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Fall 2005 Update
The fall term opened with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. Preliminary enrollment numbers show 875 full time equivalent undergraduate students, compared to 893 one year earlier. The number of new EMU students is slightly higher than last year, but the number of returning students is down, due primarily to a smaller number of students eligible to return.
Several demographic factors of the new first-year class are striking and encouraging. Fully 20 percent of the first year students achieved a 4.0 GPA in high school. The percentage of Mennonites in this class is 57 compared to 40 last year. We enrolled the highest number of Mennonite high school graduates since 1996.
More students are enrolled in the seminary than ever before but a few more are registered for part-time studies than last year. The MA in counseling program opened with a waiting list for admission, and the enrollment in the MBA program is the highest ever. Because students in the MA in conflict transformation and MA in education program begin their studies at various points throughout the academic year it is too early to report exact numbers.
On Friday, September 2, we surrounded 22 students and their leaders in prayer before they departed for a semester of cross-cultural study in Switzerland, France and three nations in West Africa. The group is privileged to be led by long-time missionaries James and Jeanette Krabill and their son, Matthew. Alumni regularly point to their cross-cultural experience as the highlight of their years at EMU.
Our work to prioritize administrative and academic programs continues through the fall semester (see a more complete report in the summer issue of Crossroads). More than 200 programs are being evaluated on the basis of centrality to the mission of EMU, demand (internal and external), opportunities, strengths and weaknesses. Our goal is to strengthen the entire institution to better serve the students of the future.
Report for 2004-05
It is a major challenge to write an annual report that captures the energy of a campus which serves more than 2,000 people each year, employs nearly 350 faculty and staff, hosts more than 5,000 guests each summer, engages in peacebuilding ministries all around the world, and spends more than $26 million annually. The board of trustees, chaired by Susan Godshall, provides invaluable counsel and wisdom each year.
In addition to the usual activities of an academic year, EMU administrators and student leaders participated in February 2004 Educational Leadership Group meetings sponsored by the Mennonite Education Agency. This historic meeting brought together board members and administrative leaders from Mennonite elementary schools, high schools, higher education and seminaries. The MEA, on behalf of Mennonite Church USA, is providing denominational leadership to ascertain and respond to the educational needs of the church with “seamless” education from pre-school through seminary and graduate programs.
Provost and Graduate Programs
Dr. Beryl Brubaker, provost and dean of graduate programs, provides primary leadership for most of the internal management functions of EMU. In addition to carrying out the normal functions of her office, Dr. Brubaker has given many hours of service as the chief staff person for the Prioritization Steering Committee since January 2005.
During the 2004-05 year the institution applied for approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to award an associate in arts degree in pastoral ministries. A new program, called STEP, was launched in partnership with Lancaster Mennonite Conference for the training of pastors who are already in places of service. Dr. Mark Wenger, also the associate director of the seminary’s Preaching Institute, moved to Lancaster, Pa., to assume the role of director of STEP and other seminary programs. Dr. Karl Landis served as interim director of STEP during the first year and we anticipate partnering with him in his continuing role as director of leadership development in Lancaster Conference.
Graduate program highlights of the year
•Dr. David Glanzer led the graduate counseling effort to apply for accreditation of the school counseling program •the Conflict Transformation Program celebrated its 10th anniversary in June and adopted a new name, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding
•the graduate education program continues to develop partnerships with local school districts, and with sites in Pennsylvania and Florida
•the MBA program continues to build relationships locally and nationally, and major efforts are underway to create a concentration in health services administration.
The 10th anniversary of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding was a particular highlight for the 2004-05 year. Co-founder Dr. John Paul Lederach returned to campus for an evening banquet and other engagements, and numerous staff and donors were honored for their very significant contributions to this unique program. Some of the early leaders have commented that this program is larger and more significant after 10 years than what they would have dreamed for 20 years after its founding.
The Lilly Project on The Theological Exploration of Vocation has made a major impact on campus. The Common Grounds coffeehouse has become a favorite gathering place for students and is a location for many conversations about faith and vocation. A great deal of energy has been expended in discussions about “sustainability” of programs beyond the duration of the various Lilly-funded programs.
The thirteenth season of the Bach Festival was a major success with ticket sales reaching a historic high. This annual arts event has become an important link to the larger Harrisonburg/Rockingham community and well beyond.
Dr. Marie Morris, vice president and undergraduate dean, leads the single largest division of the entire EMU program. Many of the academic initiatives are developed in concert with the Academic Council comprising the chairs of the academic departments.
