Welcome to my second newsletter, which is part of an ongoing effort to establish, maintain and improve lines of communication with the CSU community.
In addition to this newsletter, I have had numerous opportunities to meet and share thoughts with many university constituencies, as well as the Greater Cleveland community. I have attended numerous meetings with faculty, staff and students on campus, including a Town Hall event, delivered an on-campus State of the University speech, and served as the featured speaker at the Cleveland City Club.
I also review letters and emails from students, parents, staff, faculty members and alumni. I have found that people are not shy about expressing their opinions, and I have personally answered letters and e-mails.
At the Town Hall meeting with students, I was asked to reinstate the office of University Ombudsman to serve as an independent voice and advocate for students and faculty. I want you to know you were heard on this matter. We will be appointing an Ombudsman who will assume the traditional responsibilities of the position. I will announce this appointment in the near future.
We are also in the process of reorganizing University administration units that serve students under a single Vice President. We are calling this new administrative unit Enrollment and Student Affairs. In April, an interim Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs will begin work in advance of a national search to fill this position. As you can imagine, the process of reorganization is complex and will unfold later this spring and through the summer and fall semesters of this year.
While the national search for Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs proceeds, I am pleased to announce that Corrine M. Webb, J.D., will hold the position on an interim basis. Vice President Webb, who has over 35 years of experience in the fields of enrollment, student life and academic affairs, having spent the past 30 years in senior university-based leadership positions in Florida and New Jersey, will assume her new duties in April.
We also have a new student-focused position to announce. It is my pleasure to welcome CSU graduate Collette Appolito as Director of the New Pathway Program. This scholarship program offers qualified students the opportunity to focus on their majors, while also placing them in internships and co-ops related to their fields of study.
Director Appolito served as the President and Executive Director of the President’s Council, an organization of African-American businesses in Northeast Ohio, and Director of the city of Cleveland’s Office of Equal Opportunity. She earned a BA in Business Administration in Finance from Cleveland State. We are excited about connecting our students to outside businesses to help them find jobs after graduation.
The Cleveland State University community is proud that Mary Jane Saunders, Ph.D., has been named President of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. I wish her every success. The interim Provost is Geoffrey S. Mearns, former Dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. We will be conducting a national search for the next Provost, a position that is critical to our mission. Phyllis Crocker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, has been named Interim Dean for the college.
Perhaps the most discussed new project at CSU is our K-12 school, which we are designing with our partner, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. As I have said, we are now in a position to grow our own students and I strongly believe that a top flight K-12 school in downtown Cleveland will help attract faculty and professionals to the heart of our campus.
We have an ambitious plan to adopt the International Baccalaureate program’s framework while also drawing on the Asian model for after-school programming. The school’s initial foreign language focus will be Chinese.
This innovative project is a public school in partnership with a public university. An agreement will specify the roles of the two institutions as they work together to develop this innovative school. The initial location will be at the First United Methodist Church, East 30th and Euclid Avenues, starting with K-2 for the first year until reaching K-12 by 2015-2016.
On May 4, Ohio voters will have the opportunity to extend the visionary Third Frontier Program for another four years. This heralded investment program, which funds cutting-edge research and high-tech entrepreneurship, has been credited with helping create more than 41,000 new, good-paying jobs over the last eight years. More importantly, it has restored some of the luster to Ohio’s once-proud reputation as a center of innovation.
Third Frontier is truly an investment in our future, targeting resources at projects promising the greatest economic potential, as determined by independent, non-partisan review. These grants are the seeds that will grow into the new and revitalized industries that will lead Ohio to economic recovery.
The $700 million bond issue on the May ballot will continue this important program through 2014. I urge everyone in the CSU community to support the Third Frontier ballot issue.
In 2007, the Northeast Ohio Universities Collaboration and Innovation Study Commission released its report calling on the region to strengthen the future of medical and health-related education and research. Included in this recommendation was adding Cleveland State University to the B.S./M.D. program at NEOUCOM. Chancellor Eric Fingerhut adopted a similar strategy in the University System of Ohio’s Ten Year Strategic Plan including an expansion of NEOUCOM’s presence in Cleveland, which was later approved by the Ohio General Assembly.
The CSU/NEOUCOM collaboration is important to the advancement of CSU’s focus on developing its health science programs to serve the region. The initiative ties the high quality medical education, patient care and employment institutions in the city of Cleveland, including the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, to the education, research, community outreach and workforce development programs of CSU.
The CSU/NEOUCOM initiative has advanced quickly. In January 2010, NEOUCOM President Jay Gershen and I initiated a request for proposals process that resulted in the selection of the Huron Consulting Group. Huron is working collaboratively with both institutions to develop a series of recommendations regarding the planning, design, and implementation of the program initiatives. We also named a Steering Committee, which convened in late February and was given the following charge:
“…make programmatic recommendations consistent with each institution’s mission and strategic goals while recognizing the realities associated with resources, politics, and the cultures of both institutions. The Steering Committee’s recommendations will include possible program initiatives, the timeline for implementing these initiatives, and the identification of the challenges as well as the milestones for successful implementation.”
The CSU Steering Committee members include:
Bette Bonder, Ph.D.,Dean, College of Science
Tim Long, Director of Budget
Barbara Modney, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept of Biology
George Walker, Ph.D., VP Research and Graduate Studies
Ex-officio: Stuart Mendel, Ph.D., Special Assistant to the President
In follow-up to the requests that CSU begin a football program, an on-line vote/referendum will be held for all undergraduate and graduate students. This vote will be held in conjunction with regularly scheduled student government elections April 12 – 14. A student Forum will be held Wednesday, March 24 at 3 p.m. in MC Atrium to discuss a possible football program. A second, more general Town Hall meeting sponsored by SGA, at which I will be available to answer questions, will be held March 31at 3 p.m. in room 134 of the MC. A third opportunity for questions and input will be Friday April 9 at 2 p.m. in the MAC gym of the Rec Center.
We are moving on the right path as an urban university as we continue to beat enrollment records at Cleveland State. We are now 16,000 students strong. And we will keep growing as we build new dorms, buildings, and a potential arts center in downtown Cleveland.
This is just a snapshot of all that is going on at Cleveland State. Future editions of this newsletter will keep you informed of progress on the projects mentioned here, as well as report on new initiatives.
Once again, I am honored to be serving as your President.
Ronald M. Berkman