President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., welcomes faculty and staff to the new academic year and provides his state-of-the-institution address during NYIT's annual Convocation.
Welcome back … even those of you who may feel like you never left …
Today is the day for all of us to refresh our minds and to raise the curtain on the new academic year. I hope you enjoyed your summer. I know I did.
As you know, NYIT extends across 7 schools and colleges, with multiple campuses in multiple countries. And yet we are one university.
Sometimes it is difficult to feel that connection, particularly as the academic year progresses and we are immersed in our day-to-day activities. Today we aim to be more connected, inclusive and interactive.
Earlier in the year, we filmed events, projects, and interviews with faculty, staff, and students, asking you to share stories, highlights from last year, and ambitions. By bringing your voices and images together, we hope to tell an NYIT story in all its diversity, and to identify common goals and aspirations that link us.
I've learned a lot about what’s on your minds from the staff and faculty lunches I've had in the past few years. I'm guessing half the people here have participated and they know I always say: "Ask me any question you want." We've had fun, I think. And you've asked me a lot of questions, some 30 seconds … or 30 minutes after … the lunch ends.
You know who you are… I hope many of the public…and privately asked…questions will be answered in the next half hour. How about these questions:
We are making tangible, sustained gains across the board. And each year in our budget processes, we progress in living up to our last name.
As we move toward 2030, we are constantly finding ways to bring technology into the classroom… as a subject for study, research, and a tool for learning. For instance, we will continue to retrofit classrooms to be smart classrooms; another dozen are coming online. Also this year, we will have a DL classroom in every NYIT building where we teach, allowing for greatly expanded synchronous teaching as well as faculty and staff collaborations, including outcomes assessments.
Happily, we have funded most technology tools requested by deans and faculty -- from 3-D printers to laser cutters to hundreds of powerful new computers and more. We are also developing more online programs, blended approaches, and desktop and mobile video connections. And we are completing the 18-month, $4 million implementation of PeopleSoft, our system of record as of Sept. 1. What a huge good job our colleagues did to get us to this point on time and successfully. Thank you.
Our next big system upgrade will be a new … website. Our current version is 5 years old--and there is no question that New York Institute of Technology is increasingly judged by its digital presence. So it's an investment priority this year, and we will use much of 2015 to prepare it.
Certainly, our students are adapting, creating new apps and online communities. Technology defines them, as it must define us. We must integrate it into what we do. Even, apparently, in our convocation speeches…
More recently, we've just added 3-D screening capabilities to our NYIT Auditorium on Broadway. A rare ability among universities, but another example that shows we are New York Institute of Technology. Our students -- and I -- will enjoy 3-D movie nights this semester.
Even as we use technology to build the universities of the future, much of what we do remains the same: creating human capital, knowledge, skills, and toolboxes to serve society. There are differences, however.
Universities are no longer where information is collected and safeguarded. According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the Internet holds roughly 5 million terabytes - that's the one with 12 zeroes - of data, of which Google has indexed just .004%.
When I was in Yokohama in June to speak at the International Association of University Presidents Triennial Conference, a leading theme was the notion of global mobility. And increasingly, the passport to that mobility is English. Not only is it the gold standard in business, science, and technology, it is, according to the Economist, a "basic skill of modern life comparable with the ability to drive a car or use a personal computer." We've long paid attention to English competency and will continue to upgrade our English Language Institute programs alongside our ESL programs through some strategic hires, including some in the audience today.
I keep hearing how English has become the de facto language of graduate education, and when a German university announced over the summer that its graduate programs will be taught in English only, it was confirmation.
It is estimated that universities are educating more than 125 million students worldwide. By 2025, that number will reach 262 million. And most of these new students will not be coming from America.
As master's degrees become the new bachelor's degree, universities must play an increasingly critical role as idea incubators. So how are we doing?
New interdisciplinary programs, projects, and research… mash-ups that break down silos among discreet subjects, schools, and campuses… are part of today's NYIT and a goal and outcome of our 2030 plan.
Consider "Aging in Place," where interior design, health science, and occupational therapy students adapted home interiors to the needs of aging residents.
And programs like our new B.S. in Urban Administration, drawing on NYIT's rich experience in architecture, engineering, business, and more.
Research, particularly cross-disciplinary research, is another area where we've been gaining traction on our 2030 goals. And, under the leadership of Provost Shoureshi, faculty research grants are at their highest levels in our history.
Now--some examples of how NYIT is facilitating a zone of exploration for students and faculty-a place where new ideas are promoted, failure is accepted and learned from, and creativity is rewarded.
'Tis the season when enrollment, new and returning, is also on people's minds, especially at tuition-driven universities like ours. We hear much about changes coming to higher education. Some smart people think it will look a lot different in ten years, the way banking changed through technology. There is zero question that in America, the recruitment of students has changed dramatically in the past three years and gone the way of Amazon. Big data analytics, digital, and mobile. There is no turning back.