A document, “Vision 2004-09: Making
Connections Toward Integrity,” outlines the
strategic plan for the undergraduate division.
The eight priorities of the statement adopted by
the Academic Council are:
•providing a vision for future development
•encouraging faculty development to promote faculty vitality and creativity, innovation, and excellence in all undergraduate programs
•ensuring effectiveness of resources
•recruiting and sustaining qualified undergraduate faculty and students
•developing and implementing policies and standards that are consistent with the university mission
•conducting ongoing program evaluation to demonstrate institutional effectiveness
•nurturing a learning community of care and mutual respect marked by honesty, integrity, grace, and reconciliation •and faithfully representing the work of EMU to constituents and the needs and interests of the undergraduate division to the EMU community.
It is increasingly evident that responding to facility needs for numerous undergraduate and other campus programs needs to be a high priority for the future. We are particularly tight on classroom spaces.
As noted in the academic vision statement, an additional priority is to provide greater resources for faculty development. During the past year, in conjunction with the prioritization work, the faculty and staff engaged in numerous conversations about the nature of the institution’s relationship to the Mennonite Church USA, expectations of faculty members in supporting this relationship, initiating orientation activities for new faculty and staff, etc.
The cross-cultural requirement for undergraduate students is a critical component of our vision to prepare graduates to live as global citizens. Approximately 30 students participate yearly in the Washington Community Scholars’ Center (formerly Washington Study Service Year). During the 2004-05 fiscal year a new location was secured for the program and building renovations are complete. Nelson Good, founding director and later an advisory board member, literally scouted the entire D.C. community to locate a suitable site. He was providing voluntary leadership for the renovation project when diagnosed with cancer early in the year. Nelson passed away in July and the facility was named in his honor.
Another program with international impact is IC3 (Inter-cultural Communicative Competence) directed by Dr. Dan Wessner, associate professor of international and political studies. In partnership with An Gian University in Vietnam and a growing number of institutions elsewhere in Vietnam and in other countries, this online curriculum seeks to link students across all continents, teach diverse languages and just development practices, and to expand communities of learning and empathy.
In March 2005 the dean signed a consortial agreement with the University of Cadiz (Spain), allowing Spanish majors and minors to study at the university to meet their upper-level language requirements. Students live with Spanish families during their time in Cadiz and have the opportunity to register for servicelearning credits.
Eastern Mennonite Seminary
Dr. Ervin R. Stutzman, vice president and dean of the seminary, has provided leadership since 1998. As a former leader in the Lancaster Mennonite Conference and former moderator of the Mennonite Church USA, Dr. Stutzman is well positioned to provide visionary leadership for years into the future.
EMS had a record enrollment (full-time equivalent) in fall 2004 with a total of 166 students (102 men and 64 women), 67 of whom were full time. In May the seminary graduated 23 degree students and five with certificates.
The seminary was invited to join The Lexington Seminar, a two-year Lilly-funded project “to sustain conversations among schools and to establish a wider setting for collaboration on significant issues of teaching and learning in theological education.” EMS is one of five denominationally-connected seminaries participating in this round of the seminar and was invited to send four faculty members, the dean, and the president to the first meeting of this cycle in Maine.
The School for Leadership Training in January was again a huge success, drawing a record high of 320 registered participants. Dr. Patrick Keifert spoke several times on the theme of “Dwelling in God’s Space and Time: Core Practices for Transforming Leaders.”
The majority of EMU undergraduate students are members of the “millennial generation,” described by historian/economist Neil Howe as special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, achieving, pressured, and conventional. The parents of this generation are sometimes called “helicopter parents” because of their tendency to hover over their children. According to a national poll, the incidence and severity of psychological conditions that students experience has increased annually and the EMU counseling center showed an increase of 30-35 percent in “kept appointments” compared to each of the previous four years. Faculty and staff must be prepared to relate to students in new and creative ways.
The student body at EMU has become increasingly diverse. In the fall of 2004, fully 22 percent of the new students were individuals of color and only 42 percent of the class were Mennonites. EMU has always enrolled a significant number of international students but it is increasingly difficult to obtain visas for some.
The orientation schedule for the fall was revised to allow students to do service learning in the Harrisonburg area. Students worked together in their first year seminar (FYS) groups, strengthening the connection between service and academics. Many students reported this was a significant way to gain understanding of the larger Harrisonburg/ Rockingham community, and many chose to return as volunteers at their service learning placements.
