2005 State of the University Address
Welcome back for what promises to be an exciting new
academic year. I hope you all found an opportunity for a little
downtime to refresh and reinvigorate for the coming year.
Last year at this time, when I welcomed you back, I said that
we were bigger and better than ever before. I am pleased to tell
you the same is true this year. Our student population continues to
grow, not just in first-time freshmen, but in graduate enrollment
and transfer students as well. We have added new degree
programs in the past 12 months, and increased the number of
collaborative agreements we have with universities across the
I would like to begin by recognizing the Kutztown University
Council of Trustees here with us today:
- Ron Frey
- Dianne Lutz
- Rich Orwig
- Guido Pichini
- Jim Schwoyer
- Kim Snyder
- Ramona Turpin, Chair of the Council
- Leigh Vella
- Jack Wabby
.... and I would like to point out that Guido Pichini was
recently appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be
with us today. We have new faculty and staff who have joined us
this year (please stand). Welcome to the Kutztown University
family. I am sure you will find that Kutztown is a very warm and
Each year at this time we invite representatives of the Senate
and bargaining units to bring greetings. I'd like to invite Bill
Bateman, president of the University Senate, to make a few
(BILL BATEMAN SPEAKS)
Thank you Bill, and thanks to all the members of the
University Senate, you play an invaluable role in the life of the
I'd now like to invite Gary Brey to bring greetings on behalf
(GARY BREY SPEAKS)
Thank you, Gary, for those comments. We all are looking
forward to another action-packed semester.
I would now like to invite Candi Calhoun to offer a few
comments on behalf of AFSCME.
Thank you Candi, and thanks to all of you who are the
backbone of this university.
It is also a tradition of our opening day festivities that we
acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments of one faculty
member. It is now time to name the 2005 recipient of the Arthur
and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in
Teaching. Before we announce this year's winner, however, I
would like to recognize the previous faculty award recipients.
Please stand as I call your name:
- Prof. Patrick Duddy, Biology (retired)
- Prof. Jack Schellenberg, Physical Science (retired)
- Prof. John Landis, Communication Design (retired)
- Prof. Ed Evans, Math/CIS (retired)
- Prof. Allida McKinley, History
- Prof. James Ogden, Marketing
- Prof. David Peterson, Audio-visual Communications (retired)
- Prof. John Loomis, Physical Science (retired)
- Prof. Kathleen Dolgos, Secondary Education
- Prof. Tom Schantz, Art Education and Crafts (retired)
- Dr. Arifeen Daneshyar, Economics (who claims he'll never retire)
Thank you, again, for setting an example for us all. I would
like to ask the Kutztown University Alumni Board President,
Maria Wassell to join me in presenting this year's award, and a
check for $2,000, to professor of geography and faculty athletic
representative to the NCAA, Dr. Robert Ziegenfus.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, Kutztown
University is getting bigger. The Class of 2009 is one of the
largest in our history. We continue to see double-digit annual
increases number of applications we receive. Our residence halls
are full and nearby off-campus housing is scarce.
In the past several months we have shifted our marketing
efforts to those few areas where slack resources exist. And once
again, we have seen double-digit increases - in summer school
enrollment, transfer enrollment, graduate enrollment, and
participation in both credit- and non-credit-bearing offerings
through our office Lifelong Learning and Professional
Development. Also, for the first time this past summer, we began
to offer Educators' Workshops to meet the continuing education
requirements of Pennsylvania's public school K-12 teachers.
But we're not just getting bigger, we're also getting better.
We are admitting better, brighter students from a broader
background than ever before. Diversity among the staff and
student body continues to mirror that of the communities we serve,
while the average SAT score of our incoming students continues to
rise as well.
We will continue to attract more and better students as we are
able to provide more and larger scholarships. Toward that end last
year we held our second scholarship ball, and it was a great
success, bringing the two-year total to more than $110,000 for
scholarships. Last year's ball also featured the surprise
announcement of a $1 million gift from an alumni couple, Bill
Ribble and his wife, Joanne.
