The calendar indicates that we are in the fall season, but the beautiful weather we are enjoying for the past few days feels like mid-Spring (except for the foliage on the trees). A few weeks into the start of our new academic year, our campus is in full swing and I thoroughly enjoy when I see students on campus. Interestingly, I have noticed that when walking around campus, most students tend to remove their ear plugs when approaching me because they know I will stop to chat with them. That is awesome and I enjoy getting to know our students.
For me, the start of the school year is similar to New Year’s Day. It’s the start of something new. A fresh start. And, quite honestly, I was growing somnolent of the quiet campus, so I’m happy to have everyone back.
While our faculty and students are back in the classrooms and other learning environments, we are hard at work charting our future course with momentum building toward our new strategic plan and reaffirmation of our accreditation by the Middle States Higher Education Commission. We have many fun things planned, too, and I invite you to join me for one or more events. Some of these events are highlighted below.
Judith and I genuinely appreciate the support of our campus and local community members who attended the State of the ‘Ville and Garden Supper on September 6. It was a glorious evening and a wonderful way to start the new academic year. For those who missed the event, you can still watch it or the video highlights on the President’s Webpage. Also, as promised, we have compiled a comprehensive list of faculty and staff accomplishments from 2018-19 to share with the campus community.
As I said in the State of the ‘Ville address, THIS WILL BE A GREAT YEAR FOR ALL OF US! I hope your semester is off to a good start.
Based on data recently received from the Chancellor’s Office, Millersville was one of the few institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to witness enrollment growth this fall. We have 7,817 students this fall at Millersville, compared to 7,781 at this time last year. Of those students, approximately 1,300 are new freshmen and 500 are new transfer students. Here are a few facts about those students:
- Average high school GPA is a 3.43
- Over 40% of our incoming freshmen have a 3.5 GPA or higher
- 11% of new freshmen and transfers earned a perfect 4.0 GPA
- The average SAT score was 1080
- Average ACT score is 22
- The average transfer student GPA was a 3.04 from prior colleges
- This class is enrolled in majors from 60 different areas, representing nearly every program offered at Millersville
- The most popular majors this year include Biology, Business Administration, Exploratory, Early Childhood Education and Psychology.
- 190 new freshmen and transfer student-athletes
Geographically, we welcome students from local cities and towns and from around the globe. Ninety one percent are from Pennsylvania and the rest come from states such as California, Kansas, Illinois, Montana, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia.
We also have 37 freshmen from 15 countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Turkey.
And, we are joined by 15 new faculty members for this fall semester. I enjoyed meeting them during the weeklong orientation. A warm Marauder welcome to all the new members of our community.
Something for Everyone
Coming up this Saturday, September 28 is our Fall Admissions Open House, where we will show off our campus to potential students and their families. It is a great opportunity for our faculty to highlight their academic programs, for our staff to feature their co-curricular and student engagement programs, and for our visitors to marvel at our beautiful campus. Our annual Breast-A-Ville is October 2, a great way to kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I am really looking forward to two of our named lectures in October; Sharif Bey, an American ceramicist, will be with us for the Conrad Nelson Lecture, October 23. The topic of the Brossman Foundation and Ronald E. Frisbie Sr. Science Lectureship is “Hunting Dinosaurs in the Sahara,” October 24.
Those lectures will lead us to Homecoming 2019, October 25 and 26. From the golf outing to seeing our alums at class get-togethers and our outstanding parade, I can’t wait!
And, I’ll be in the stands cheering on our football team, our field hockey team and stopping by for volleyball, tennis and soccer when I’m able. Put on your black and gold and join me in cheering on your favorite Marauders!
Middle States Accreditation and Strategic Plan Update
The All University Council (AUC), an ad hoc group created to enhance input into the development of Millersville University’s 2025 strategic plan, met earlier this month and will meet every other Tuesday, during Common Hour, through May. Subcommittees have been formed to work on specific elements of the 2025 strategic plan. Using an integrated planning approach, we shall incorporate aspects of other plans developed recently across campus such as the Facilities Master Plan, Diversity to Inclusion Plan and the Student Success Plan, into our Strategic Plan.
The Mission Phase Team was the first group of the AUC to begin its work by meeting on August 30 and September 11, with a goal of having a revised mission statement by September 26. That draft will inform the Vision Phase Team’s work and others moving forward. Watch for your opportunity to provide input on the draft mission statements soon.
