State of the College - 2014
State of the College – Reunion Weekend 2014: Dr. Helen J. Streubert, President
During Reunion Weekend 2014, members of the classes ending in 4's and 9's had the opportunity to hear Dr. Helen J. Streubert, President of the College of Saint Elizabeth, deliver the "State of the College Address."
In case you missed it, you can read President Streubert's speech in its entirety below.
Good morning and welcome on behalf of the faculty, staff, administration and, most importantly, the students of the College of Saint Elizabeth.
I want to first introduce or re-introduce you to the President's Cabinet. I ask that they each stand as they are introduced: The senior member of the team is Dr. Carol Strobeck, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs who will be retiring in just two weeks. Next is Kathy Buck, Vice President of Student Life. Maria Cammarata is Vice President for Finance and Administration. Carol Pisani is Special Assistant to the President for Mission and Values. Janice Hill is Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Bill Allen is Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management and is not able to join us this morning. Thank you all for the great work that you do daily on behalf of this wonderful institution.
I would also like to thank three people who are integral to planning and execution of this event – Debbie Martin, Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Kathy Culley and Robyn Leavy. Would you please join me in a round of applause for the great work these individuals have done to assure that you have a wonderful reunion.
I would also like to recognize the members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Would those who are here please stand: Mary Jane Meschino, Lorena Tyson, Barbara Parker, David Moran, did I miss anyone? Can we offer them a round of applause? Thank you!
Let me tell you a little bit about all of the great things going on on campus.
As you know, we are a College of approximately 1500 students. One-third of our students are in the Women's College; one-third are men and women in continuing studies; and one-third are men and women in our graduate programs.
- Women's College deposits this year have surpassed last year's enrolled number of 124. We have 130 deposits. We are well on our way to the goal of 150 new freshmen.
- Transfer applications are the second highest in recent history.
- Graduate enrollments are growing every day. We will admit a new Psy.D. and Ed.D. cohort. The Psy.D. is a clinical rather than a research doctoral degree.
- Continuing studies enrollment are on par to meet our targets. The newest program is our one-year, full-time RN-BSN program. This is a very popular program and we will have a cohort at Trinitas Medical Center in Elizabeth, NJ, and one on campus this fall.
- You have probably noticed that we have a new look on the website. The staff in this area have been working extremely hard to update our look and information. They also have me tweeting. You can follow me on Twitter @CSEPresHJS.
- We learned yesterday that we have been recognized as a College of Distinction. This recognition comes based on a nomination from a high school guidance counselor. There is then an interview process and ultimately a decision as to whether we qualify to hold this designation. We believe this has the potential to increase our Women's College enrollments.
- This year we hired a half time athletic recruiter to build on the success of our athletic teams. FYI – we are looking for alums who were on athletic teams. We are hoping sometime in the future to develop a Sports Hall of Fame.
- New Vice President of Enrollment Management, Alex Scott, will begin on Monday. Alex comes most recently from Long Island University in Brooklyn and previously he worked at Fairfield, Felician, and Rutgers.
- We continue to assess our academic programs and look for new opportunities. This year, the faculty approved a new program in Health Care Administration. We have also revised our education curriculum to create a five-year program – bachelor's to master's. Re-focusing our graduate Health Care Administration track has also been important.
- We have received approval from the Dietetics accreditation group to add 20 more interns to the program. This will double the program size and presents a wonderful opportunity for the College in a very distinctive major.
- Trish Heindel, Professor of Psychology, has received two significant grants this year: One is a NoVo Foundation award of $600,000 over three years. These funds support Professor Heindel's project which focuses on social and emotional development of children. Secondly, she and her colleague from Rutgers University will receive $40,000 funded by the Community Health Committee of Atlantic Health to support their ongoing work in the Culture and Climate Assessment Lab.
- We are actively engaged in partnering with Learning House, an online learning company. This partnership will give us significant power in marketing of online programs as well as expertise in course development.
- This spring we hosted a very successful nursing accreditation. We will host TEAC next academic year. TEAC is the accreditation group for education programs.
- We will run a program this summer in the sciences for 15 high school students. The initiative is supported by Johnson & Johnson.
- In the fall, we will begin enrolling students in a new pre-law program that has embedded within it the opportunity for paralegal designation.
- I am pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas Barrett in Psychology was successful in his application for Full Professor and tenure.
- Dr. Carol Strobeck will retire at the end of the month after 35 years at the College. Carol has served in multiple positions. One of her most significant accomplishments is establishing the first off-campus education site.
- I have heard that there is concern among some of you about the decision to move some of our Sisters who are on the faculty from part-time to adjunct status. The decision was made in conversations with Congregational leadership of the Sisters of Charity and reflects the current teaching role of those whose status is changing. They will maintain their offices on campus and roles in the life of the institution. I anticipate their continued presence on campus.