NYIT successfully navigated the recession following 2008 without layoffs and with salary and expense increases each year. But we were left with enrollments that were flat or in some schools, depressed. The good things we had been doing were not sufficient to meet new competitive challenges. So in 2013, we started to change our approach.
With the help of two consulting firms, our domestic and international applications soared more than 50% this year. Our acceptances increased by 37%. Great. But yield has not yet followed.
Let me share two higher education enrollment forecasts that could provide tremendous opportunity to support our growth: The first, from the U.S. Department of Education, projects that enrollment in master's level programs in America will increase by 20 percent by 2021. The other, from the British Council, projects that by 2020, U.S. enrollment of students from outside the United States will increase by 250,000 students, or more than 20%. So, NYIT needs to develop new and nurture current masters' programs … and increase international enrollment at our New York campuses.
Another reality we will continue to live with during the same 6-to-7 year period is the decline in high school graduates in the Northeast and especially on Long Island. Competition is wicked, thus the rampant tuition discounting among competitors. But with our name, locations, and portfolio of profession-ready, highly accredited programs, NYIT has the ability to recruit students nationally and internationally. This is why residence halls in Old Westbury and Manhattan are our highest capital priority over the next five years. And pending approvals and permits, shovels should be in the ground in Old Westbury this time next year.
Our overall enrollment should be up this year and meet budget, and the trajectory is a steady gradual incline over the next five years. That is what I presented to the Board of Trustees this summer in a first-ever detailed five-year enrollment plan that we will discuss in September. As stated before, this year and next, our enrollment and revenue will be sustained by a healthy increase in international students, a good portion from our own programs abroad… while domestic enrollment increases will kick in next year and following the completion of the dorms.
Thanks to our data-driven efforts, next week we'll welcome the highest quality of domestic students ever. And, the entering MCAT and GPA scores of the new medical-student class are the highest in the school’s history.
Let's acknowledge our Vice President for Enrollment Management, who joined us in January, Dr. Ronald Maggiore. Ron's the most experienced enrollment services administrator in NYIT history, and he will help lead the way to more sophisticated and shared analytics.
But as you know, enrollment is everyone's business. We each have a role to play. Let me mention the word, retention -- everyone's job and the partner of recruitment. The retention process starts before classes begin, and this year's student orientation was revamped to become more engaging and informative.
It is often said that curriculum drives enrollment, and enrollment drives everything else. To be effective, our curriculum must be relevant to students' career goals and to society at large, reflecting regional and global economic trends. Overall, our Manhattan campus is operating at 83% of capacity, while Old Westbury is at 85%. So, we have some room for growth and will balance growth in some areas with declines in others.
For instance, to address a sizeable influx of engineering students in Manhattan, we've built a senior design lab, computer labs, and other instructional facilities for this fall.
But it is not space, programs, or technology, it is people resources that continue to be NYIT's greatest strength.
A number of faculty were promoted recently and, following a tough evaluation process, five received tenure. Please join me in congratulating Jonathan Goldman, Cheryl Hall, Tobias Holler, Jun-go Park, and Corri Wolf. I'd also like to congratulate those staff members who have recently been promoted. Good work and thank you.
While we're talking about human capital, we have 19 exceptionally talented new faculty members and will have 45 new staff across all campuses. Some are replacements, but a good number are additions… and all bring new blood, energy, and ideas. Let's offer a hearty welcome to our new faculty and staff.
Of course, we are all here for our students and to make a difference…
Our students are making a difference… That is why a focus on competencies such as analytic, communication, and problem-solving skills is so critical. But, as we know, many skills we teach will—within a decade or two -- become obsolete. And just as English is necessary in this era of global mobility, so is cultural fluency.
In my commencement speech, I talked about cultural fluency as a kind of connectivity--allowing us to recognize and speak to one another across geographic, linguistic, and cultural borders. This is vital in today's world where products, ideas, companies, opportunities, and -- particularly at NYIT-- students are all global. The students we are bringing increasingly from our global campuses and joint programs will acquire a better understanding of U.S. culture.
These future science and business leaders will become a vital connective between our campuses, our cultures, and our nations. And I look forward to more of our domestic students having educational and cultural experiences beyond our metropolitan area. To this end, I am pleased to announce the new Presidential Global Fellowships, aimed at broadening students' perspective of the world and enhancing their cultural experiences. In 2015, multiple students will receive merit-based awards of $ 2,500 or $5,000 to pursue learning experiences that they've proposed outside the NY metro area. Initially, this multi-year program is funded entirely by a private contribution.
Further, I am pleased to introduce new members of our global administration. First, Paul Dangerfield, new campus Dean and Executive Director for NYIT-Vancouver. Paul was a senior executive in the military, private sector, and in academia, most recently as the number-two at British Columbia Institute of Technology, a preeminent 48,000-student university.
