On January 28, 2021, the Office of the Chancellor met with the Board of Trustees to discuss the issues affecting the University in the last year. The presentation brought to the Board emphasized the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the racial justice movements following the murder of George Floyd, the requirements necessary in our University’s reaccreditation journey, and the availability of scholarships to students with financial needs.
Our Chancellor, Dr. Christina Drale, compiled a presentation with structured outlines on how the University shall address these issues in compliance with our four institutional priorities.
“[This presentation] highlights our obligation to serve a diverse student body, to offer degrees that meet the demand for professional and advanced level preparation in areas of critical need, and to apply our expertise and resources to public concerns and community wellbeing,” Dr. Drale said.
To alleviate the pressures students have faced from the challenges in 2020, the Office of the Chancellor communicated to the Board the need for reconstructing how scholarships are awarded to students.
“One of the things I realized early on is that nearly all of our institutional and private scholarships were exclusively merit-based and many were designated for continuing students,” Dr. Drale said. “These are important and valuable assets, but they didn’t fully address the needs of our diverse, often first-generation incoming students. We’ve put an emphasis on raising funds for need-based scholarships and overhauled our recruitment, admissions, and financial aid infrastructure to become more efficient, more effective [and] more data-driven than ever before.”
In conjunction with broadening scholarship allotment, the Office of the Chancellor has also initiated a new career success program.
“In alignment with our institutional role and scope, we are placing a renewed emphasis on career path assistance,” Drale said. “To that end, we are redirecting our marketing efforts to focus on programs, student experiences, and career potential [by] launching a new Career Center later this spring. We continue to collaborate with business, industry, government, and community partners to develop high-quality programs and to provide unique applied experiences.”
To conclude the presentation, Dr. Drale reminded the Board and the University as a whole that its faculty, staff, and leaders are in constant consideration of our student body.
“Despite our considerable challenges this past year, we have not lost sight of what is important and eternal,” Drale said. “And although we still have much work to do, I believe the path forward is clear.”