News on the enrollment front is generally positive. Our freshman class for the fall 2015 semester totals 1,571 students, an increase of 4.5 percent over last year's 1,502. The number of international students exceeded even our most optimistic projections, as there are 919 this year, up from 630 last fall. All of these students have given a major boost to regional retailers, and a number of them have commented that you have helped to make them feel welcome. Thank you. We also saw a modest increase in our retention rate. Overall enrollment held nearly steady, coming in at 9,766 students, compared to 9,829 a year ago. There are many who worked hard to make this happen. Please thank them and please join them in our ongoing recruiting efforts; we already are hard at work for next fall. Admissions is hosting a Cardinal College Day Saturday, Sept. 19.
Our market research workshops will begin soon; the first sessions are Tuesday, Sept. 22. We have retained Dartlet, a leading reputation strategy firm, and The Image Group, a Michigan-based branding and marketing firm, to help us with an important research and consensus-building project. This project will take a few months to complete, and ultimately culminate in a new reputation strategy and communication platform for us. Dartlet is an industry leader in research and strategy with a focus in higher education, specializing in a consensus-driven process to achieve authentic results. Their original and proprietary methodology has been delivered to organizations across the country to impressive results. This project will only succeed with your involvement. Dartlet’s method is entirely built around the input of the people who know SVSU the best: all of you! A series of 22 live workshops will be conducted in September and early October, and your voice is absolutely essential to the success of this important work. I urge you to register and participate in these workshops, and for you to encourage other stakeholders to attend as well.
I always enjoy seeing SVSU and our colleagues earn statewide accolades. The latest example comes courtesy of the Michigan Health Council, which lauded us for our Interprofessional Education Activities in the College of Health and Human Services. This has been years in the making and has involved a number of colleagues, including Jean Prast, assistant professor of occupational therapy, who is quoted in the article. My appreciation to all who took part in this.
Hispanic Heritage Month begins next week and we have an array of events and activities planned. The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum will have a student art exhibit on display all next week, and next Wednesday, Sept. 16 they will host an open mic event with Michael Reyes on Mexican/Chicano identity and history. The full list of Hispanic Heritage Month events is available for download as a PDF (1,217kB).
The SVSU Foundation will announce the successful completion of the Talent-Opportunity-Promise fundraising campaign at a celebration event next Wednesday, Sept. 16. The majority of faculty and staff contributed to the campaign; our combined total support is more than $1 million. The generosity of so many – alumni, friends, foundations – has allowed us to establish a number of new scholarships, support new initiatives, and generally increase and enrich our offerings to students. All faculty and staff are welcome to attend. I hope to see you there. Please RSVP online: http://svsu.edu/rsvp/
Many of our Athletic teams opened their seasons this past weekend, and recorded some impressive early wins. The men's soccer team is now ranked No. 6 in the nation for NCAA Division II after two road victories, and the women's soccer team scored a win over the No. 9 team Sunday. The volleyball team went undefeated (4-0) at the Ferris State Invitational, their best start since 2008. Women's tennis stands at 1-1 after avenging last year's loss to Findlay. Football looks to bounce back this weekend after a tough road loss to Indianapolis (I know; I was there), and opens their home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. against Michigan Tech. Go Cards!