The 2015-2016 academic year is nearly upon us, and each passing day brings us one step closer to the centennial anniversary of St. Joseph’s College, a milestone achievement for any institution, but one that resonates just a bit more for our community of learners, given SJC’s humble beginnings as a college for women in Clinton Hill, New York.
In the 99 years since the Sisters of St. Joseph opened the doors of the college to 12 students on October 2, 1916, SJC has evolved immeasurably, even in the face of the cultural and social upheaval of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Its alumni have grown from the original 14 graduates of the Class of 1920 to more than 32,000 worldwide. What was once a tiny women’s college in Brooklyn is now a nationally recognized educational institution, with 5,300 undergraduate and graduate students and two campuses separated by more than 50 miles.
Our centennial is a time to remember and reflect upon the unqualified success St. Joseph’s College has achieved across decades and generations, but we must turn our attention to what comes next as well. The close of one century is also the beginning of another, complete with its own set of hardships and challenges to be overcome. The uncertain terrain that lies ahead will be navigated not just by resolve and a steadfast dedication to the College’s core values, but by a constant willingness to adapt to the ever- changing climate of higher education.
President Jack P. Calareso, Ph.D., and the St. Joseph’s College Board of Trustees have charted a course through the adoption of strategic and operational plans that will serve as our raison d’être in the months and years ahead. Completed in the fall of 2014, the strategic plan is a long-term guide that defines SJC’s vision, values, goals and strategies that the College’s leadership has set forth. It stands as the definitive road map against which all perceived progress will be measured.
If the strategic plan is the map that shows us where we are and where we want to go, the operational plan provides the directions that will lead us from Point A to Point B. Still in the developmental process as this article is written, the operational plan delineates the highest priorities of the College for the next 12-18 months. In some cases, these simply reflect the critical outcomes laid out in the strategic plan. In other cases, similar areas or items of importance have been integrated to create a more comprehensive strategy. The operational plan also identifies performance objectives for the coming fiscal year, and which items must be funded in the coming year’s budget.
What follows is a glimpse at the 2015-2016 operational plan, and the road to the future of St. Joseph’s College.
Goal No. 1: To strengthen and promote the College’s commitment to its mission, vision and values
Foremost among the steps that will be taken to achieve this goal, the College will soon be primarily identified not as the two- campus institution as which it has long been known, but as three distinct colleges: SJC Brooklyn, SJC Long Island and SJC Online. The administration and staff have been tasked with developing an organizational structure that will preserve St. Joseph’s common mission, but centralize certain programs and services within separate campuses.
A newly established Office of Mission Effectiveness will educate the College community on the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Josephite tradition, and work with the faculty to integrate SJC’s history and mission into the curriculum.
Additional strategies include developing and implementing programs and services that support diversity, global education, sustainability and community service.
Goal No. 2: To advance the College’s reputation and standing as a leading center of higher learning serving all qualified students
The key component to the aforementioned three-college model is the establishment of our virtual campus, SJC Online. While St. Joseph’s is no stranger to online learning, a dramatic increase in our current offerings is needed. SJC Online will launch this fall with 15 degree and certificate programs, with more added as the infrastructure and resources (faculty training, marketing and recruitment, retention and technical support) improve over time.
Of course, the new programs won’t be limited to the Web. St. Joseph’s has long been known as a top-notch teaching college, and that reputation has not faded, but a wealth of new and innovative degree programs have been added in recent years, including an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, a B.A. in Journalism and New Media Studies, a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM), and the new B.S. in Nursing (launching this fall). The College leadership plans to identify and promote signature programs among our current slate, while also assessing all aspects of the existing curriculum, developing collegewide standards for grading and honors, implementing a student honor code, and increasing the quality and scope of co-curricular programs.
Another strategy that will be used to achieve this goal is the establishment of a coordinated Student Success Center, which would integrate all current programs and services aimed at supporting student achievement and retention. The center would provide specialized programs, such as orientation, career services and counseling/wellness services, for our transfer, nontraditional, graduate and military-connected students, as well as early-intervention and pre- collegiate/summer programs to better prepare at-risk students for success.
