Although the economy is slowly turning the corner, I continue to see and hear stories about colleges that are still being forced to make cuts. In contrast, Nazareth has weathered the economic storm quite well. This past fall we had the largest freshman class in our history. Not only was it the largest in size, but it also included the second highest number of top rated students and it was our most diverse class. This current semester, both our undergraduate and graduate enrollments exceeded the targeted numbers.
Unlike many other institutions, we did not have to make cuts in staffing and we did not impose any general hiring freeze. As far as I know, we were the only college in the area to give annual salary increases.
We also were able to move forward on a number of important initiatives. We opened the new Nazareth College Arts Center on time and on budget. We made substantial progress on the integrated math and science building, a new facility that will serve our liberal arts curriculum, as well as our growing professional programs in health and human services and our efforts to respond to the need for more math/science teachers. Assuming we can secure funding, we hope to have shovels in the ground a year from now.
We established our Center for Civic Engagement and hired its first executive director. This Center represents an exciting collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Development, allowing us to coordinate and expand our commitment to the community at large.
On a programmatic level, we received approval from New York State for the following new programs: bachelor of science in graphics illustration, bachelor of arts in women and gender studies, bachelor to master’s program in occupational therapy, and an advanced certificate in critical urban and community education.
These are just a few of the many achievements that occurred during the year, despite the economic challenges. We were able to have a successful year because our fiscal decisions were made with a great deal of care and against the backdrop of two overriding principles. First, we intend to maintain the high quality of our educational programs. Second, we want to maintain existing positions and avoid the need to lay off staff or faculty. These two principles, of course, are related. It is because of the faculty and staff that we are able to maintain our high standards and quality education.
At the end of the Experience Naz lunch for families and students we had a performance by our female singing group, Call4Backup. The performance was a real treat, thoroughly enjoyed by all. As I listened, I was reminded that at the end of the day the state of the college is excellent because we continue to attract a wonderful group of hard-working, talented, and committed students.