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 SRU president outlines campuswide accomplishments for trustees 




December 14, 2007

Contact: K.E. Schwab 



SRU president outlines campuswide accomplishments for trustees


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University President Robert M. Smith told the University's Council of Trustees today, "The University continues to build a legacy of success."   

           "Successful universities are characterized by enthusiasm for the mission and vision of the institution and observable achievements of their plans. For Slippery Rock University, success is apparent as the University is engaged to make this a better place for our students," Smith said in addressing the council's quarterly meeting.

          Among the notable evidence Smith cited were continued enrollment increases which saw a record number of students enrolled for fall semester - 8,325, up 1.2 percent over a year ago - and performance funding awards for reaching Pennsylvania State System of Higher Educational goals. The University was awarded nearly $4 million. "Slippery Rock University demonstrated high achievement in every performance area. Most notably, the University's faculty productivity and employee diversity goals returned over half of the total money received. The University's performance is ahead of the target goals for 2009," Smith said.

          Smith told trustees, "Work on the University's strategic planning document continues. The University Strategic Planning Committee has a draft of the latest version that assembles all of the planning activities into a single overarching document. Everyone on campus has direct access to the document electronically where they can suggest edits and changes. That access has resulted in many suggestions and improvements. Our goal is to have a final version completed by the end of the academic year."

          The president encouraged trustees to become familiar with the University's newly launched accountability Web site. "This initiative was taken in response to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' challenge that universities and colleges provide potential students, parents, the public and policymakers with accessible, transparent information," he said. "While we have always made this information public, the new 'SRU Institutional Profile: Accountability 2008' site includes in one place sections on student demographics; first-year students; transfer students; graduate students; core educational outcomes; campus engagement; costs and financial aid; the classroom environment; campus living; institutional success and getting to know the University."

          "This accountability initiative received a great deal of national attention as one of the first and most comprehensive responses to Secretary Spellings' challenge," he said. The Web site was selected as the "Best College Web Site" in one national marketing report.

          Smith also spoke about a newly instituted grant program that encourages faculty to enhance course content with diversity issues. "Our goal for this project is to assure that students are repeatedly presented throughout their academic career with new and challenging ways to broaden their interpersonal and intercultural skills and leave Slippery Rock University with a basic set of multicultural competencies. The group continues to meet to achieve this goal, and we now expect to exceed our original goal for curriculum changes initiated by our faculty," he said.



          Capstone Lecture Series

          Trustees were told of the newly developed President's Capstone Lecture series. The capstone lecture allows retiring faculty to present a final lecture and recap their SRU history. It also provides a fitting remembrance of the person's University service. Francene Haymon, professor in SRU's Counseling Center and 33-year employee, inaugurated the program.

          Smith also outlined for trustees a new initiative that created a $25,000 pool for "Angel Funding" for aspiring entrepreneurial ventures proposed by faculty or joint student/faculty teams. "The intent of this fund is to encourage projects that have promise for the new University incubator and show a likelihood of developing to the stage of venture capital funding," Smith said. "This promises to be an excellent initiative for achieving multiple University goals for research, student engagement and economic development of the region."

          >In addition, Smith reported a number of individual achievements, including Ramona Nelson, professor of nursing, being named a fellow in the Academy of Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing; Randall Nichols, assistant professor of physical education, being named Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; and Jay Hertzog, dean of the College of Education, being named Pennsylvania Teacher Educator for 2007 by the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators.


          Student accolades

          Included in student accolades were Christie D. Willison, a secondary education and English major, who was named the Meritorious Student Paper Award winner at the 2007 Information Systems Education Conference for her paper "Teaching Students How to Evaluate Sources in Online Research." and Justin Brown, a freshman, named recipient of several awards for "The Real Enslavement," a Web site he co-created to examine the legacy and enduring problem of human slavery.

            The president also included alumni accomplishments in his report, pointing out that David Woten, a 1991 music education graduate, had been named Pennsylvania's 2008 Teacher of the Year; Sandra Scurle Kalin, a 1964 SRU education graduate, had received the 2007 National Distinguished Principal Award from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals; and that U.S. Navy Capt. Kathlene Contres, a 1977 allied health graduate, had received the 2007 HENAAC Santiago Rodriguez Diversity Award. 

            The president told trustees nearly 500 diplomas would be awarded at Saturday's 1:30 p.m. commencement ceremonies. SRU graduate and former faculty member Carol Matteson, now president of Mount Ida College, will deliver the address. 

          Smith read segments of an e-mail sent to him by Adam T. Wilcox, a graduating senior in SRU's School of Business, who told of his entrance to SRU in 2003 and his subsequent deployment to Iraq. "When I got back in the spring of 2006, I took numerous summer classes to supplement my course work. I am now graduating as a proud alumnus of SRU and veteran of the U.S. Army. I am grateful for the experience here at The Rock. During my tenure at SRU, I have bought a house, been deployed, gotten married and had a child, all while trying to obtain my degree in health service management," Wilcox wrote, adding he plans to become a professor at the college level. 

          President Smith told trustees how proud he was of Wilcox, pointing out that individual student success such as Wilcox's, result in Universitywide success.



          Formal actions

           In formal action, trustees approved a resolution to name the new, 5,000-square-foot locker room facility at N. Kerr Thompson Stadium The Women's Field Hockey/Lacrosse Center. The newly constructed facility serves as home to the SRU women's field hockey and women's lacrosse teams. 

           The building includes a training room, coaches offices, locker room and restroom space for the teams as well as public restroom facilities.

           Trustees authorized a $50 increase in the University Union Fee, which provides operation funding for the facility, to take effect next fall. Under state system board of governors' policy all auxiliary operations, such as the union, are required to be self-supporting. 

           Approval was granted to donate $20,000, up from $15,000 in recent years, to the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Department, which provides campus fire protection, and $2,000, up from $1,000, to be shared by the Sandy Lake and Stoneboro volunteer fire departments, which provide fire protection to the McKeever Environmental Learning Center at Sandy Lake which is operated by SRU. The SRVFD donation is to be shared with the rescue squad.

           Such donations were initiated in 1975 when state law gave approval to the 14 state system universities to donate to their local fire departments as a means of supporting fire protection service to the various campuses.



          Auditor's report

           Trustees were presented the 2005-06 financial report, including an independent auditor's report prepared by ParenteRandolph stating, "In our opinion, based on our audits and the reports of other auditors, the financial statements referred to present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the University and of its aggregate discretely presented component units as of June 30, 2006 and 2005." The unqualified audit noted the University was "in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted" in the U.S. 

           Smith praised the University's finance and administration division for its "innovative ideas, integrity of processes and stewardship of our resources" and for the audit's glowing report.

           In routine items, council approved minutes of the Sept. 14 session and the submitted contracts, fixed assets, and service and supply purchase order reports. Council was told of 25 instructional appointments, including Yakako Ishimaru and Eri Iwaya who teach Japanese in the department of modern languages and cultures. Fifty-three other hirings were reported.



          Retirements announced

           Four retirements were reported to trustees:

          Royce Lorentz, associate professor of professional studies, who retired with 32 years service;

          Abbas Mamoozadeh, associate professor of professional studies, who retired with 32 years service;

          Denise Barger, clerk typist 2 in the Office of International Services, who retired with 16 years service; and 

          Joyce Martin, custodial worker in facilities and planning, who retired with 15 years service.

           Claire Schmieler, who retired in 2003 as assistant vice president for student affairs, was named an administrator emeritus.

           The date for the next session will be set after surveying trustees' schedules.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.



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