The ball committee has been busy for the past several months
arranging this year's ball, which will be Saturday, November 5.
But we won't be holding it here, at Keystone Arena. This year
the ball will be held at the former Tri-Quint facility in
Breinigsville, now the site of Kutztown University's life long
learning, Tek Park. This facility was acquired by one of our
alums, and our plan is to use to build new programs that will
enhance our campus offerings and help us achieve our strategic
goal of serving the needs of the region. Let me emphasize that our
focus will be in new initiatives and programs, for which Tek Park
is ideally suited.
As you know, the State System has an Accountability Plan
that assesses the performance of the universities according to a
series of specific measures. Based on past performance data, we
are evaluated against specific targets for each measure. We are
also evaluated against a nationwide group of peer institutions that
provide us with a benchmark. I would like to share with you some
of this year's results. Of 64 measures, we met or exceeded our
goals in 56.
Last year I was happy to report that one of the goals we had
set for ourselves, and which we accomplished, was an increase in
our six-year graduation rate. I am happy to report that this year we
met our improvement goals in the four-year graduation rate, but
much remains to be done in this area.
The efforts so many of you are making in our retention and
persistence efforts are showing results across the board. The
pursuit of a university degree is a marathon for many of our
students who have to juggle one or two jobs and family obligations
with their studies. It is always such a disappointment when, for
whatever reason, a student quits the race before the finish line is in
sight. I am delighted, and I commend you all, for the fact that we
and our students suffer that disappointment less and less from year
At this point, I would like to ask Provost Linda Rinker to
share with you some additional accomplishments in the academic
The Academic Affairs Division is actively dedicated to
excellence in learning and to the success of all our students. We
seek to prepare students to meet lifelong intellectual, ethical, social
and professional challenges by providing quality programs with a
Here are some highlights from the past 12 months:
The development and launch of new programs, tracks, concentrations and minors in:
- German Studies
- Music Education,
- Religious Studies in the Philosophy department
- Globalization in the Geography
- Instructional Technology in Library Science
- Coaching Education in Elementary Education
- Digital Classroom Technology in the Instructional Technology Master's program,
- and a degree designation of Bachelor of Science in Library Sciences as an addition to the Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Library Science degree.
- We've also added minors in Biochemistry, Musical Theatre, and Pennsylvania German Studies
The College of Business continues to work with a
consultant from the Association to Advance Collegiate
Schools of Business in preparation for application for
The College of Education continues preparation for the
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
(NCATE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education
(PDE) site visits in February.
The Master of Social Work program passed "benchmark
three" of four assessment steps in their accreditation process
and should receive full accreditation next spring.
Chemistry faculty hosted a site visit from the American
Chemical Society and reviewed their self-study.
The Computer Science program began the accreditation
process with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and
Technology (ABET) in the Fall of 2005.
The Nursing program was granted the maximum eight-year
accreditation by the National League for Nursing
Accreditation Committee (NLNAC).
The Art Education and Crafts, the Communication Design,
and the Fine Arts programs underwent accreditation reviews
by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
The Music program underwent accreditation review by the
National Association of Schools of Music.
The General Education Restructuring Team met weekly, in both
Fall and Spring, with every conceivable constituency to receive
and process input and feedback. One major accomplishment was
approval - by 72 percent of the faculty - of the new mission and
goals for General Education.
The six-year graduation rate for the entering class of Fall, 1998
increased to 50.4 percent from 48.2 percent for the Fall, 1997
cohort, and the four-year graduation rate for the cohort entering
Fall 2000 increased to 27.7 percent from 24.1 percent for the Fall,
For summer 2005 we created a new professional development
program for working teachers which was well received.
We are pleased to report that the high school grade point
average, class rank, SAT scores and the predicted grade point
average have all improved significantly in the last five years.
Academic Affairs continued recruiting students of color and the
percentage of students of color is currently 15.34 percent among
1955 freshmen students.
