Can you feel it? The forward momentum here at Cleveland State University is stronger than ever. With a new semester already well underway, there is exciting news to share:
Meet the Candidates for CSU's Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
As Cleveland State University nears the end of an extensive national search for a Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, please join me in congratulating the following four finalists for this important leadership position (listed with their most recent academic affiliation):
We are halfway through a series of town hall meetings with the candidates. I was gratified to see many faculty, staff and students at the sessions earlier this month with Dr. Moo-Young and Dr. Brown, and I hope that you will attend the remaining sessions with Dr. Mageean (Tuesday, February 12) and Dr. Francko (Thursday, February 14).
These meetings will be held in the Main Classroom Building Auditorium. The sessions begin at noon.
In their opening statements to the campus community, the candidates will outline their vision for CSU and how it can be implemented. Afterwards, a question-and-answer session will provide an opportunity for the assembled faculty, staff and students to address each candidate directly.
I strongly encourage you to participate in the selection process. To view cover letters and CVs from each of the candidates, please visit http://www.csuohio.edu/offices/provost/updates.html.
Board Approves 120-Hour Graduation Requirement and Three-Credit General Education Courses
Student success remains my top priority as president of Cleveland State University. When I formed the Student Success Committee several years ago, I said that the entire CSU community must move together to create and to implement an effective retention and graduation strategy.
The faculty has taken leadership in charting an academic plan that will have an enduring impact on student success. The Faculty Senate unanimously endorsed the University Curriculum Committee's recommendations to cap most baccalaureate degrees at 120 credits and to make changes in the structure of general education that will allow students to complete the distribution requirements more efficiently.
At the January meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees, the Board unanimously adopted the recommendations of the Faculty Senate, which call for these changes to be implemented by September of 2014. In March, the Board will consider recommendations from the Faculty Senate to move the entire curriculum structure to a dominant three-credit model. In addition to saving time and money for students, these bold reforms will go a long way toward improving CSU's pathway to graduation.
Along these lines, the University already has implemented a series of other initiatives. CSU is the first public university in Ohio to offer multiterm registration, which allows students to plan their entire academic year in advance. We're monitoring the progress of individual students through an assertive new approach to academic advising. Grad Express Degree Audit, the online tool that we introduced last year, makes it easy for students to monitor their progress toward graduation.
When CSU switched from academic quarters to semesters in 1999, most courses were kept at four credits. Consequently, under the current system, CSU students typically graduate with more than the 120 credits recommended by the Ohio Board of Regents.
By rectifying this situation, CSU stands to improve student retention and graduation rates — which, going forward, will be key factors in determining state funding for the University. We must do everything within our power to remove any unnecessary obstacles standing between students and their degrees.
The Freshman Class of 2012: A Student Success Story
For proof of the positive impact made by Cleveland State University's commitment to student success, look no further than the current freshman class.
I am pleased to report that our 2012 freshmen finished the fall semester by demonstrating significant improvements over the 2011 freshman cohort in several noteworthy areas. The percentage of freshmen with a GPA of 2.0 or higher increased from 71 percent to 77 percent. The average number of credits earned was up 16 percent, from 10.9 to 12.6. The percentage of credits passed compared to credits attempted also increased, from 76 percent to 84 percent.
CSU also saw gains for freshmen in developmental coursework. Their GPA increased 0.15 over that of their 2011 counterparts, leading to a marked increase in the number of credits earned during fall semester. Developmental freshmen earned 2.6 more credits in 2012 than in 2011.
Even more dramatically, the percentage of developmental freshmen who can be categorized as "progressing very well" (i.e., earning a GPA of 2.5 with no withdrawals) increased from 19 percent in 2011 to 42 percent in 2012. This promising sign points toward enhanced retention for these students.
Indeed, the freshman retention rate from fall 2012 to spring 2013 was 90 percent — the highest on record at CSU, and 3 percent higher than the previous year. Gains in retention were especially significant for developmental students, who showed a 4-percent increase over the previous year, compared to a 1-percent gain for college-ready students.
Overall, the impressive results can be attributed not only to the hard work of CSU's faculty, staff and students, but also to various new initiatives. In addition to offering professional development for faculty who teach freshmen, the University hired five new lecturers in developmental mathematics and first-year writing. We are using Starfish software to monitor targeted freshman classes and to send out alerts to students and to advisors when concerns arise related to attendance or performance. We also have implemented intensive advising for freshmen in developmental coursework.
As we continue to strive toward improving student success for all students, the commendable progress that we have seen among our freshmen proves that CSU is on the right track.