Goal No. 3: To increase the College’s enrollment of students who are ready to be active members of our learning community
Increasing enrollment is critical to the ongoing success of St. Joseph’s College, and will require a concerted effort on the part of the entire staff, faculty and administration. The operational plan proposes four strategies to achieve this goal:
1. Develop data-driven and targeted enrollment plans, with specific goals for multiyear enrollment, retention and graduation rates.
2. Increase articulation agreements and partnerships with community colleges, high schools and corporations. One current example is the partnership between the HTM program and Suffolk County Community College (SCCC), through which SJC awards one $11,000 Hospitality and Tourism Management Scholarship each year to a graduate of SCCC’s Hotel and Resort Management program.
3. Increase programs and services for special populations, including veterans and military-connected students; first- generation, underrepresented and at-risk students (e.g., the Academic Center for English Language Studies and ESL), and senior citizens.
4. Provide increased opportunities for campus housing and residency programs.
Goal No. 4: To enhance public awareness, understanding and visibility of the College
Developing and promoting a clear brand for the College and its three campuses will fall to the newly established Office of Marketing and Communications, which oversees and coordinates all internal and external communications, publications (including this issue of SJCNY), the College website (sjcny.edu) and the MySJC portal. The office will also develop and implement comprehensive marketing plans and strategies for regional and national media relations.
The new website, which was launched last September, continues to undergo revisions that will allow us to better facilitate the planned three- college model and best represent the unique aspects of St. Joseph’s and its individual campuses.
The Office of Marketing and Communications will work closely with other offices and academic departments to increase the general awareness and understanding of the College, but all areas will have a hand in building upon the College’s community engagement initiatives and partnerships, including developing corporate partnerships and support programs, and more actively promoting the campuses to the external community as sites for conferences, events and meetings.
Another major component of this goal is the development of a beautification plan for both campuses. SJC Long Island has already implemented big changes, with an anonymous $1 million gift allocated to overhaul the entire quad area between O’Connor Hall and Callahan Library.
Goal No. 5: To secure the necessary resources to support the mission and goals of the College
Seventy-five percent of St. Joseph’s students receive some form of financial aid, so community support remains essential to ensuring those students’ ability to pursue a first-rate education at an affordable price. But gifts to St. Joseph’s support not only student scholarships, but also capital projects, such as the aforementioned beautification project at the SJC Long Island quad. Planned giving, in particular, is an important component of increasing the College’s endowment and ensuring its ongoing financial stability.
Fundraising will be front and center as we move forward with the operational plan, and staff will be optimized to develop and implement plans for a centennial campaign, as well as increased alumni giving and engagement, planned gifts and annual fund donations. The College will also establish a grants office to increase federal, state and corporate support of SJC for years to come.
With new and improved revenue streams secured, the College will also develop plans for the maintenance and improvement of campus facilities. The Long Island Master Plan will be implemented, and the Brooklyn Master Plan will be updated to include capital improvements for available space. Resources will also be enhanced to recruit, support and retain College personnel through multiyear plans for compensation and benefits, a system of performance goals and merit increases, and more robust programs for professional development, mentoring and coaching.
The expansion of our study abroad program offerings and Dr. Calareso’s prioritization of study abroad grants are in line with Generation Study Abroad, a campaign by the Department of State affiliate the Institute of International Education to increase participation in these programs, including improved access for students and increased international collaboration.
St. Joseph’s College has increased access to study abroad by allowing students to use their scholarship toward tuition abroad, providing stipends for faculty- led programs and offering large freshman experience grants. As a result, our long-term program participation has increased dramatically. Its impact is demonstrated by the following SJC community results:
Endowing the Global Studies Fund — SJC alumni, faculty and staff have raised enough money to fund the Global Studies Endowment, which will provide scholarships for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA who are in financial need.
Investing in our Global Community — SJC community members have donated financial resources to the Nicaragua project’s fruit trees and hand-washing stations fundraiser via the 2BSJC microphilanthropy program.