Academic Affairs, continued recruiting efforts for students of
color and the projected number of students of color for Fall, 2005
increased by 15 percent matching the record percentage from Fall,
2004. Many initiatives were conducted to support this plan. To
name just a few:
Created a Kutztown University Preparatory Academy
(KUPA), a group initiative designed for first-generation,
- Upward Bound Math/Science (UBMS) serving Allentown and Reading schools
- Traditional Upward Bound Program
- Allentown Academic Alliance
- Roberto Clemente Academic Alliance
- KUPA Bridge Program
- Fredrick Douglass Leadership Day Camp
And finally, we have added a few new names to the
leadership ranks. Dr. Bashar Hanna has joined us as the new
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Bashar, if
you would please stand. Dr. Eileen Hogan has been
selected as the new Dean of the College of Business. Eileen you would please stand.
Dr. James Hubbard is our new Director of International
Studies. James you would please stand. Thank you, and thank you to all the faculty
and staff in the academic area. We have accomplished great
things, and even greater successes await us.
Thank you, Provost Rinker, for sharing with us the
accomplishments within the area of academic affairs. I would like
to emphasize one of the points you made: this is the year when we
will complete our General Education review. I believe the
committee has developed an outstanding model that will put us in
the forefront of higher education at the national level. The
completion of the Gen Ed review is our highest academic priority
In addition to all those worthy efforts, there have been a few
other things going on around campus of late. We have broken
ground on the Academic Forum. This facility will include seven
classrooms ranging in capacity from 85 to 200 students, a coffee
bar and three informal food facilities. It will also be a more
conveniently located home to the mail center and copy center. As
you can see from the architect's renderings, the building will be
both functional and attractive. The central feature in the two-story
atrium will complement the beauty of Alumni Plaza and the
graduate center ceiling. It will be a wonderful addition to the
artistic elegance of the campus.
As you all, no doubt, noticed as you came in this morning,
we are well along with the construction of the new student
recreation facility. When it opens in a few months, followed a few
months later by the Academic Forum, we will truly have the very
best facilities in the state system to create sound minds in sound
bodies. And we will not stop there. Plans are on the drawing
board to renovate the Sharadin building and Schaeffer Auditorium
to ensure those facilities are consistent with the quality and
tradition of our programs in the visual and performing arts.
You may also have noticed activity in the stadium. We have
installed synthetic turf that will allow for greater use of the facility
and reduced maintenance costs. We resurfaced the track and will
add lights in the near future. The press box was repainted and the
old logo and word mark were replaced with the new ones.
Let me also update you on the mold issue. As many of you
may be aware, the combination of an unusually long spell of high
heat and humidity this summer, along with aging HVAC systems
in some of our older buildings, created some mold and mildew
concerns. The main problem was in Rickenbach, but there were
also isolated areas in DeFrancesco and Lytle that were affected. I
am happy to tell you that both DeFrancesco and Lytle have been
returned to "normal", with only some minor aesthetic work yet to
be completed. While Rickenbach will be cleared for occupancy
and normal use by our Indoor Air Quality consultants as of
tomorrow morning, reconstruction work will take the next several
weeks. The contractor will be working at night, after classes, to
complete this work to ensure the least impact to our academic
Last year I mentioned the introduction of new logos, and I
said we had almost a dozen national vendors licensed to apply
them to sports apparel, headgear, house wares and various other
items. Our logos are now licensed by more than 50 national
vendors, and the licensing program is beginning to generate a
profit that will be used to fund scholarships. If you don't see KU
items in your local sporting goods and athletic wear stores, ask for
I'd like to point out also, that Kutztown University is a
member of the Workers' Rights Consortium, a watchdog group that
monitors the working conditions under which items bearing our
logos are produced.
Although that sounds like a commercial plug, I make those
comments as prologue to this: One of the key elements in
enhancing the image of any institution is awareness. People
cannot have an opinion about us if they never heard of us or don't
recognize us when they see or hear our messages in various media.
