President Geraldine M. Jones shared her “pride in what we’ve accomplished and excitement about what lies ahead” Feb. 19 during the spring faculty-staff convocation.
“When we look at them collectively, we can see how our achievements add up, and how their positive momentum is moving our entire University forward,” President Jones said.
Beginning with academics, which she called the heart of Cal U’s mission, President Jones pointed out the 14 degree programs — nine undergraduate and five MBA — in Cal U’s Department of Business and Economics that have been newly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Seven other academic degree programs were re-accredited this past fall, bringing the total number of accredited programs at Cal U to more than 50 in all.
“In many disciplines, accreditation makes a real difference,” she said. “Prospective students and their parents may seek out accredited programs as an assurance of academic quality and excellence in teaching. Graduates can point to program accreditation as a sign that their education met the highest professional standards.”
In addition to program-level accreditation, it’s essential that Cal U maintain its overall accreditation status with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, President Jones emphasized.
The University is halfway through a two-year self-study, and 12 committees are working to produce a comprehensive self-study report as Cal U prepares for a re-accreditation visit by the Middle States Peer Evaluation Team next spring.
“Maintaining our accreditation will require a fundamental shift toward more accountable and data-driven decision-making,” President Jones said. “Our self-study is focused on the future: Its ultimate purpose is to improve our University and inform the mission and goals of our strategic plan for the years 2020 through 2025.
“This is truly a campus-wide effort.”
In spite of the “small victories” that President Jones reported, Cal U’s student headcount has declined by roughly 6 percent compared to last spring. Nevertheless, “we are looking to the future,” the President said, and a number of critical investments in new faculty and staff positions have been made during this fiscal year.
One upcoming addition to Cal U’s administration is Thomas “David” Garcia, who begins his new role as vice president for Enrollment Management beginning March 4.
He is expected to provide strategic leadership for the newly organized division, “steering it toward success with a ‘students first’ attitude, data-based decision-making and an entrepreneurial spirit,” President Jones said.
Before her closing remarks, President Jones announced that two new awards will honor outstanding staff members.
The Vulcan Exceptional Service Award will recognize a staff member who has provided outstanding customer service to students and their families, fellow employees or community members. The Vulcan President’s Circle Award will honor a staff member for exceptional job performance, with a special focus on collaboration, University pride or innovation.
Award recipients will be selected by a Staff Recognition Program Committee, led by the director of Human Resources.
Details of the staff recognition program will be available soon.