded our goals in 56.

Last year I was happy to report that one of the goals we had set for ourselves, and which we accomplished, was an increase in our six-year graduation rate. I am happy to report that this year we met our improvement goals in the four-year graduation rate, but much remains to be done in this area.

The efforts so many of you are making in our retention and persistence efforts are showing results across the board. The pursuit of a university degree is a marathon for many of our students who have to juggle one or two jobs and family obligations with their studies. It is always such a disappointment when, for whatever reason, a student quits the race before the finish line is in sight. I am delighted, and I commend you all, for the fact that we and our students suffer that disappointment less and less from year to year.

At this point, I would like to ask Provost Linda Rinker to share with you some additional accomplishments in the academic affairs division.

(PROVOST SPEAKS)

The Academic Affairs Division is actively dedicated to excellence in learning and to the success of all our students. We seek to prepare students to meet lifelong intellectual, ethical, social and professional challenges by providing quality programs with a global perspective.

Here are some highlights from the past 12 months:
The development and launch of new programs, tracks, concentrations and minors in:

  • German Studies
  • Biochemistry
  • Music Education,
  • Religious Studies in the Philosophy department
  • Globalization in the Geography
  • Instructional Technology in Library Science
  • Coaching Education in Elementary Education
  • Digital Classroom Technology in the Instructional Technology Master's program,
  • and a degree designation of Bachelor of Science in Library Sciences as an addition to the Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Library Science degree.
  • We've also added minors in Biochemistry, Musical Theatre, and Pennsylvania German Studies

The College of Business continues to work with a consultant from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in preparation for application for AACSB accreditation.

The College of Education continues preparation for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) site visits in February.

The Master of Social Work program passed "benchmark three" of four assessment steps in their accreditation process and should receive full accreditation next spring.

Chemistry faculty hosted a site visit from the American Chemical Society and reviewed their self-study.

The Computer Science program began the accreditation process with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in the Fall of 2005.

The Nursing program was granted the maximum eight-year accreditation by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Committee (NLNAC).

The Art Education and Crafts, the Communication Design, and the Fine Arts programs underwent accreditation reviews by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

The Music program underwent accreditation review by the National Association of Schools of Music.

The General Education Restructuring Team met weekly, in both Fall and Spring, with every conceivable constituency to receive and process input and feedback. One major accomplishment was approval - by 72 percent of the faculty - of the new mission and goals for General Education.

The six-year graduation rate for the entering class of Fall, 1998 increased to 50.4 percent from 48.2 percent for the Fall, 1997 cohort, and the four-year graduation rate for the cohort entering Fall 2000 increased to 27.7 percent from 24.1 percent for the Fall, 1999 cohort.

For summer 2005 we created a new professional development program for working teachers which was well received.

We are pleased to report that the high school grade point average, class rank, SAT scores and the predicted grade point average have all improved significantly in the last five years. Academic Affairs continued recruiting students of color and the percentage of students of color is currently 15.34 percent among 1955 freshmen students.

Academic Affairs, continued recruiting efforts for students of color and the projected number of students of color for Fall, 2005 increased by 15 percent matching the record percentage from Fall, 2004. Many initiatives were conducted to support this plan. To name just a few:

Created a Kutztown University Preparatory Academy (KUPA), a group initiative designed for first-generation, low-income students.

  • Upward Bound Math/Science (UBMS) serving Allentown and Reading schools
  • Traditional Upward Bound Program
  • Allentown Academic Alliance
  • Roberto Clemente Academic Alliance
  • KUPA Bridge Program
  • Fredrick Douglass Leadership Day Camp

And finally, we have added a few new names to the leadership ranks. Dr. Bashar Hanna has joined us as the new Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Bashar, if you would please stand. Dr. Eileen Hogan has been selected as the new Dean of the College of Business. Eileen you would please stand. Dr. James Hubbard is our new Director of International Studies. James you would please stand. Thank you, and thank you to all the faculty and staff in the academic area. We have accomplished great things, and even greater successes await us.

President Cevallos

Thank you, Provost Rinker, for sharing with us the accomplishments within the area of academic affairs. I would like to emphasize one of the points you made: this is the year when we will complete our General Education review. I believe the committee has developed an outstanding model that will put us in the forefront of higher education at the national level. The completion of the Gen Ed review is our highest academic priority this Fall.

In addition to all those worthy efforts, there have been a few other things going on around campus of late. We have broken ground on the Academic Forum. This facility will include seven classrooms ranging in capacity from 85 to 200 students, a coffee bar and three informal food facilities. It will also be a more conveniently located home to the mail center and copy center. As you can see from the architect's renderings, the building will be both functional and attractive. The central feature in the two-story atrium will complement the beauty of Alumni Plaza and the graduate center ceiling. It will be a wonderful addition to the artistic elegance of the campus.

As you all, no doubt, noticed as you came in this morning, we are well along with the construction of the new student recreation facility. When it opens in a few months, followed a few months later by the Academic Forum, we will truly have the very best facilities in the state system to create sound minds in sound bodies. And we will not stop there. Plans are on the drawing board to renovate the Sharadin building and Schaeffer Auditorium to ensure those facilities are consistent with the quality and tradition of our programs in the visual and performing arts.

You may also have noticed activity in the stadium. We have installed synthetic turf that will allow for greater use of the facility and reduced maintenance costs. We resurfaced the track and will add lights in the near future. The press box was repainted and the old logo and word mark were replaced with the new ones.

Let me also update you on the mold issue. As many of you may be aware, the combination of an unusually long spell of high heat and humidity this summer, along with aging HVAC systems in some of our older buildings, created some mold and mildew concerns. The main problem was in Rickenbach, but there were also isolated areas in DeFrancesco and Lytle that were affected. I am happy to tell you that both DeFrancesco and Lytle have been returned to "normal", with only some minor aesthetic work yet to be completed. While Rickenbach will be cleared for occupancy and normal use by our Indoor Air Quality consultants as of tomorrow morning, reconstruction work will take the next several weeks. The contractor will be working at night, after classes, to complete this work to ensure the least impact to our academic mission.

Last year I mentioned the introduction of new logos, and I said we had almost a dozen national vendors licensed to apply them to sports apparel, headgear, house wares and various other items. Our logos are now licensed by more than 50 national vendors, and the licensing program is beginning to generate a profit that will be used to fund scholarships. If you don't see KU items in your local sporting goods and athletic wear stores, ask for them.

I'd like to point out also, that Kutztown University is a member of the Workers' Rights Consortium, a watchdog group that monitors the working conditions under which items bearing our logos are produced.

Although that sounds like a commercial plug, I make those comments as prologue to this: One of the key elements in enhancing the image of any institution is awareness. People cannot have an opinion about us if they never heard of us or don't recognize us when they see or hear our messages in various media. An essential element in awareness is identity, and that requires a consistent, frequent presence in the communities we serve and with which we interact.

I have been delighted, these past two years, with the campus wide adoption and consistent use of the new university and athletic logos and the incorporation of our new slogan - Learn ... to Make a Difference, in support of our marketing efforts. Everything from lapel pins and office stationery to billboards and new buildings has been brought under the identity umbrella as repairs, improvements and replacements have given us that opportunity.

We have been working on a signage and way finding plan for some time. This summer saw the execution of that plan. I want to commend Jim Sutherland, Jeff Grimm, Carol Sztaba and the entire facilities crew for the beautiful new signage around campus and for the fact that the signs are such a wonderful complement to the university identity plan. The Kutztown University campus is truly a beautiful and, now, increasingly functional physical facility.

Provost Rinker shared with you some of the highlights of the past 12 months in the academic area. I'd like to share with you now a few of the accomplishments from the other divisions.

The Division of Information Technology achieved a dramatic reduction in network slowdowns by dividing the one KU wired network into two parallel and redundant networks, one for residential students and the other for all academic and administrative traffic

There are now secure wireless networks on North Campus and South Campus, with numerous indoor and outdoor accesses. Early indications are that the wireless networks are very popular.

I.T. installed more than 2,000 Windows and Apple microcomputers last fall as part of the triennial replacement process.

Working with the Academic Technology Committee, and Academic Affairs, I.T. added a smart classroom support specialist to the IT staff and created more than 30 additional smart classrooms. We now have more than 110 classrooms that need routine technical support and trouble-shooting. We are working on more rapid deployment and backup capabilities and have arranged for outsourcers to provide preventive maintenance on all smart classroom equipment in off hours throughout the year.

I.T. and the Academic Technology Committee completed a long-range strategic plan which was adopted by the University Senate in May 2005. The valuable insight into the anticipated needs of the academic community is a wonderful example of building a "shared vision" of the technological future of KU, which has been a key objective for the past several years.

As we see in the media on a daily basis massive data and identity thefts, denial of service attacks, malicious viruses, spyware, and even incidents of cyber terrorism are increasingly pervasive. As one step of many to come, new student e-mail addresses have been issued which no longer contain a portion of their social security number. I.T. has also deployed the McAfee anti-spyware package to go along with its anti-virus product, which is also available to each of you for home use at no charge.

