Convocation 17Millersville University’s Convocation was held on September 8, 2017 in the Winter Visual & Performing Arts Center on campus.  President John M. Anderson gave his “State of the University Address,” updating the campus community on the University’s strategic plan, Our Bold Path, and addressing concerns and tasks that remain a priority as he rounds out his tenure in the spring semester.

In the last several years, the University put an emphasis on engaging learners, one of the three goals in MU’s strategic plan. This goal focuses on high-impact practices like study abroad, internships, undergraduate research experiences and living-learning communities. Many professors and students traveled abroad in the last year including the president himself who traveled to Honduras with Drs. Karen Rice, Heather Girvin, and Kelly Kuhns and 10 students.

“On the trip, I met two nursing students, Ria Patel and Domonique Scott,” Anderson said of his experience. “They never met until this trip. One was enrolled in our face-to-face BSN program and the other in our new, online nursing program. In my conversation with them, as well as with other students, I heard first-hand how this type of hands-on educational experience is life-transforming.”

Other high-impact practices highlighted included: a 14 percent increase in undergraduate research dollars; almost 400 students presented at Made in Millersville, a 15 percent increase over the prior year and the largest number of students presenting in the three-year history of the program; expanded living-learning community offerings to include the arts and humanities, business, education, science and technology, and social sciences students; approximately 63 percent of students living in the Villages are co-located in the same residential community as their academic college.

The president reported that 95 percent of alumni who graduated in 2015-16 reported employment, or were enrolled in a graduate or professional school, six to 10 months after graduation. Approximately 82 percent who reported full-time employment stated that the position was related to their major.

Regarding the goal of embracing agility, the University increased the retention rate for underrepresented students 2.2 percent from fall 2015 (70.3 percent) to 72.5 percent. Rates for students who identify as African American/Black are projected to increase 7 percent in the same time period.

At the recommendation of an agility team, the University launched ‘Ville Daily, a once-a-day email for faculty, staff and students, which eliminated the hundreds of mass emails previously sent.

The president said the University focused heavily on sustainability in the last year including successfully piloting an energy management dashboard with 10 campus buildings, which saved approximately $100,000 in utility costs. The Lombardo Welcome Center is well under way and will be the University’s first net-zero energy building when it opens in the spring.

Millersville continues to ensure its long-term success by reducing costs and generating revenue.  Over the past three years the institution has reduced costs approximately $8.9 million and generated $15.2 million in net revenue. The University closed each of the last two fiscal years with a modest surplus.

“During these trying financial times, it has always been important to us to preserve the academic programming for our students and we have done so, in large part by implementing  revenue generating strategies such as increasing out-of-state student enrollment and implementing our tuition model, as well as freezing a number of administrative positions,” Anderson said at convocation. “Even so, with the current budget model and uncertainties at the state level, we need to continue to be conservative with our resources.”

The University exceeded fundraising targets, raising over $22.9 million in total giving since 2014. In addition, more than $6 million in external grant funds were awarded to MU faculty and staff during 2016-17.

This fall, Millersville welcomed the largest freshman class since 2004—an estimated 1,370 students. Incoming freshmen scores for both SAT and ACT have improved. We have increased the number of new, out-of-state, first-time freshman, transfer and international students by more than 10 percent in the last year.

Addressing the upcoming change in leadership, Anderson noted “In preparing for my successor, the vice presidents and I are working on transition documentation that will highlight issues and opportunities. As part of the leadership transition, the new president will engage with the University community in the upcoming Middle States 2020 decennial review process and use that to put their  mark on the University’s next strategic plan.”

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