Meanwhile, Millersville University is in the midst of its “Self-Study” for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The University is accredited by Middle States, but is required every eight years to show that it continues to meet the commission’s standards.
Millersville’s Self-Study looks at assessment in every corner of the University. The team of Drs. Lisa Shibley, Jim Delle and Laurie Hanich, after input from working groups across campus, worked on the draft document over the summer. The team is looking for your input.
Open Forums have been scheduled – and will include refreshments:
- Tuesday, Oct. 1, 10 – 11 a.m. in McNairy Library #117
- Wednesday, Oct. 2, 12:30 – 1:30 in McNairy Library #117
- Thursday, Oct. 3, 3 – 4 p.m. in Stayer MPR.
If you can’t make one of the Open Forums, please give feedback online (password is jsam95).
College of Business Launched
Our students in management and marketing, and accounting and finance, are now part of a brand-new college. The College of Business opened on July 1, 2019 under the leadership of the Provost’s Office. It will allow us to recruit additional students and educate them to meet the workforce needs of our region and beyond. This new college positions us to be a good partner with the business community in the region and our curriculum will help meet the needs of regional industries, while preparing our students for the future workforce.
The interim dean, Dr. Douglas Frazer, and the faculty in the departments of Management and Marketing, and Accounting and Finance, are helping make this vision a reality for our students. We have an outstanding advisory board for the college, which is mainly made up of our successful alumni who are committed to developing a top-notch college, Karen Biondolilo, Bernie Citerone ’73, Dana Chryst ‘81, Joe Garner ‘90, Brian Gladden ‘84, Craig Kauffman ’85, Allon Lefever ‘71, Shane McGrady ‘13, Pete Slaugh and Stu Wesbury.
We’ve already signed two agreements; the first one is with HAAC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College and the second one is with Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, to offer online business courses to graduates of both schools. Our vision is to sign more agreements and build on the base of the college to grow as we work collaboratively with other programs to expand offerings for our students.
“Kenya changed me.” That statement was made by Dr. Marion O’Sullivan, after attending Camp GLOBAL this summer. The concept of Camp GLOBAL is to empower our faculty with resources to lead future study abroad programs that provide outstanding value for our students. It is a new initiative started by the Office of International Programs and Services. Dr. O’Sullivan, along with Drs. Jason Petula, Karen Rice, Aaron Haines, Deborah Tamakloe and the director of International Programs, Dr. Patriece Campbell, formed the first cohort.
Dr. Petula, the faculty coordinator for Internationalization, says the trip enabled faculty members from diverse disciplines to learn with, and from each other. This summer’s trip was in preparation for leading a group of students to Kenya and Tanzania in 2020.
While the Millersville faculty slept in tents, saw new species of plants and mammals, and were treated to panoramic views, they also explored international field placement options for our students.
As Dr. Haines pointed out, the experiences from Kenya will make him more effective in the classroom and increased his global literacy of how professionals conduct their work in Africa.
Our faculty and students need these experiences. As we continue this program, each visit will feature different areas of mutual interest that faculty will be able to use in a more meaningful way to benefit our students.
In the end, we’ll have a set of curricula and programming that will "bring home" to Millersville a global perspective that is life-transforming for our entire campus community.
U.S. Department of Ed Grant for Integrated Studies
The first student was enrolled in the Integrated Studies program at Millersville University in the fall of 2014. This fall, we have 25 students in our program, which is for young adults with an intellectual disability. MU features a four-year liberal arts certificate program that offers individual support in areas of academics, independent living and employment opportunities.
With the support of a multi-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Millersville’s Integrated Studies has become a model for other universities. The University was recently notified that we have been reauthorized for $499,833 for this school year. It’s important to note that we do not spend grant money on the program here. Our Integrated Studies program, directed by Jan Bechtel with faculty advisor Dr. Thomas Neuville, is self-sustaining, with a solid business plan. Instead, we award the money to universities who want to begin their own programs through mini-grants. To date, the consortium has grown to 25 members.
I have had the opportunity to present certificates to some of these young adults at graduation. The smile on their face said it all!
What’s next for Integrated Studies? Dr. Neuville says they would like to work on articulation agreements with community colleges for their students with an intellectual ability. And, the team will be applying for additional grants.