Please look in your mailbox today for many important updates from I.T. in the latest edition of their Interface newsletter.

The Division of Student Services and Student Life has redesigned its annual report and placed it on the web. The report has fewer charts and more feature stories. It puts the student's face on the efforts and accomplishment, the planning and execution of activities in support of our students.

The division also saw several colleagues either retire or advance their careers with new jobs elsewhere. Among the new faces this year is Greg Bamberger, our new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Greg brings 15 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics and comes to us from Glenville State College in West Virginia where he served as Athletic Director.

We look forward to his continued leadership in the athletic arena, and in the other important area for our student athletes - the student part. Last year our freshmen athletes had a GPA that was 12 percent higher than the class as a whole. The research has shown, and our experience has borne out, that involvement in activities outside the classroom actually improves performance in the classroom. And by the way, in between practices, competitions, classes and homework, our student athletes contributed more than 1,600 hours of community service.

That is a commendable number, and it is right in line with the overall number for the entire student body, who contributed 39,000 hours of community service last year. That's equivalent to more than 20 full time employees. If you were to average the salaries and benefits of the municipal employees in the area, that amounts to about $1 million a year in labor that our students - and many of our faculty and staff - donate to the community.

Some of the things we do include the program at Lauer's Park elementary school in a low-income area of Reading. Individuals from several areas in Student Services visit throughout the year not only with the students, but their parents as well, to help them realize that going to college is a realistic aspiration for them, not a forlorn dream.

And the Connections program goes to great lengths to minimize the culture shock many freshmen experience, living away from Mom and Dad for the first time, with people who may not look and sound just like them. The success of the program is reflected in our improving retention rates.

Another contributor to our retention rates is the President's Roundtable on Alcohol and Other Drugs. I'm not sure why they call it the President's Roundtable: Doreen Tobin does all the work. And I am delighted to tell you that everyone knows that. The Caron Foundation named her Educator of the Year in the area of drug abuse and addiction. Perhaps next year we should call it the Associate Vice President's Roundtable. Thank you, Doreen, for your tireless efforts.

Other forms of service include our future teachers, who visit schools throughout Berks and Lehigh Counties as part of the America Reads program, to help young people develop their love of reading.

Several of our Greek and other service organizations take part in Operation Snowflake, shoveling the driveways and sidewalks of elderly residents of the borough. And while they do it they wear bright, fluorescent green vests sporting the university logo.

Chick, and the dozens of dedicated individuals who surround him, do much, much more than I have time to mention this morning.

I have already mentioned several of the projects completed, planned or underway in the Administration and Finance area, but in addition to all the building going on, the division has several other projects in the works.

This coming March we will begin construction on a new heating plant, and remove the current working museum from the center of South Campus. And the design phase for renovations to Sharadin will move into high gear this fall, with Schaeffer Auditorium right behind.

The shuttle bus showed a 62 percent increase in ridership during its second year, with more than 127,000 passengers on both the on-campus and off-campus routes.

The office of human resources opened a training center to help new and current employees alike with everything from tips and guidance on job searches to stress management and departmental cross-training.

Perhaps the most sweeping change underway in the finance area, chaired by Bill Bateman, is a review of the entire budgeting process by a committee comprising faculty, staff and administrators, with the goal of moving away from a highly centralized process to a responsibility-centered process that will allow Vice Presidents, Deans and Directors to have more control of their budgets.

And speaking of budgeting, the Bear Bucks program, which enables each of us to turn our KU ID cards into debit cards, is being offered to merchants through the Kutztown Community Partnership and the Kutztown Area Chamber of Commerce.

In an effort to offer more lunchtime options, a Hatfield Hot Dog stand will be added to the foyer in the new science building. Now that is progress...

As our mission and vision statements proclaim, Kutztown University is not simply a community of scholars, we are also scholars in the communities whose lives we touch. Ira Blake has headed the office of public engagement over the past 12 months, and working with many people on campus has several significant accomplishments.

The office of Public Engagement laid the groundwork for our expanded presence at the LCCC Donley Center in downtown Allentown, and the results are showing up already. This past year our community college transfer enrollments from Lehigh and Carbon counties jumped 58 percent from their four-year average, while the rate of transfers from Berks, Northampton and Montgomery Counties remained level. A lot of the credit goes to George Paterno, and Ray Campbell for sustaining and building on that groundwork.

