July – Albright College


Dear Fellow Albrightians,

It is hard to believe that the July 4 holiday is almost upon us.  It seems like just a little bit ago when we enjoyed our all-campus Celebration of Seniors, commencement (not in the rain!), and our first All-campus Assembly.  I hope that each of you are taking a bit of time to relax and reflect during these summer months.

We have much to celebrate at Albright College!  This past month, we received great news about the rankings for our fashion programs. In fashion design and fashion merchandising, we were ranked #20 and #15 in the nation, respectively, among private schools and colleges.  What a great accomplishment—and kudos to our fashion design and merchandising faculty and staff!

This summer, 14 pairs of faculty and students are engaged in exciting projects through the Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) program, while many other students are gaining hands-on experiences through internships, including with professional sports teams, members of Congress, and even with an NGO in Israel!

Our enrollment for the first session of summer courses was up an amazing 72 percent.  We look forward to seeing what the second summer session holds.  Our colleagues in academic affairs, student life, and admission are working hard to ensure a smooth transition for this fall’s large, talented and diverse incoming class—a class of which we can be proud.  You will be receiving an email from our admission/enrollment management colleagues with more information on what we currently know about this year’s incoming class.

I also want to update you on the work done since my email of June 1 and the All-campus Assembly on June 5.  The work on the FY19 budget has continued.  The good news is that with the changes I announced on June 1, and with the ongoing efforts by various leaders at Albright, we have almost completely closed the large FY19 budget gap.  We will be presenting this proposed budget to the Board of Trustees at their annual retreat this month.  Closing the budget gap has taken significant effort by many people, especially as we work to fully understand our budget parameters and to accurately and objectively use a data-driven approach to project the budget.  We still have much to accomplish and, as I indicated at the “Looking Under Rocks” presentation that most of you have experienced, we have a few lean years ahead.  I’m confident that our continued work together will result in a much stronger Albright College, and, in the medium term, a budget that no longer needs to be retrofitted year after year.

An important component of our joint work is the Deep Dive process, with its larger goal to move Albright boldly into the future.  Several teams have begun their work, including a team charged with writing a vision and mission for today’s Albright College, co-chaired by Melissa Wells and Christy Agnese. The phase 4 Tuition Reset team, co-led by JoAnne Weaver (Associate Professor, Chair & Academic Program Coordinator, Accounting in SPS) and me, is starting its work this week.  Its goal is to better align our published tuition with the economic expectations of our students and families who might not otherwise consider the practicality of sending their student to Albright.  This work is proceeding in parallel with the Sustainable Financial Model phase 4 team, working to develop a model that better accounts for the reality of our tuition dependency in conjunction with other factors that I have described in the “Economics of Higher Education” presentation.

Our Perception and Marketing teams, focusing on various aspects of web content integration and marketing, have also been moving forward quickly, to put Albright’s strong message in front of as many prospective students, families and alumni as possible. Gina French (Creative Director) and Janice Rodriguez (Instructor in Spanish) co-lead the working group that is putting the Perception and Marketing phase 4 Deep Dive teams together.

The Academic Planning Model phase 4/5 team is beginning its work under the leadership of Karen Campbell (Chair of Faculty and Professor of Biology), and Student Success teams are continuing their ongoing work.

Based on feedback gathered during the All-campus Assembly and afterwards, several teams will progress as Phase 4/5 (summer and fall) teams and several as Phase 5 (fall) teams.  I cannot express my gratitude sufficiently to those who have agreed to serve, both as leaders and as team members.  It is only by working together that we build the strength and foresight that will carry us strongly and sustainably forward.  Additional information will be posted to the Deep Dive website (https://www.albright.edu/about-albright/institutional-planning/deep-dive-engagement-plan-2018-to-present/) when all teams have been finalized.

It is hard to believe that I have served as Albright’s president for over a year now—time does fly!  I’m looking forward to this second year and the work that we will do together to move Albright boldly into the future.

Best wishes, and thank you for all that each of you do every day for Albright College.  I wish you an enjoyable and relaxing July 4 holiday!

Best regards,