An essential element in awareness is identity, and that requires a
consistent, frequent presence in the communities we serve and with
which we interact.
I have been delighted, these past two years, with the campus
wide adoption and consistent use of the new university and athletic
logos and the incorporation of our new slogan - Learn ... to Make
a Difference, in support of our marketing efforts. Everything from
lapel pins and office stationery to billboards and new buildings has
been brought under the identity umbrella as repairs, improvements
and replacements have given us that opportunity.
We have been working on a signage and way finding plan for
some time. This summer saw the execution of that plan. I want to
commend Jim Sutherland, Jeff Grimm, Carol Sztaba and the entire
facilities crew for the beautiful new signage around campus and for
the fact that the signs are such a wonderful complement to the
university identity plan. The Kutztown University campus is truly
a beautiful and, now, increasingly functional physical facility.
Provost Rinker shared with you some of the highlights of the
past 12 months in the academic area. I'd like to share with you
now a few of the accomplishments from the other divisions.
The Division of Information Technology achieved a dramatic
reduction in network slowdowns by dividing the one KU wired
network into two parallel and redundant networks, one for
residential students and the other for all academic and
There are now secure wireless networks on North Campus
and South Campus, with numerous indoor and outdoor accesses.
Early indications are that the wireless networks are very popular.
I.T. installed more than 2,000 Windows and Apple
microcomputers last fall as part of the triennial replacement
Working with the Academic Technology Committee, and
Academic Affairs, I.T. added a smart classroom support specialist
to the IT staff and created more than 30 additional smart
classrooms. We now have more than 110 classrooms that need
routine technical support and trouble-shooting. We are working on
more rapid deployment and backup capabilities and have arranged
for outsourcers to provide preventive maintenance on all smart
classroom equipment in off hours throughout the year.
I.T. and the Academic Technology Committee completed a
long-range strategic plan which was adopted by the University
Senate in May 2005. The valuable insight into the anticipated
needs of the academic community is a wonderful example of
building a "shared vision" of the technological future of KU,
which has been a key objective for the past several years.
As we see in the media on a daily basis massive data and
identity thefts, denial of service attacks, malicious viruses,
spyware, and even incidents of cyber terrorism are increasingly
pervasive. As one step of many to come, new student e-mail
addresses have been issued which no longer contain a portion of
their social security number. I.T. has also deployed the McAfee
anti-spyware package to go along with its anti-virus product, which
is also available to each of you for home use at no charge.
Please look in your mailbox today for many important
updates from I.T. in the latest edition of their Interface newsletter.
The Division of Student Services and Student Life has
redesigned its annual report and placed it on the web. The report
has fewer charts and more feature stories. It puts the student's face
on the efforts and accomplishment, the planning and execution of
activities in support of our students.
The division also saw several colleagues either retire or
advance their careers with new jobs elsewhere. Among the new
faces this year is Greg Bamberger, our new Director of
Intercollegiate Athletics. Greg brings 15 years of experience in
intercollegiate athletics and comes to us from Glenville State
College in West Virginia where he served as Athletic Director.
We look forward to his continued leadership in the athletic
arena, and in the other important area for our student athletes - the
student part. Last year our freshmen athletes had a GPA that was
12 percent higher than the class as a whole. The research has
shown, and our experience has borne out, that involvement in
activities outside the classroom actually improves performance in
the classroom. And by the way, in between practices,
competitions, classes and homework, our student athletes
contributed more than 1,600 hours of community service.
That is a commendable number, and it is right in line with the
overall number for the entire student body, who contributed 39,000
hours of community service last year. That's equivalent to more
than 20 full time employees. If you were to average the salaries
and benefits of the municipal employees in the area, that amounts
to about $1 million a year in labor that our students - and many of
our faculty and staff - donate to the community.
Some of the things we do include the program at Lauer's
Park elementary school in a low-income area of Reading.
