Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
I hope all of you are enjoying summertime opportunities for relaxing time with good friends and family. While there are fewer students on campus, there is still much activity with Connection Days, summer camps, and the customary array of construction and other projects. And as always, in many different ways, there is much preparation underway for the 2013-2014 academic year.
If you have read the summer edition of our spectacular magazine, or caught sight of one of our billboards on Route 422, you have noticed our most recent marketing initiative called Get Real! The campaign draws attention to a distinctive feature of an Alvernia education - experiential, “real-world” learning. From employers to educational experts and from national reports to media stories, “high impact” hands-on learning opportunities are now seen as an essential component of a high quality college education. Recent alumni tout their benefit, and potential students expect a diverse set of such offerings.
Fortunately, it is an area of strength and expanded opportunity at Alvernia, with most of our students already engaging in one or more experiential learning initiatives, thanks to the efforts of many across the university. From our emerging new general education program to our academic majors to co-curricular opportunities sponsored by University Life, Athletics and Recreation, the Holleran Center, and the O’Pake Institute, we have abundant resources and creative potential to become a leader in this regard as we are already in community service and civic engagement.
Hard to believe it was less than five years ago, as Alvernia celebrated our 50th anniversary (and as the economy tanked!), when we launched our first comprehensive fundraising campaign to help support the vision and priorities of our Strategic Plan. This fall we will bring the Values & Vision Campaign to a successful conclusion, thanks to many generous community members, trustees, alumni, faculty and staff. We have already exceeded our $27M goal and recently crossed the $30M threshold. We will hold a campus-wide celebration in October, linked to the annual President’s Dinner and Homecoming Weekend.
As we look ahead to the coming year, we can also take satisfaction in our excellent first steps toward reaccreditation of the university through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. This past spring, our Middle States Steering Committee developed a comprehensive self-study design document to serve as a blueprint for the institutional evaluation process over the next two years. Following a campus visit and strong endorsement by Dr. Sean McKitrick, vice president for the MSCHE and institutional liaison for Alvernia’s review, our self-study design was highly praised and approved by Middle States.
Middle States accreditation and experiential learning both are important dimensions of academic quality, the focus of the Board’s annual June retreat. You can read more about the June meeting and other topics in this newsletter. Please follow the links at the bottom of each page or jump to a specific section through left-hand navigation on each page.