And Ahmad Tabbara joined NYIT-Abu Dhabi as Executive Director. Via Lebanon, Canada, and the United States, Ahmad has more than 25 years of experience in higher education in the Middle East, serving in leadership positions at the Higher Colleges of Technology.
Welcome to the NYIT family.
We've introduced new programs at both locations, and enrollment is up.
I also want to acknowledge Monique Taylor, another former provost, who is visiting from Nanjing, where she has been campus dean and executive director since 2012 and is our onsite China director.
Two headline events in 2014--among our many conferences – also helped elevate NYIT’s global reputation. In March, we held our first Global Cybersecurity Conference in Abu Dhabi. One month later, with the help of the National Science Foundation and Peking University, we co-sponsored a Water-Energy Nexus conference in Beijing. Undergrad and grad students from our New York campuses and dozens from our global campuses attended these events. For them, it was a touchstone experience. For NYIT, it was a very proud academic and social occasion.
So, if NYIT is "global" in the sense of cultural fluency and connectivity across geographic and cultural borders, we are also international through our diverse faculty and student body.
So … what else lies ahead?
Perhaps, at long last, AACSB accreditation for our School of Management? The site visit is scheduled for November. Anticipated approval will be significant for enrollment efforts and NYIT's reputation.
Plans are well underway to establish a second site for our College of Osteopathic Medicine on the campus of Arkansas State. It will bring much-needed health care to one of the country's most underserved areas and enables NYIT to fulfill its mission of offering students access to opportunity. Pending approvals from accrediting bodies, we anticipate enrolling 115 students in August 2016.
We are offering a 1+1 Master’s in instructional technology with Yildiz Technical University in Turkey, and there are other collaborative opportunities on the horizon.
A little closer to home: This fall, we will open our Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center in Harry Schure Hall. This $4 million project, supported by $1.4 million in state and federal grants, involves a gut renovation of the auditorium, including new technology that will make it NYIT's largest DL classroom.
I am also happy to share that NYIT has received a $230,000 NSF grant to purchase a sputtering machine, used in the electronics and medical fields to create thin film sensors. To house the machine, NYIT will build a clean room in Harry Schure Hall-among the first of its kind on Long Island and a "wow" moment for our campus tours.
Bricks-and-mortar projects may not be glamorous or video-worthy, but they are essential to ensuring our future and improving the lives of our students, staff, and faculty…and sometimes the president, too. Here are some among others: -Manhattan Residence Halls, Fire Sprinklers , High-Voltage Distribution, and Roof replacements …
Our growth continues to be consistent with our mission to provide career-oriented professional education. While other universities spent the last decade cutting programs and faculty, NYIT has made substantial investments in programs, people, and facilities, thanks to a combination of strict cost management, debt financing and revenue improvements.
On top of contractual and inflationary increases in our base budgets, and the payments and salary increases the community will receive, I am happy that for the new year we awarded more "new" operating funds than we have in years.
These are exciting, transformational times. I look forward to serving more years to help bring our plans and projects to fruition.
NYIT is a great place to work. In the coming year, we will work objectively and systematically at making it even greater. That's a promise.
We have engaged a consultant to look at a job classification system with descriptions and compensation bands to insure that we have clarity, transparency, equality, and clear upward mobility for staff and administration. I look forward to that report mid-year and to implementing positive changes over time.
You've heard the expression that "we live in a world where data is king." We will also see more sophisticated, transparent, and user-friendly data sets this year that will include much-needed financial, enrollment, graduation, and alumni statistics, as well as demographic information and market research, to help us analyze everything from the cost of educating students, to the impact of financial aid packages, to optimal space utilization.
We plan to raise more non-tuition revenue than ever before and recently announced the formation of our President's Forum, which recognizes donors who have made significant, often multi-year commitments for capital and endowment purposes. This group has raised over $11 million for more than 60 new scholarships and projects. It also helped tee up our new major gifts program. We are very grateful.
Also, this year, I will charge a group to study and advise us on the NYIT library of the future.
Finally, I am looking forward to true marketing by our reconstituted Communications & Marketing team. We have seeded promotional money in individual school and division budgets for marketing, and are launching an advertising campaign based on one telling statistic: 87%. Our latest surveys demonstrate that 87 percent of our graduates have a job in their chosen career field within six months of graduation.
We are doing good things for good people. That's what I'm looking forward to. What about you?
I hope you enjoyed hearing about the exciting work being done at NYIT, and leave here as convinced as I am that our commitment to excellence and to providing students with a first-rate education truly knows no borders. I am proud and confident that NYIT is again stronger and better this year than last. Evolution. Nice.
On behalf of the Board and myself, thank you for your dedication. As I hope you've seen and heard, you have a profound impact on our students' lives. I wish us an exciting, stimulating, and successful year. It is an honor and privilege to serve you and the greater NYIT community. Thank you.
Office of the President