The vice president for student life and assistant undergraduate academic dean cochaired a new group called Pulse to focus on student success and retention. This interdivisional team was created to identify and intervene with students who may be at risk for dropping out of college prematurely. While EMU’s average first-to-second year retention rate is above the national average, an increase of just a few percentage points would yield 4-6 more returning sophomores each year.
The campus ministries team of three persons developed a university-wide model for providing services, including graduate, undergraduate, and seminary programs. As the result of many discussions about university chapel services a decision was made to initiate a schedule change for 2005-06, offering chapel twice a week (Wednesday and Friday), and adding a Wednesday evening worship service called Worship 808. A student-led worship “Celebration” occurs on Sunday evenings and the student ministry assistants in each residence hall provide numerous other opportunities for spiritual growth.
Greg Steffen served as interim director of athletics following the fall resignation of Larry Martin. Coaching changes in women’s volleyball, baseball, and women’s basketball were underway near the end of the year due to the resignations of Ru Wideman, Rob Roeschly and Rich McElwee. Seth McGuffin was named head track/field coach and Kevin Warner joined the athletic department as sports information director.
The Student Government Association was led by co-presidents Kevin Docherty and Bryce Bergey. Numerous student leaders of various organizations participated in Deep Gladness retreats during the year.
EMU ended the 2004-05 year with the budget “in the black”, with positive performance of endowment investments for the second consecutive year and with an increase in total net assets of $601,000.
The Human Resources function was strengthened in 2004-05 with the addition of a second staff person. Marcy Engle joined the office in August 2004 bringing several years of human resources experience at the director level. Residence hall occupancy and participation in the dining program continued to decline.
Residence hall occupancy peaked at 630 in the fall of 1998 and has slipped to 505 in the fall of 2004, leaving an occupancy percentage of 75%.
The current five-year contract with Follett for operation of the bookstore concluded at the end of 2004-05, and has been renewed for an additional five year period. Service and satisfaction have continued at a high level.
Kirk Shisler joined the EMU team on April 1, 2004, as vice president for advancement. Phil Helmuth, who served as interim vice president from July 1, assumed a new role as executive director of development and is supervising the associate directors of development and the director of development for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
EMU has begun the “silent phase” of a comprehensive campaign to raise funds for program initiatives, facility needs, and endowments. Several lead gift commitments, pledged over the next five years, were made during the final months of the 2004-05 fiscal year, each of which will provide a solid foundation for the efforts to reach our gift requirement numbers in the years ahead.
The most obvious facility needs are to continue the renovation of the main stage theater (Phase II of the University Commons), replacement of the artificial turf field, renovation of Suter Science Center, additional space for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, renovated facilities for the music department, and additional classrooms and academic offices. The campaign will also include a vigorous effort to invite planned gift commitments for the longer-term financial health of the institution.
Enrollment and Marketing
Shirley B. Yoder, vice president for enrollment and marketing, provided leadership for the departments of marketing, admissions, financial aid, and radio station WEMC.
The undergraduate full time equivalent enrollment in the fall of 2004 was 893, exactly the same as one year earlier. Through special funding efforts and intense recruitment of traditionally underserved populations, the first year class comprised 22 percent persons of color. With the denominational priority to be a diverse and anti-racist church, EMU is grateful to have a large number of African-American, Hispanic, and other ethnic students on campus. With the leadership of Melody Pannell, director of multi-cultural services in the student life division, we are working hard to be a more hospitable and sensitive community for the good of the church.
The leadership of the marketing department was transferred from Paul Souder to Kirsten Parmer during the 2004-05 year. The department created a new series of communications materials to be used by the admissions office in the recruitment of new students.
More than 70 EMU-related individuals participated in the biannual churchwide convention in Charlotte, N.C., in July. Many of these persons were there as youth sponsors, videographers, volunteers, workshop leaders, etc. The enrollment and marketing division, along with the church relations office, coordinated the EMU presence in both the adult and youth conventions.
Stephanie Shafer joined the staff as director of admissions midway through the academic year, succeeding Laurie Miller who joined the student life staff as director of student programs. A significant effort was launched by individuals of several departments to increase EMU’s presence on the world wide web and to enhance our ability to recruit new students through interactions via the internet. It is clear that the current generation of prospective students expects to communicate with the university primarily via e-mail, the web site and instant messaging. Parents and students also expect more rapid dissemination of information on financial aid and other matters.
The 2004-05 year in many ways seemed to go by in a blur, full of myriad activity, new discoveries, some disappointments, but always challenging, never dull. I am grateful to be part of this dynamic learning and faith community. Thanks be to God.
—Loren Swartzendruber, president