Ventures Winter 2016 - Page 4

NEWS BRIEFS PRESIDENT'S PER SPECTIVE Cheryl Wilson Appointed Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences A Look Back, A Look Ahead Ventures (V): Looking back at the year 2016, what stands out to you as some of the more memorable moments/events/discussions? Kevin J. Manning (KJM): It was a big year. A lot happened, and a lot of people worked hard to get us there. For one thing, we received the two largest private gifts in our history, the naming gifts for the Beverly K. Fine School of the Sciences and for the Sandra R. Berman School of Nursing and Health Professions. These are significant gifts in two ways. One, of course, will be supporting the academic programs, supporting our students and our faculty. But they are also a round of applause that you’re doing well. They say, “We want to invest in this institution, we want to help you keep growing.” In athletics, we just hired Aldis Berzins, an Olympic gold medalist, to coach our men’s volleyball team. This brings a new excitement to the program. On a national level, our football team was nationally ranked for the first time since they started playing in 2011. That’s a pretty big accomplishment for a program that’s only five years old. Also on the national level, we were recently recognized by the new Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education list of best colleges in America for our career preparation and student satisfaction with their educational experience. Stevenson is among the top 20 percent of colleges and universities nationally in average annual salary earned by its graduates and in the diversity of its student body. Rankings like this and the U.S. News and World Report rankings are really significant, when you think about it, because we’re on the same list as universities that have been around for 100-200 years compared to our nearly 60 years. I think that these results really testify to the value of a Stevenson education and the hard work and commitment of people throughout our campus community. And finally, this fall, we opened a 200,000-square-foot stateof-the-art Academic Center housing our Berman School of Nursing and Health Professions, Fine School of the Sciences, and programs of the School of Design. This is a building significant to the University—it adds legitimacy and serves as a centerpiece for the campuses. We’re really excited about the possibility of this new space for years to come, both for our current students and for helping to attract and retain prospective students. It provides much-needed space and modern teaching and learning spaces. V: In your opinion, how did we achieve these highlights? KJM: Several years ago, we set some outcomes focusing on two strategies to support recruitment and admissions: our distinctive career planning process, Career ArchitectureSM, and competitive Division III athletic teams. We know that career planning is of real 2 | VENTURES/WINTER 2016-2017 President Manning with Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel, who visited Stevenson’s campus on Oct. 25 prior to his Baltimore Speakers Series appearance. interest to parents and students and that athletic teams account for more than 30 percent of the undergraduate enrollment. Today, we’re seeing two major critical outcomes from this planning: improved academic ranking and student retention. Our strategies have helped move our admitted students’ average high school GPA from 2.93 to 3.10 in 2016. We have also seen average SAT scores improve from 998 to 1026, and retention has gone from 69.0 percent in 2011 to 75.5 pe rcent in 2015. Those of us who have been in higher education for our entire careers understand the significance of these numbers. V: As we approach your last several months at Stevenson, what are some things that the community should anticipate? KJM: Looking ahead, there’s a lot going on. We brought in the higher education consulting firm of Credo, based in North Carolina, to help us create a state-of-the-art Student Success Center, which is now being completed on the Owings Mills campus. The center will include specialists in student coaching, veterans affairs, disabilities, and study abroad, to mention just a few. We have to complete the Middle States report, and we have to do it well. This is crucial for keeping our accreditation, and without that, we can’t get financial aid from the federal government. And of course, we must hire an exemplary leader, and the search committee is doing an exemplary job. This has been, and will continue to be, a very thorough, mindful process with many steps and many people involved. I have complete faith that the best person will be found to continue on as president of Stevenson University. What we have achieved during the past 10 years—in academics, recruitment, and retention—has taken other institutions decades to accomplish. As we look toward the future with a new president and a reaccreditation on the horizon, there will always be challenges but there are also tremendous opportunities for the University. We can look to the years ahead with confidence and a renewed vigor because of the foundation that we have created together. On Aug. 16, Cheryl Wilson, Ph.D., took the role of Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Wilson has an extensive background in teaching, scholarship, and administrative leadership. According to Susan Gorman, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Wilson’s career reflects “a high level of energy, enthusiasm, and focus.” Wilson, who earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware, most recently served as the Chair of the Klein Family School of Communications Design at the University of Baltimore. Other positions she held at UB included the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fellow, the Special Assistant to the President (Student Success Initiative), and the Program Director for English. Prior to her time at the University of Baltimore, Wilson served as the Coordinator of the M.A. Program in Literature at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Dr. Wilson impressed members of the Stevenson University community with her extensive knowledge of higher education issues, her successes in the important area of assessing student learning, and her strong work ethic,” Gorman says. Stevenson Among Top 20 Percent in WSJ Rankings In September, Stevenson was ranked among the top 20 percent of colleges and universities nationally in average annual salary earned by its graduates and in the diversity of its student body as determined by the inaugural Wall Street Journal/ Times Higher Education College and University Rankings. The rankings also surveyed students directly on three factors, whether 1) they consider that their college was the right choice for them; 2) is it worth the money; and 3) their education effectively provides preparation for a career. Student respondents “strongly agreed” that Stevenson meet all three criteria. The WSJ/Times rankings include only 1,061 U.S. colleges and universities that completed the survey out 4,000 institutions nationwide. These rankings take a deeper look at factors such as student engagement, campus environment, and postgraduate success as measures of educational quality. Says Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., “All of these results testify to the value of a Stevenson education and the hard work and commitment of people throughout our campus community.” STEVENSON.EDU | 3