Well, we have come to the end of another fall semester. Everyone is anxiously awaiting the holiday break; students are studying and faculty preparing for finals. It's the time of year to reflect, re-focus, and get re-energized for the upcoming semester.
For me, it is a time to celebrate our accomplishments as a university, revel in the successes of our students and faculty, and look ahead to future opportunities.
This year we once again exceeded our previous headcount and FTE enrollments, the graduation rate is up from 37 percent to 41 percent, our freshman quality is only exceeded by the state's flagship institutions, and student diversity has increased 2 percent. Shepherd University has received recognition in The Princeton Review's "America's Best Value Colleges" 2007 edition and Barron's "Best Buys in College Education" ninth edition, been named a Best in the Southeast college by Princeton Review's Web site for the fourth year, and named by U.S. News and World Report as the top-ranked W.Va. public baccalaureate institution in the South.
Our students continue to amaze me! Shepherd University music majors won various prizes at the 42nd Annual State Conference of the West Virginia Music Teachers Association (WVMTA). Shepherd University won first place in the Collegiate Forensics Association (CFA) Fall Tournament on October 24-25 at Penn State, Mount Alto, as well as won 28 awards, the first place in the Sweepstakes Team award, and the Strine-Welsh Traveling Trophy for the best yearlong record. Through experiences gained at Shepherd, Arthur Ebeling, a student athlete and business major, has co-founded Eastern Teas and Tonics which offers organic tea for sale online and at local health food stores. Amanda Agee, a senior business and political science major, serves as the Eastern Panhandle field representative for Congresswoman Shelli Moore Capito. Robert Hanni, mathematics major, co-wrote and presented a paper on "A Preliminary Study of SDSS Quasar Clustering," at the 28th annual Central Pennsylvania Consortium Astronomers funded in part by NASA. Ayodele Akinyemi, a senior biology major, was 1 of 20 selected to work in biomedical research at the WVU Health Science Center.
However, the university's accomplishments and student successes would not be possible without the support and opportunities that faculty provide. For example, the Department of Social Work received a grant from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) for the 2008-09 fiscal year in the amount of $113,169. With this award, the program has secured more than $1.5 million in outside funding support for the mission and goals of Shepherd and the department. Dr. Stephanie Slocum-Schaffer, associate professor of political science, has been chosen as a recipient of the Mentoring Award by the Women's Caucus of Political Science. The Department of Contemporary Art and Theater has planned a week in Venice, Italy, June 8-16, 2009, for the 53rd International Venice Biennale Art Exhibition. Copies of Mountaineers of the Blue and Gray, a new, interactive, multimedia, educational computer program, have been distributed to each middle school and high school in the state of West Virginia by the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War.
However, I would be remiss if I did not mention that we need to continue to be aware and vigilant in our mission implementation and vision pursuit. We have many challenges but with these challenges come an array of opportunities.
I hope you too take the time to celebrate, revel, and re-energize. Bring on 2009!
Enrollment Management Committee: