Office of the DeanJanuary 2018
Welcome back to campus after what I trust was a restful winter break.
As we begin a new semester and a new year, I want to start with a thank you to everyone in the College. Two years ago, I shared a Roadmap to advance the College toward our aspiration of emerging as a leader in innovative liberal arts education and scholarship. The degree to which we have met those goals, thanks to the efforts of all in the College, is striking.
We have made noteworthy progress to Strengthen Undergraduate Education, Upgrade Graduate Education, and Enhance Faculty Excellence. Our ongoing conversations will move us toward our goal to Expand Revenue Sources.
In 2018, we will continue to reach toward the goals outlined on the Roadmap, which is updated for this year. The document reflects both our progress and our objectives for the coming year.
When the Roadmap was developed, it was in response to immediate concerns within the College. In particular, undergraduate recruitment and enrollment had reduced the number of majors and the number of credit hours taught in the College and graduate stipends that were at the bottom of the Big Ten limited our ability to recruit students and made it difficult for our graduate students to make ends meet. Those were acute problems.
With your determination, we have made progress on undergraduate enrollment with an 11% increase in new beginner students compared to Fall 2016. This academic year is the first time since 2011 that we have welcomed over 500 new students to campus. This comes after losing 40% of our majors between 2011 and 2015. Undergraduate credit hours across the College increased modestly this fall semester compared to last year after losing 20% of our credit hours between 2011 and 2015. Moreover, we have made a number of meaningful adjustments to our graduate programs and increased the minimum stipend across the college from $13K in Fall 2015 to $18K in Fall 2018. The Roadmap assisted in our efforts to address these pressing problems.
Now, the ground under our feet is more stable, as we have a made important progress. At this juncture, to continue to move toward our goal of being a leader in innovative liberal arts education and scholarship demands a longer range plan.
With that in mind, I have retained Rab Mukerjea to lead us in a college-wide process of strategic visioning and planning. Many of you may remember Rab, who was executive director of strategic planning and assessment at Purdue from 2001-13 and continues to serve as a special assistant to the president. With his leadership, we will initiate a year-long effort to build out and institutionalize the goals outlined on the Roadmap to move us forward with an eye toward advancing the College guided by a vision that carries us through to 2025.
Over the coming weeks, I will reach out to faculty, staff, and student representatives from across the College to participate. I am committed to process that is transparent, collaborative, and aspirational. I am confident Rab will lead an engaging and rewarding set of conversations that will help us chart a productive course for the next several years.
Once again, please accept my thanks to all of you for your efforts over the past two years to position us for this next set of conversations about moving the College forward.
Best wishes for a productive spring semester,
David A. Reingold
Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts