President Highlights Commitment to Academic Excellence

Sep 16, 2019

At Faculty-Staff Convocation, two staff members are honored for their customer service.

president jones

A commitment to maintaining high academic standards is paying off, President Geraldine M. Jones said in her remarks at Faculty-Staff Convocation on Sept. 12.

First-year students entering Cal U have an average high school grade-point average of 3.27 this fall, exceeding the average of 3.17 for incoming students last year.

The number of entering freshmen with a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher rose by 9% this fall, compared to last year, and Cal U saw a 12% increase in first-year students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

“Even in a highly competitive market, we are maintaining our standards,” President Jones said. “Year after year, we are enrolling more students with excellent academic credentials.”

The number of transfer students is slightly higher than a year ago, she said. 

The Enrollment Management team is developing a five-year strategic plan to address enrollment challenges.

Initiatives include ensuring scholarships are used most effectively to boost enrollment, introducing new academic programs in molecular biology and veterinary technology, and adding concentrations in high-demand field such as corporate communication, forensic investigation and cyber forensics.

Cal U and other schools in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education have joined Re-Up, a cost-effective program that identifies and engages with adults who have some college credits but no degree.

Despite an enrollment drop, Cal U closed the 2018-2019 fiscal year with a shortfall of just 1% of the total budget. 

“Your careful spending made that possible, and I thank you all,” President Jones said.

“All of us are making do with less as we work to keep this year’s deficit within bounds.”

The President also updated faculty and staff on the University’s effort to be reaccredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Dozens of faculty, staff and students have been hard at work on the self-study report as Cal U prepares for a site visit from the Middle States accreditation team next spring.

“In order to earn reaccreditation, our University must demonstrate that it is building a campus-wide culture of assessment,” said President Jones. “We must show that we are setting goals, measuring results and using that data to drive improvements that benefit our University and our students.”

By continuing to work together, President Jones said, Cal U will remain a special place.

“Our University has weathered many changes over the years, and each time we have emerged stronger,” she said.

“We can do it again. We owe it to our students – past, present and future – to build a more secure and sustainable future for Cal U.”

Staff honors

At Convocation, President Jones announced the first recipients of two prestigious awards that recognize staff members for outstanding job performance and customer service.  

Cindy Speer, administrative assistant for the Department of History, Politics, Society and Law, received the Vulcan President’s Circle Award.

Rhonda Gifford, director of the Career & Professional Development Center, won the Vulcan Exceptional Service Award.

The Vulcan President’s Circle Award recognizes a staff member for outstanding job performance. The Vulcan Exceptional Service Award honors a staff member who consistently provides superior service to students, parents, fellow employees and/or community members. 

These awards were announced last spring, and members of the campus community were invited to submit nominations to the awards committee, led by Eric Guiser, director of Human Resources. 

“Staff members play a critical role in University operations and campus life and serving our students is so important,” said President Jones. “Our first two awardees demonstrate Cal U’s commitment to excellence in everything they do.”