November 2012 News and Notes

 Holiday Party 
I hope you will join members of the faculty and staff for food, drink and merriment at the annual Holiday Reception, which will be held on Monday, December 17, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Frame-Westerberg Commons.  Back by popular demand, Staff Infection will provide the entertainment.  Please plan to have your guest join us, and RSVP to Barb Uscinski at uscinski@pitt.edu or 362-7501. 

 Winter Recess 
Please make note that the University will be closed from Monday, December 24 through Tuesday, January 1, 2013.  We will reopen on Wednesday, January 2.  This is well-deserved time off for our faculty and staff, and I wish you an enjoyable break.  

 Enrollment Update 
Our current FTE enrollment is 1429.8 (based on 1375 FT and 137 PT students), which is a 3.5% decrease from Fall 2011. Our incoming freshmen class accounted for 384 students.  Our retention of first-time, full-time students stood at 69.2%, a drop from 71.9% last fall and an increase from 68% the preceding year.   

Recruitment and retention are our most critical issues as we face the future, and I ask all faculty and staff to be constantly mindful of their role in advancing the following goals: 

  • Recruit 390 or more new freshmen and 160 or more transfer students.
  • Return to a freshmen-to-sophomore retention rate of 74%.
  • Using the 2005 cohort as a baseline, increase our four-year graduation rate from 26% to 30%; increase our five-year rate from 43% to 45%; increase our six year rate from 47% to 50% 

 President's Advisory Committee for Diversity 
The diversity of our student population has changed dramatically over the past five to six years.  As of Fall 2012, our students reported the following non-white backgrounds: American Indian - 7, Asian - 75, Black - 138, Hispanic - 44.  What has become apparent in the past year is that neither the surrounding communities, nor, to some extent, our campus are prepared to deal with the realities and implications of an increasingly diverse population of students.  I have convened an Advisory Committee to the President on Diversity and charged that committee with the following:

  • Assess and monitor the campus and community climate either formally (surveys, questionnaires) or informally (feedback from conversations, anecdotes) to determine level of receptivity to diversity
  • Host campus-wide diversity conversations
  • Engage key members of the (external) community in conversations aimed at overcoming obstacles to healthy and productive intergroup relationships 

Dr. Tony Gaskew chairs the committee, and I invite you to talk with Dr. Gaskew or other members of the committee when you have input or insights related to the charge.  The committee includes:  Dr. Kevin Ewert, Dr. Kira Leck, Ms. Christina Graham, Ms. Sierra Hairston, Mr. Darek Panol, Ms. Rachel Diehl (SGA rep), Mr. Jahlil Davis-Green (AASU rep), Ms. Melissa Yang (ASA rep), and Mr. Tyler Morris (LGBTS Alliance rep). 

 Update on Pitt-Titusville 
We continue to work diligently with Pitt-Titusville in an effort to shape operations at the campus so that the revenue it generates can support its operations.  A portion of that budgetary control came from changes in the administration of the campus, specifically, that I serve as President of both campuses and Rick Esch serves as VP of Business Affairs, overseeing Business Affairs at both campuses.  Additionally, our senior staff provides support to Titusville in the areas of Admissions, Financial Aid, Communications and Marketing, Facilities and Auxiliary Services.  However, the budget cannot be balanced through consolidation alone, and we are now in the process of reviewing the academic programs.  Titusville must offer a complement of programs that generate the interest and enrollment to recruit and retain students.  Dr. Steve Hardin and Dr. David Fitz, Interim Dean of the Titusville Campus, are co-chairing a joint faculty committee, which will generate a set of recommendations. 

 Faculty Recognized for Longevity Milestones 
This month we honored seven faculty members who have dedicated their careers to this institution and to our students.  Dr. Michael Stuckart was recognized for 35 years of service, and Andrea Robbins was recognized for 30 years.  Dr. Jon Draeger has served for 25 years.  Dr. Marius Buliga and Dr. Greg Page were recognized for ten years, and   Dr. David Merwine and Dr. Fang-Yi Flora Wei were recognized for five years.  Please extend your congratulations to these faculty when you see them on campus.

 Fall Athletic Updates 
We can be extremely proud of our students and coaches for the fall athletic teams' performances and the recognition they achieved within the AMCC conference.  Our honorees are listed below:  

 Women's Tennis

  • Kayla Branch: 2nd-team No. 3 doubles
  • Sarah Fowkes: 2nd-team No. 3 doubles
  • Emily Fowkes: 2nd-team No. 6 singles 

 Women's Soccer

  • Maggie Boehler: Newcomer and Co-Player of the Year; 1st-team
  • Alisa Cornell: Defensive Player of the Year; 1st-team
  • Linsey Stack: 1st-team
  • Sarah Turner: 1st-team
  • Andrea Gundlach: 2nd-team
  • Casey Schimpf: 2nd-team
  • Tess Follman: 2nd-team 

 Men's Soccer

  • Adam Forster: 2nd-team 

 Men's Golf

  • Casey Moyer: 2nd-team 

 Volleyball

  • Maggie Johnson: 1st-team
  • Taylor McMillen: 2nd-team
  • Cassie Heil: 2nd-team
  • Lauren Hogue: 2nd-team

 Save the Date 
Please mark your calendars for a few upcoming events:

  • Communications and Marketing Brand Party - Wednesday, February 20, 2013
  • Spring Break Holiday - Friday, March 15, 2013 

 50th Anniversary Celebration 
As you know, 2013 marks our 50th anniversary year, and the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee is at work planning several events to commemorate that milestone.  On September 3, 2013, the actual date of our opening, we will celebrate with a number of events, including the unveiling of a bronze panther statue, which has been nearly completely funded by SGA.  We will also open the time capsule from 25 years ago, and Staff Infection is working on a playlist from the '60s.  Other events are in the planning stages, and if you have ideas or suggestions, please feel free to talk with Committee Co-Chairs Jim Evans and Pat Cercone. 

 Emergency Notification Service 
If you have not already subscribed to the Emergency Notification Service, please consider doing so. As you may know, the service will enable you to receive voice and text messages in case of an emergency, including weather-related closures. To subscribe to the service, log in to the my.pitt.edu web portal and access the Emergency Notification tab under My Resources in the upper right, add your contact information and hit submit. Also, our Emergency Response Plan is available on our website.