Launching Careers — Lauren Zirimis ’15 went to Romania, and will return after graduation to work with the New Horizons Foundation, which emphasizes building post-Communist communities through civic projects and adventure education.
Promoting Civic engagement — Melanie Grabow ’15 and Kristina Hernandez ’16 represented St. Joseph’s at the Global Youth Connect conference in New York City, which met with nonprofits and U.N. missions to discuss a different domestic/international issue each day. Hernandez founded the SJC Social Thinkers Club, which discusses current social issues. She recently started interning for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
Connecting to the SJC Community — The Nicaragua Club fundraises for and raises awareness about the community that it serves in Nicaragua. The Student Action group is collaborating with the Office of Global Studies to offer an international career fair, expand social media marketing and mentor prospective study abroad participants.
Pushing Mental and physical limits — A number of students have hiked the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, and Gillian Goodwin ’14 went from running a maximum of 5K before her trip, to running a full marathon in Valencia, Spain. Francesca Barone ’15 ran a half marathon in Queensland, Australia. Kimberly pfisterer ’15 had her photographs featured by her Australian host institution, the University of Sunshine Coast.
Increasing Post-graduation Marketability — Working abroad makes students competitive in the current job market, thanks to increased language proficiency and cross-cultural skills. Rebecca Mincieli ’15 spent a year in Spain and a number of other countries, and was paid to blog for a study abroad company at tumblr.com/tagged/rebecca-mincieli. She graduated a semester early to accept a job offer with JetBlue.
Registered nurses are in demand, with employment projected to increase by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, a rate faster than average, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The B.S. in Nursing was designed to train SJC students for careers in this field.
“Preparing the next generation of nurses to be the future leaders of the health care industry is one of our greatest responsibilities,” said Florence Jerdan, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Department of Nursing at SJC. “We are excited to introduce this new program that will provide students with all of the knowledge and essential tools to ensure they are successful in their careers.”
The program will include the use of sophisticated patient simulation and skills labs to enhance student learning and provide opportunities to gain practice before their first clinical experience in the hospital setting by developing psychomotor skills, critical thinking skills and clinical reasoning essential to nursing practice.
For more information about the B.S. in Nursing, contact the Office of Admissions in Brooklyn at 718.940.5800, or on Long Island at 631.687.4500.
OFFICE OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Formerly under the umbrella of the Office of Institutional Advancement, the offices of public relations and print and digital communications have merged to form the new Office of Marketing and Communications. Under the leadership of longtime public relations director turned vice president Jessica Mcaleer Decatur, the office will centralize all internal and external communications — including all print publications, the College website, the portal, social media and advertising — under one roof. The office will also coordinate the use of data to support comprehensive marketing plans that will drive enrollment, student retention and fundraising efforts through our centennial and beyond.
For more information on the services offered, visit sjcny.edu/marcomm.
LONG ISLAND MASTER PLAN
SJC Long Island comprises nearly 192,000 square feet of useable space, and the Master Plan aims to maximize the use of every one of them to create a more vibrant campus experience within our existing footprint. Created in collaboration with New York-based BRB Architects, the plan includes seven specific recommendations:
- Create a Nursing Center by converting 2,400 square feet on the third floor of O’Connor Hall.
- Create of a Student hospitality Center by renovating 5,900 square feet on the second floor of O’Connor Hall.
- Create a Student Engagement Center for tutoring, testing, advising and career counseling.
- Create an Admissions Hospitality Center at the second-floor south lobby of O’Connor Hall.
- Create a Student Snack Bar by converting existing space on the third floor of O’Connor Hall.
- Decommission the four “portables” behind O’Connor Hall and increase the utilization rate for classrooms campuswide.
- Identify a site for the potential addition of a Student Center/Residence Hall, most likely on the old athletic fields on the northeast corner of campus.
Pending ratification by the board of trustees, the College will develop projected cost estimates and a detailed implementation plan for these recommendations.
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