It has been said that no nation is so wealthy that it can afford to squander the promise of its youth. Helping under prepared young people master the skills they will need to succeed in college is not just the right thing to do at the individual level, it's the only smart thing to do at the societal level. With that in mind, the Office of Public Engagement has worked to create the Kutztown University Preparatory Academy, through which we partner with public school districts, independent day schools, private boarding schools and community organizations to develop custom preparatory programs for the youth within their sphere of influence. We do this at all levels, starting as early as fifth grade. The research clearly shows that most kids have decided by the age of 11 or 12 whether they have a realistic chance of ever going to college. As a society we must help those who conclude that they do not, realize that they underestimated themselves.

There are a dozen or more such partnerships with schools and organizations stretching from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.

Three national chess champions at the high school level are now Kutztown University students and helping re-establish the KU Chess Club and we have every expectation that the club will quickly gain national status and that KU will continue to attract more nationally ranked high school chess players. And yes, chess players tend to make good college students.

The office, working with the APSCUF legislative liaison Dale Titus and the Office of University Relations has brought several of our state and national elected officials to campus for a variety of events. And without exception they have expressed admiration for the quality of students they encountered and the beautiful campus we are so fortunate to enjoy.

The diversity efforts of a quarter century ago did not always result in a cheerful experience for some of our graduates. There were some neglected fences to be mended. To that effect, we held a two-day "Artist's Homecoming" for African-American artist and alum Dane Tilghman, class of 1979. The event was a great success and the wonderfully coordinated suite of supporting materials, everything from posters to dinner table place cards, featured Dane's work in inspiring ways.

That event was followed by a reunion of Alumni of Color. That event also received excellent reviews from all involved, and will serve as a launching point for continued efforts to invite back into the alumni family, ALL our graduates.

The Office of Human Diversity continues to encourage and enable the development of a healthy perception of diversity within the university community. The improved retention and graduation rates that I mentioned earlier are related in many instances to the services this office provides in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. An increasingly large percentage of our incoming students require the services of this office, which means that incremental increases in demand for many of us are exponential increases in this area.

This past February we opened the doors of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning resource center to serve all those interested in this area. We are truly leading the state system in this effort.

Dr. Elaine Reed has graciously stepped in to act as interim director of the Women's Resource Center and to assist in the national search for a permanent director.

In collaboration with Housing and Resident Life, the Women's Center is distributing and posting fliers and posters to create awareness of safety and healthy lifestyle habits first year students need to know, and of which upper class members need to be reminded. In collaboration with I.T., the office has implemented software solutions that allow differently-abled people to visit our website. As you can imagine, someone with a limited ability to discern colors might have a hard time with some web pages, other people need software that will read the pages to them, or translate them onto a Braille reading pad. Those people can now visit and enjoy our award-winning web site.

The office has hosted open forums on race relations for students, faculty and staff. They host programs and luncheons in various locations around campus featuring one or more cultures; anything from Southeast Asian to Caribbean cuisine. I encourage you all to take part in these celebrations of diversity.

As I take part in these events I am reminded that everywhere is home to someone, and everywhere else is foreign. The office of Human Diversity does wonders to make this initially foreign place feel like home to all our students.

And as more and more of our students graduate and leave their new home to join the ranks of their 50,000 fellow alumni, it has become necessary to enlist the help of a few more people in the Advancement division to keep all the alumni connected to their alma mater.

We have moved to a college-based development model. Alumni tend to be more closely tied to their college than to the university as a whole, so we have assigned a development officer to each of the four undergraduate colleges. They have some significant goals to reach. In the past 12 months private support of KU has increased 15 percent, exceeding the state system performance measure. And our endowment grew at an annual rate of more than 22 percent, again exceeding state system measures.

The Alumni Affairs office has created and launched a very attractive Alumni e-newsletter that is generating a good deal of very positive feedback. The Tower magazine, out of University Relations, is generating twice as many letters to the editor and class notes submissions as it did a year or so ago. And our coverage in the area newspapers continues to exceed that of all the other colleges and universities in the area combined.

It is so abundantly obvious, if one will take a moment to look about, that we are a family of talented, hardworking professionals. The campus looks great, our students are learning, persisting and graduating at higher rates. Our alumni are increasingly involved and financially supportive and our image continues to grow and expand.

Thank you all for coming this morning. Congratulations on the wonderful accomplishment of the past 12 months, and thank you in advance for the outstanding effort and spectacular results I know you will accomplish in the months ahead. Have a wonderful year!