Individuals from several areas in Student Services visit throughout
the year not only with the students, but their parents as well, to
help them realize that going to college is a realistic aspiration for
them, not a forlorn dream.
And the Connections program goes to great lengths to
minimize the culture shock many freshmen experience, living
away from Mom and Dad for the first time, with people who may
not look and sound just like them. The success of the program is
reflected in our improving retention rates.
Another contributor to our retention rates is the President's
Roundtable on Alcohol and Other Drugs. I'm not sure why they
call it the President's Roundtable: Doreen Tobin does all the work.
And I am delighted to tell you that everyone knows that. The
Caron Foundation named her Educator of the Year in the area of
drug abuse and addiction. Perhaps next year we should call it the
Associate Vice President's Roundtable. Thank you, Doreen, for
your tireless efforts.
Other forms of service include our future teachers, who visit
schools throughout Berks and Lehigh Counties as part of the
America Reads program, to help young people develop their love
Several of our Greek and other service organizations take
part in Operation Snowflake, shoveling the driveways and
sidewalks of elderly residents of the borough. And while they do it
they wear bright, fluorescent green vests sporting the university
Chick, and the dozens of dedicated individuals who surround
him, do much, much more than I have time to mention this
I have already mentioned several of the projects completed,
planned or underway in the Administration and Finance area, but
in addition to all the building going on, the division has several
other projects in the works.
This coming March we will begin construction on a new
heating plant, and remove the current working museum from the
center of South Campus. And the design phase for renovations to
Sharadin will move into high gear this fall, with Schaeffer
Auditorium right behind.
The shuttle bus showed a 62 percent increase in ridership
during its second year, with more than 127,000 passengers on both
the on-campus and off-campus routes.
The office of human resources opened a training center to
help new and current employees alike with everything from tips
and guidance on job searches to stress management and
Perhaps the most sweeping change underway in the finance
area, chaired by Bill Bateman, is a review of the entire budgeting
process by a committee comprising faculty, staff and
administrators, with the goal of moving away from a highly
centralized process to a responsibility-centered process that will
allow Vice Presidents, Deans and Directors to have more control
of their budgets.
And speaking of budgeting, the Bear Bucks program, which
enables each of us to turn our KU ID cards into debit cards, is
being offered to merchants through the Kutztown Community
Partnership and the Kutztown Area Chamber of Commerce.
In an effort to offer more lunchtime options, a Hatfield Hot
Dog stand will be added to the foyer in the new science building.
Now that is progress...
As our mission and vision statements proclaim, Kutztown
University is not simply a community of scholars, we are also
scholars in the communities whose lives we touch. Ira Blake has
headed the office of public engagement over the past 12 months,
and working with many people on campus has several significant
The office of Public Engagement laid the groundwork for our
expanded presence at the LCCC Donley Center in downtown
Allentown, and the results are showing up already. This past year
our community college transfer enrollments from Lehigh and
Carbon counties jumped 58 percent from their four-year average,
while the rate of transfers from Berks, Northampton and
Montgomery Counties remained level. A lot of the credit goes to
George Paterno, and Ray Campbell for sustaining and building on
It has been said that no nation is so wealthy that it can afford
to squander the promise of its youth. Helping under prepared
young people master the skills they will need to succeed in college
is not just the right thing to do at the individual level, it's the only
smart thing to do at the societal level. With that in mind, the
Office of Public Engagement has worked to create the Kutztown
University Preparatory Academy, through which we partner with
public school districts, independent day schools, private boarding
schools and community organizations to develop custom
preparatory programs for the youth within their sphere of
influence. We do this at all levels, starting as early as fifth grade.
The research clearly shows that most kids have decided by the age
of 11 or 12 whether they have a realistic chance of ever going to
college. As a society we must help those who conclude that they
do not, realize that they underestimated themselves.
There are a dozen or more such partnerships with schools and
organizations stretching from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.
Three national chess champions at the high school level are
now Kutztown University students and helping re-establish the KU
Chess Club and we have every expectation that the club will
quickly gain national status and that KU will continue to attract
more nationally ranked high school chess players. And yes, chess
players tend to make good college students.
The office, working with the APSCUF legislative liaison
Dale Titus and the Office of University Relations has brought
several of our state and national elected officials to campus for a
variety of events. And without exception they have expressed
admiration for the quality of students they encountered and the
beautiful campus we are so fortunate to enjoy.
The diversity efforts of a quarter century ago did not always
result in a cheerful experience for some of our graduates. There
were some neglected fences to be mended. To that effect, we held
a two-day "Artist's Homecoming" for African-American artist and
alum Dane Tilghman, class of 1979. The event was a great success
and the wonderfully coordinated suite of supporting materials,
everything from posters to dinner table place cards, featured
Dane's work in inspiring ways.
That event was followed by a reunion of Alumni of Color.
That event also received excellent reviews from all involved, and
will serve as a launching point for continued efforts to invite back
into the alumni family, ALL our graduates.
The Office of Human Diversity continues to encourage and
enable the development of a healthy perception of diversity within
the university community. The improved retention and graduation
rates that I mentioned earlier are related in many instances to the
services this office provides in compliance with the Americans
with Disabilities Act. An increasingly large percentage of our
incoming students require the services of this office, which means
that incremental increases in demand for many of us are
exponential increases in this area.
This past February we opened the doors of the Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning resource center to serve all
those interested in this area. We are truly leading the state system
in this effort.
Dr. Elaine Reed has graciously stepped in to act as interim
director of the Women's Resource Center and to assist in the
national search for a permanent director.
In collaboration with Housing and Resident Life, the
Women's Center is distributing and posting fliers and posters to
create awareness of safety and healthy lifestyle habits first year
students need to know, and of which upper class members need to
be reminded. In collaboration with I.T., the office has
implemented software solutions that allow differently-abled people
to visit our website. As you can imagine, someone with a limited
ability to discern colors might have a hard time with some web
pages, other people need software that will read the pages to them,
or translate them onto a Braille reading pad. Those people can
now visit and enjoy our award-winning web site.
The office has hosted open forums on race relations for
students, faculty and staff. They host programs and luncheons in
various locations around campus featuring one or more cultures;
anything from Southeast Asian to Caribbean cuisine. I encourage
you all to take part in these celebrations of diversity.
As I take part in these events I am reminded that everywhere
is home to someone, and everywhere else is foreign. The office of
Human Diversity does wonders to make this initially foreign place
feel like home to all our students.
And as more and more of our students graduate and leave
their new home to join the ranks of their 50,000 fellow alumni, it
has become necessary to enlist the help of a few more people in the
Advancement division to keep all the alumni connected to their
We have moved to a college-based development model.
Alumni tend to be more closely tied to their college than to the
university as a whole, so we have assigned a development officer
to each of the four undergraduate colleges. They have some
significant goals to reach. In the past 12 months private support of
KU has increased 15 percent, exceeding the state system
performance measure. And our endowment grew at an annual rate
of more than 22 percent, again exceeding state system measures.
The Alumni Affairs office has created and launched a very
attractive Alumni e-newsletter that is generating a good deal of
very positive feedback. The Tower magazine, out of University
Relations, is generating twice as many letters to the editor and
class notes submissions as it did a year or so ago. And our
coverage in the area newspapers continues to exceed that of all the
other colleges and universities in the area combined.
It is so abundantly obvious, if one will take a moment to look
about, that we are a family of talented, hardworking professionals.
The campus looks great, our students are learning, persisting and
graduating at higher rates. Our alumni are increasingly involved
and financially supportive and our image continues to grow and
Thank you all for coming this morning. Congratulations on
the wonderful accomplishment of the past 12 months, and thank
you in advance for the outstanding effort and spectacular results I
know you will accomplish in the months ahead. Have a wonderful