- Frank Sargent has been named new Vice President of Academic Affairs. Frank comes to us from Johnson and Wales. He is an attorney, retired military and a pilot.
- For those of you who are interested in joining our faculty and students, we will be hosting a trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland – July 6th to the 16th, 2015. Forty students, alumni and friends are already signed up. You will find more information on this trip on our website if you type in ALPINE JOURNEY.
- June 29th to July 2nd we will host our first Writers and Artists Workshop. Mark Doty a nationally known poet will be the featured presenter. He will be joined by Mary Brancaccio, Ginny Butera, Roberto Carolos Garcia, Peter Kirn, Lynne McEniry, Yesenia Montilla, Rocco Scary, Jane Seitel, Lisa Sisler, Laura Winters and others. If you are interested, please visit www.cse.edu/artistsandwriters for more information.
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
In the area of Finance and Administration this past year, we have instituted some new opportunities to engage the CSE community in the new realities of higher education.
- One of these initiatives is the Budget Advisory Committee. This committee is composed of a cross section of employees, staff and a student who worked with the Office of Finance and Administration to prepare recommendations on how to move forward in a time of national decline in 18-year-olds attending college. One of their major recommendations to me and the Board of Trustees was to hold our tuition flat. At the present time, CSE has the highest tuition of any of the small private religious affiliated institutions in the immediate area.
- We also moved to support a Re-imagining Task Force. This group of employees fielded from all of our employees ideas on how to raise non-tuition revenue and increase efficiencies. As a result of their work, we are now renting out our shared athletic fields, renting vacant rooms in our residence halls, expanding outside use of Annunciation Center, and replacing our lighting with more energy efficient lights.
- This fall we opened our new lacrosse and soccer fields. These fields are shared with the Academy of Saint Elizabeth. Through an agreement with Coke, we will soon place a scoreboard on the field.
- In the past year, Governor Christie made available capital and equipment funds. We are the intended recipients of 2.4 million dollars in funds through his bond issues. However, in order to receive the funds, we must raise one million dollars before December 31, 2014. With that said, we are a little over a quarter way to our goal. If you are interested in supporting this important initiative, please talk to me or Janice Hill.
- This past fall, we were recognized for the quality of our Annunciation Center conference facilities.
- The Annual Employee Service Award Ceremony was held on April 21st. Approximately 150 people attended the ceremony. We recognized 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35-year employees. Twenty-five year employees Katherine Buck (Student Affairs), Monica Luby (Food and Nutrition) and Dr. George Sirgiovanni (History) received the distinguished Kelligar medal. Sister Kathleen Flanagan (Theology) and Dr. Patricia Heindel (Psychology) were honored for 30 years of service, and Sister Irma Kessler (Biology) and Dr. Carol Strobeck (VPAA) were recognized for 35 years of service.
- On July 17th, we will have the CSE night in the Greek Theatre presented by the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ. The play is the "Learned Ladies." Please plan to see the play. If you can't join us on the 17th, there are multiple opportunities to see the play in June and July.
- Debbie Martin and her staff became part of the College on February 1. The office is now called the Office of Alumni Relations. This move was made to enhance operations, maintain health care benefits for the staff and to build stronger relationships with you – Our Alumnae.
- Our fundraising priorities for this year are meeting the match requirements for the bonds, increasing the available scholarships for our students, and endowing the Holocaust Education Resource Center.
- We have received some large gifts from alumnae: $250,000 for the science lab renovation; $195,000 for endowment of the Elizabeth Singers and refurbishing our Steinway and new practice pianos; and $100,000 for the Holocaust Education Resource Center.
- The Annual Fund goal is set at $1.2 million. The annual fund has two components: restricted, which is used mainly for scholarships; and, unrestricted, which is directed to operations. We close the books on June 30th and we are working hard to achieve the goal. We are currently about $250,000 behind our goal. I am asking you to consider making a gift or adding to your existing give so that we can achieve this goal.
- NJ Bonds – we need to raise the $1 million or the College will lose the funds.
- The Center for Ministry and Spirituality has received a $100,000 award in support of the Center's newest efforts – Intercultural and Multicultural Competencies: Challenges and Gifts for the 21st Century. Half of the award will be used to support the newly launched Hispanic Leadership Institute; the remaining fifty percent will fund the establishment of a northeastern hub for implementation of the United States Council for Catholic Bishop's Multicultural Competencies at the College of Saint Elizabeth for all parish and diocesan ministers on the east coast. The College and the USCCB will partner in this endeavor.
- In the area of Communications and Marketing, we have received some wonderful press on our speakers and major activities this year including: Victoria Kennedy's Convocation Lecture, President Obama's Inauguration poet Richard Blanco's reading, the Kristallnacht celebration, the presidential inauguration and many more.
- On July 14th, we will welcome a new Vice President of Institutional Advancement. The contract has not been received yet, so I am unable to share the name or credentials of the individual but you should be hearing soon.
