St. Scholastica President Larry Goodwin delivered his spring State of the College address on Jan. 21 in the Mitchell Auditorium, covering a variety of topics including spring enrollment, plans for expanding the Science Center, and the role of the newly formed President’s Leadership Group in his 40-minute presentation.
Goodwin began his address by discussing St. Scholastica’s spring enrollment, saying that more students are enrolled than the college budgeted for, resulting in a $1.5 million budget surplus.
President Goodwin said 3,496 students are enrolled at CSS this spring, 18 more than the projected 3,478. “The classes are full,” Goodwin said, “This should put us on track for a $2.6 million bottom line.”
President Goodwin also mentioned that there are almost as many non-traditional [graduate, ADEP, and online] students enrolled as there are traditional students this spring. There are currently 1,971 traditional students enrolled, and a combined total of 1,525 non-traditional students enrolled at CSS.
Goodwin spent the majority of his address discussing plans for an addition to the Science Center. “Our science facility is over 40 years old and was designed for 800 students,” Goodwin said. “Now it serves over 3,000.”
President Goodwin presented four design options for the science addition, explaining that the Board of Trustees had narrowed the field to two possibilities, labeled Option A and Option B.
Option A is approximately 25,000 square feet of space in front of the Science Center and would cost approximately $12.8 million. Option B, which would be slightly larger and cost about $13.5 million, would be built over the parking lot behind the Science Building.
“Don’t panic!” Goodwin joked, anticipating student reactions to the loss of parking spaces. Goodwin explained that additional parking could be created on the opposite side of the building.
Both options have pros and cons, but President Goodwin shared that Option B is the favored plan.
“We’re tilting towards B,” he said, after explaining that Option B, while a bit more expensive, wouldn’t compromise green space or necessitate altering the front of the Science Center as Option A would. Additionally, Option B would allow the college to reclaim 3,000 existing feet of space in the Science Center..
The cost of the project will be met by three sources: fundraising, bonding and college equity. President Goodwin said that $3.87 million has already been raised for the addition.
Goodwin is hoping that the Board of Trustees will pass Option B at their Feb. 12 meeting. Construction would then begin in the spring of 2011 and be ready by the fall of 2012, in time for the College’s centennial.
Another topic was the newly formed President’s Leadership Group, made up of 50 to 60 faculty, staff, department chairs and deans. The group is tasked with helping identify and solve the college’s problems, as well as identify and take advantage of opportunities with which the college is presented.
By analyzing the college’s scores in three surveys, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the Collegiate Learning Assessment and the Great Colleges to Work for Survey, the group has determined that CSS is overall toward the middle of the peer pack. This average rating has served as inspiration for Goodwin’s call for action: moving from good to great.
Goodwin explained that the group would be addressing the concerns raised in the annual mission and values survey. “Overall, we are toward the middle of our peer group,” Goodwin said.
The goal of the leadership group is to move the college from good to great in the next five years. Borrowing from part of a Jim Collins quote, Goodwin stated that setting the criteria for moving the college from good to great depends on how effectively the College can deliver on its mission and make an impact, relative to its resources.
The President’s leadership group has identified a multitude of ways to become a great college, including reducing key class sizes in the introductory science classes, increasing the proportion of first year classes taught by full-time faculty, preparing the for Higher Learning Commission’s accreditation visit in 2012, and focusing campus attention on the Benedictine values.
Goodwin concluded his address by speaking about the recent disaster in Haiti, the CSS Haiti Relief concert, and a Haitian nursing student who was in contact with a St. Scholastica nursing alumna whose university collapsed and lost everything. The alumna’s request to Dr. Goodwin was that if they could get her here and provide housing, then could the school provide for her to finish her education for free.
“I sent a couple of emails to folks and got responses within minutes,” Goodwin said. “ The answer is we’re going to work with her and if there are others, then yes we’re going to do that. We’re doing good work; we have a great mission,” President Goodwin said.