Welcome to spring semester – from the President
Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
It’s hard to believe that the spring 2019 semester has begun so soon! But interim projects and new initiatives launched this winter, such as our new partnership to research industrial hemp with alumnus Steve Groff ’87, have kept Albright spinning through the cold weather. Speaking of which — a special welcome home to students and faculty who traveled over January to study in warmer locations such as Costa Rica, Hawaii and Ecuador during the interim session!
I want to take a moment to celebrate where we have been over the last six months and to look ahead to the next four to five months. We have a lot to celebrate and a lot to look forward to!
Last semester, we celebrated the grand opening of our new Joffrey’s at Jake’s Java, and enjoyed the renovations to our Student Center. Over winter break, the Student Center was repainted. The video and audio updates are also now complete. This space is much more useable and user-friendly, thanks to our very own Student Government Association, who played a major role in the design, development and funding of this project.
Our own Domino Players, directed by Associate Professor Julia Matthews, earned an invitation to perform their fall production of “A Raisin in the Sun” at the Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theatre Region II Festival, this January. The production earned an enthusiastic standing ovation from the Kennedy Center audience — a rare feat at this festival. (Check out photos on Twitter and Instagram!) I am so proud of the work and performance of our talented students, faculty and staff. And, I applaud their dedication of this season’s productions to the theme of racial and social justice — issues with which our college, our country and our world must grapple. These productions invite us to take part in conversations that might be difficult, but if we choose to stand and engage respectfully and with curiosity, we can learn much.
Our athletics programs also gave us much to celebrate last semester. I very much enjoyed cheering on the successful seasons of our women’s soccer and women’s rugby teams. Women’s soccer advanced to the ECAC tournament quarterfinals and women’s rugby won the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union College Championship in November. And we just learned that women’s rugby was ranked 11th in the country by the National Small College Rugby Organization.
In other athletic celebrations, we launched eSports — Albright’s first official co-ed sports team. Competition will begin this semester in a newly renovated space, nearly complete in the Schumo Center. This program was initiated with support from the Joyce Family Foundation and we thank them for their support.
Also, articles written by about a dozen traditional and post-traditional Albright students were published in the December issue of Berks County Living magazine. This excellent project combined civic engagement and academic work, providing students with real-life writing experience while fulfilling a community need. Be sure to follow the link to check out the fine writing of our fellow Albrightians! Congratulations to instructor Marion Wolbers and our newly published writers!
As you know, last semester we received news that the U.S. Department of Education granted Albright $2.2 million over the next five years to support student academic success. The work to implement that grant is ongoing. The grant will allow Albright to purchase and implement degree audit and planning software. Training for this software will be offered to all members of our community, so be sure to look for — and sign up for — these opportunities. This grant also provides resources to hire academic and financial aid coaches to support the success of our students, as well as a director of teaching and learning, to support the best work of our faculty. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcomes of this work. Special thanks to faculty and staff who are taking leadership positions in implementing these critically important programs. Supporting student success is a most important institutional priority.
As we continue our work to move Albright boldly into the future, strategic Deep Dive planning work continues. Phase Six is beginning this semester, based on the work and recommendations of the Phase Five teams. We have accomplished much, thanks to the dedicated students, faculty and staff who have been engaged in this project, and I’m looking forward to our future work!
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that we will be breaking from our traditional tuition model beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, and will right-size tuition by reducing it 45 percent, from $44,206 to $24,500. While it is possible that Albright’s budget could be positively impacted if all objective parameters like retention of sophomore, junior and senior-level students and yield are obtained, the right-size tuition model is budget-neutral. This is a balance between affordability and fiscal responsibility. Visit our FAQs webpage to learn more.
That’s a lot to celebrate for a single semester. I hope, like me, you are looking forward to new adventures this spring! Some special speakers will be coming to campus this semester, focusing on issues such as inclusivity, racial and social justice. Special thanks to the Mellon Foundation for supporting this important series that comes on the heels of a wonderful fall visit by Albright alumnus Mukoma wa Ngugi, Ph.D. ’84, who offered a talk on the liberal arts and his personal Albright experience. Keep an eye on the Albright.edu events calendar, as new lectures and many other events are regularly being added.
I wish you the very best in school, work and social endeavors as we move into the renewal of springtime.
With best wishes,