January 16, 2013
I am very pleased to announce that President Ronald Berkman has agreed to extend his contract and serve Cleveland State for three more years. This afternoon, the CSU Board of Trustees unanimously approved the extension to 2017 with an enthusiastic endorsement of the President's transformative vision and key initiatives that have unquestionably advanced this University in a short period of time.
The Board is confident that under the leadership of President Berkman, CSU will continue to prosper and become a best-in-class urban university, driven by student success and strong faculty.
Since 2009, when President Berkman became the sixth president of Cleveland State, CSU has undergone a rebirth. He has enhanced the University through key partnerships that leverage assets within the community and the region, including a groundbreaking collaboration with Northeast Ohio Medical University that will foster urban health care.
President Berkman has made student success a top priority in his presidency, initiating several new policies aimed at dramatically improving graduation and retention rates, such as a robust new online degree audit program, intensive counseling, multi-term course registration and course wait lists.
Increasing the ranks of faculty also has been at the center of the president's academic initiatives with the recent allocation of $1 million per year earmarked for new full-time tenure and tenure-track professors to be placed in high-priority areas. In all, more than 24 professors have been added to the CSU faculty.
During President Berkman's tenure, the University's research and development expenditures have nearly quadrupled, elevating CSU into the ranks of the top 200 U.S. universities for R&D. CSU this year again was ranked second in the nation for Fulbright scholars, and the University has witnessed its two largest single financial gifts from Monte Ahuja and Bill Julka.
President Berkman is the driving force behind CSU's new Center for Innovation in Health Professions, a state-of-the-art facility that will serve as the headquarters of the Academic Campus of NEOMED at CSU and set new standards for health care education.
With President Berkman at the helm, the University completed a $500-million campus makeover and extended its reach into the heart of Cleveland's theater district, where he envisioned an entire arts campus around the Allen Theatre. Extending that plan, we look forward to film and digital media moving into PlayhouseSquare alongside the many other programs already there.
President Berkman has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving not only higher education in Cleveland, but also education at the primary and secondary levels by way of the thriving Campus International School and the new STEM high school set to open this fall on the University campus.
Under President Berkman, the University this year welcomed not only the largest freshman class in CSU history, with 1,600 students, but also one of the most academically gifted. Freshman applications have reached a 30-year high, and freshman classes have become more diverse year after year.
Please join me in congratulating President Berkman on an outstanding job, and in wishing him continued success as we continue to work toward an even brighter future for Cleveland State University.
Robert H. Rawson Jr.
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