Another academic year is underway. I’ve already encountered students who went to the right classroom while their professor showed up in the wrong classroom. These things happen... but I expect you to keep them to a minimum. I learned that a lot of students are interested in seeing the president be humiliated; if you show up in the courtyard to get a bucket of ice water dumped on your head, students will be there waiting for you. Kidding aside, please be patient and understanding with students, especially those new to SVSU. Coming to a new college can be a major adjustment, and it’s important to start off on the right foot.
I have received several positive comments from students and parents about how well they were treated during Welcome Weekend. I know a lot of planning and hard work is required to make this go so smoothly. Too many are involved to mention individually, but my thanks to everyone who was part of this effort. I’d also like to express my appreciation to all the faculty, staff and alumni who volunteered to help students move in to their residence halls. Your efforts mean a great deal to the students, and when their parents return home and speak well of their experience at SVSU, all of us benefit.
Our colleagues in the College of Education received a few pieces of good news recently. Ours is the only elementary education program in Michigan to be a nationally recognized program by the Association for Childhood Education International. Also, the Michigan Department of Education has given full approval to our new elementary program. Mary Harmon tells me that faculty members David Cline, Susan Hillman, Carrie Sorenson, Dee Storey and Vetta Vratulis worked diligently on these materials. Thank you.
As I mentioned during my orientation remarks last Thursday, we can expect an enrollment decline when numbers are finalized next week. This drop was anticipated, as the number of high school graduates in Michigan is diminishing, so while there may be some budget belt-tightening, we are still on solid ground financially. Our enrollment focus now turns to recruiting students for fall 2015, and I reiterate that this responsibility rests with each and every one of us. If you know students looking at colleges, encourage them to visit here. We won’t be the right fit for every student, but we have much to offer: strong academic programs, an attractive campus, and a full range of extracurricular opportunities. You should also know that we are not sitting idly by, merely hoping things improve. We are making structural changes to our financial aid packaging, revising our remediation programs for those students who arrive under-prepared academically, and addressing other matters to have us in a better position to recruit and retain students. There is much to be done and I’m counting on each of us to do our part.
It feels good to be back to work. I hope you agree. Enjoy the holiday weekend. We have a lot of positive momentum. Let’s keep it going.