CSU Is No. 2 in Nation for Fulbright Scholars
I was thrilled to learn that Cleveland State University once again is home to the second highest number of Fulbright scholars in the United States. This great honor is a testament to the world-class quality of our faculty.
Our latest group of Fulbright scholars (with the countries where they'll teach and conduct research listed in parentheses) includes Jayne Fuglister (Montenegro) and Rama Jayanti (India) of the Monte Ahuja College of Business, Brian Ray (South Africa) and Milena Sterio (Azerbaijan) of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and Janche Sang (Taiwan) of the Department of Computer and Information Science.
The second-place ranking for the 2012-2013 academic year is shared among eight universities, each with five Fulbright grant recipients. Besides CSU, these institutions include Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Rutgers,Texas A&M, the University of Florida, the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) and the University of Washington.
Among these universities, however, no other university comes close to matching the impressively high concentration of Fulbrights at CSU, where the ratio of Fulbrights to tenure/tenure-track faculty is 1 to 91. At the other universities that share our ranking, that ratio ranges from 1 to 271 at the University of Washington (on the low end) to 1 to 504 at the University of Florida (on the high end).
CSU also ranked No. 2 for Fulbright scholars in 2010-2011. With nearly 50 Fulbright grants awarded to CSU faculty in the past decade alone, the University consistently is among the nation's top universities participating in this prestigious international educational exchange program.
Congratulations to all of our Fulbright scholars, past and present. These outstanding faculty members expand the University's global reach and enrich CSU by bringing an invaluable international perspective to their work here.
CSU Selects Architect for Center for Health Innovation
Cleveland State University has chosen Pelli Clark Pelli as the lead architectural firm for our new Center for Health Innovation.
As you read this, the last remnants of Viking Hall and the Wolfe Music Building are being removed to make way for an iconic building that will serve as the home of the Academic Campus of NEOMED at CSU and our other health-professions programs.
Pelli Clark Pelli brings a wealth of experience to this high-profile project. Based in New Haven, Connecticut, the firm was founded in 1977 by Cesar Pelli, formerly the dean of Yale University's School of Architecture. The World Financial Center in New York City, Malaysia's Petronas Towers and the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong are just some of the stunning buildings that Pelli Clark Pelli has designed around the world. The firm also has an impressive history in Cleveland, where its credits include Key Tower and several Cleveland Clinic buildings.
Pelli Clark Pelli will collaborate with the Cleveland office of Stantec on CSU's Center for Health Innovation, soon to rise on the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East 22nd Street.
As we move from preliminary concepts toward a final design, I am filled with tremendous excitement. Our goal is nothing less than to create a mecca for interprofessional health-care education, with classrooms, laboratories and other contemporary facilities specifically designed to nurture innovation through collaboration.
When it opens in 2015, this major addition to our ever-evolving campus will symbolize CSU's team approach to educating doctors, nurses and other health professionals in a city renowned for its health-care facilities and expertise.
KeyBank Foundation Supports STEM School at CSU
The STEM high-school facilities set to open this fall at Cleveland State University are now one step closer to reality.
A $1.25 million grant from the KeyBank Foundation paves the way for CSU and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to create a STEM school in Rhodes Tower West for 11th and 12th grade students from Cleveland's MC2STEM high school, which offers a special curriculum emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math.
At CSU, these students will find an exciting new academic home, complete with renovated classrooms and laboratories. In the state-of-the-art fabrication laboratory, or FabLab, students will be able to use the latest technology to create objects based on their own designs.
The KeyBank Foundation grant also will provide scholarship support for students who intend to take early college courses and enroll at CSU, as well as budget support that will allow the University to provide professional development opportunities for STEM teachers and graduate-student support for STEM students. Additionally, the grant provides CSU with funds to upgrade a set of classrooms to replace those being devoted to the STEM school.
As you know, CSU and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District already have a successful partnership in place with our Campus International School. It currently serves grades K-4.
Our new STEM school represents another important step toward streamlining a continuum of learning. By immersing high-school juniors and seniors in a university environment at CSU, our goal is to prepare them for success in higher education.
A recent editorial in The Plain Dealer declared: "The proposal to move 11th- and 12th-graders in Cleveland's MC2STEM High School — that's science, technology, engineering and math — to the campus of Cleveland State University this fall sounds like a winner."
The entire community stands to win from this innovative project. On behalf of CSU, I wish to extend our sincere thanks to the KeyBank Foundation for its generous support.
As we continue to work together to establish a best-in-class urban university, I wish all of you — students, faculty and staff — much success in 2013. Cleveland State University is well on its way to making this year another one to remember!
Ronald M. Berkman
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