[Editor's Note: CSE is pleased to welcome Sally Cleary as the new VP of Institutional Advancement. Sally is a C.F.R.E. (Certified Fundraising Executive) and comes to us most recently from Hunterdon Medical Center Foundation of Hunterdon Healthcare, where she served as Director of Fund Development. She previously worked at Centenary College and National Interfaith Hospitality Network (now Family Promise).]
MISSION AND VALUES
In the area of Mission and Values, there has been good solid work also.
- On December 4, 2013, we celebrated Founders Day. Our honoree was Dr. Patricia Bryant, a leader in New Jersey K-12 education and graduate of the College's Ed.D. Program.
- On Saturday, April 5, 2014, the Center for Ministry and Spirituality welcomed more than 300 participants to its Annual Spirituality Convocation entitled Transformation and Hope.
- On January 29, 2014, we held a candlelight vigil to stand in solidarity for those affected by human trafficking and domestic violence. This event coincided with the Super Bowl because of the violence perpetrated around the time of this national event. It was attended by approximately 150 faculty, staff, students and community members.
- The Center is working closely with the Sisters of Charity on the upcoming beatification of Sister Miriam Teresa, which you will hear more about this morning.
- Currently, the staff in mission and ministry is preparing for the Summer Institute offering theological courses for both credit and audit as well as a twilight retreat and a retreat on the life of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, SC, and how her life can inform ours in this 21st Century. The retreat will be led by Rev. Richard Fragomeni and Sister Kathleen Flanagan, SC.
- We established a Mission Integration Task Force this year to ask ourselves as a Catholic institution of higher education whether there is the necessary integration of mission and values in our work. The major recommendations from this group include:
- We will continue to foster Catholic identity throughout the entire learning community so as to further that identity and build on how it impacts our world with its 21st century gifts and challenges;
- To continue our newly initiated community service opportunities for faculty and staff so as to give first-hand experience of our mission and values at work in the community;
- We will also initiate first-year student retreats at the beginning of their college career for immersion into mission and values of this institution. This will contribute greatly to their spiritual formation and provide greater access to relationships and a caring community with the intention of improving retention.
Many programs and services are offered throughout the year, the highlights have been:
- Fall Fest – our family day celebration, which some of you remember as Oktoberfest!
- We celebrate the diversity of our student body through our Around the World Series, at which students share their culture, history, food, song and dance, in a variety of settings throughout the year, culminating in our traditional "International Night" where our entire community comes together along with Japanese students visiting from our sister institution, Fuji University, to celebrate our diversity.
- The Fuji students arrived on campus on March 21st and headed back home to Japan on March 28th. They had a full week of cultural, educational and experiential learning experiences.
- Our students also developed and implemented a week-long "Anti-Bullying" project, which included a host of activities such as Chalk for Change, a body image workshop featuring speakers from Morris Cares, and an Empowerment Luncheon.
- We graduated 420 students: 240 of these were undergraduates, 170 were master's and 10 students completed their doctoral studies. Heidi Sorvino, nationally known attorney, daughter of Barbara Sorvino, Class of 1954, was our commencement speaker. Sr. Regina Martin Keane was awarded an honorary degree posthumously for her significant contributions to the College and her life's work in Catholic primary education.
- As shared earlier, we have made an investment in athletics. We know athletics plays an important role in the recruitment, retention and development of our students. Therefore, we have invested in enhancing this important program. We work collaboratively with the Sisters of Charity and the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, and as you are probably aware, several years ago we were able to turn our all-purpose field into a beautiful tennis/softball complex, and this past year we constructed a new soccer/lacrosse field on campus as well, much to the delight of the student body. At the same time, we have also moved into a more competitive athletic conference NCAA (DII). Additionally, I am delighted to report that our student-athletes also outperform their peers academically as well! The average GPA for our student-athletes is 3.3. Well worth the investment! In fact, one of our three-sport athletes also served as President of the Student Government Association and scored 1,000 points in basketball.
- We have partnered with an international women's networking group, 85 Broads, for programming. Two examples of this collaboration are our Backpack to Briefcase and Dress for Success Programs.
- Our Women's College students are deeply invested in service to the community. They average 3,000 hours of community service annually.
- Our full-time freshmen persistence rates rose by 2% this past year. We know, nationally, that students who are engaged persist at a much higher rate than those who are not.
- The College community has been deeply engaged in strategic planning this year. We are in the final stages and are on time to deliver to the Trustees for their September Retreat a plan for approval and funding.
- Finally, we are deeply involved in preparation for Middle States re-accreditation. The site visit will take place in the spring of 2016.
- Personal Request – Bethematch.com
So that you will have time to hear all about the upcoming beatification, I will be happy to answer any questions you might have about my report after this session or at any time over the day. THANK YOU!
Dr. Christine Bailey Wahl's Reunion Speech
Mary Jane Meschino's Reunion Speech
See Photos from Reunion Weekend 2014