Hundreds of Brookdale faculty members, staff and administrators gathered together in the Collins Arena on Jan. 16 to kick off the Spring 2018 Semester during the college’s biannual Convocation ceremony.
The program, hosted by interim Brookdale President David Stout and Vice President for Learning Matthew Reed, served as a “state of the college” forum for all employees on the eve of a new term.
Following an introduction by Reed, who welcomed the newest Brookdalians to the campus community, Stout gave a comprehensive overview of college financials, enrollment trends, facilities upgrades, new curriculum, student services programs and other initiatives being rolled out this year.
One such proposal, Stout said, would create a new “meta-major” college success course to help incoming students decide on a major in their first semester.
“We have students who come in and then drop out, because they haven’t figured out their pathway or where they want to go,” said Stout. “This course is going to introduce students to various majors within their first semester, so by the time they are finished with that semester they have a clearer idea of where they want to go. It’s the beginning of an academic pathway that is going to take them to a major that is meaningful for them.”
Other initiatives include a new Academic Master Plan, expected to be finalized this semester, new Early College High School partnerships, expanded training programs for professional trades and new enrollment management systems to track students’ progress.
Stout also highlighted ongoing efforts to upgrade facilities – which include newly unveiled study rooms in the Bankier Library and the formation of a college-wide safety committee – and the progress of Brookdale’s new Title III grant initiative, which will enhance student support services and curriculum in the coming years.
During his remarks, Stout also took time to discuss the college’s new mission statement and institutional values, which include items like excellence in teaching and support services, diversity, integrity, commitment to collegial governance, lessons from our past, and our role in our community. Each employee, he said, has both the ability and the responsibility to enact those goals in the service of Brookdale students.
“We value our legacy. We value those things from our past that have made Brookdale special. But if we focus too closely on our past, we may trip over the things that are in front of us,” said Stout, encouraging all employees to consider new, innovative ways to reach students and help them reach the highest levels of success.
“Students and student success are at the absolute core of what we do here as an institution. It is the most important part of our mission. What can we do, each and every one of us, to reconnect to students and to student success? How can we all, individually, help our students be more successful?”
The ceremony also featured an overview of the college’s ongoing reaccreditation efforts through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, led by Associate Vice President of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Nancy Kegelman and associate speech Professor Howard Miller. Commission representatives, Kegelman said, will be touring a number of Brookdale campuses in early March.
Stout concluded his address with an update on the college’s search for a Vice President of Finance and Operations, which is expected to be completed shortly, and a new permanent President, which will continue throughout the coming year.
View more photos from the Spring 2018 Convocation ceremony here.