Greetings to all the members of the Cleveland State University community. This is the latest in a series of newsletters I began last year to increase communication from the President's Office and to keep you informed of significant events in the always fascinating life of this great University. With the beginning of a busy new academic year, there is plenty to report.
The Fall 2010 preliminary 15th day enrollment reached an 18-year high with 17,323 students. The university realized a 12.9% increase in minority students over last fall with the benefit of 504 additional minority students. Our total enrollment is made up of 26% minority students, 66% are undergraduates and 34% are graduate students; 59% attend full-time and the remaining 41% attend part-time. In terms of new student enrollment, the university realized a 13% gain in new first year and transfer students and a 19% gain in new masters, law and doctoral students.
Even more impressive to me, our first-year students make up the most academically competitive class in University history, with ACT scores exceeding the national average and a mean high school grade point of 3.12. A record 45 percent of the incoming freshmen received a competitive institutional scholarship, and 55 percent received a federal Pell grant.
All of us should take pride in these figures. They are an indication that CSU is fulfilling its mission as an urban university.
The fact that we are attracting better students is, in my judgment, a tribute to the outstanding faculty at CSU. As our standards continue to rise, academic competition can only increase, which will make the University even stronger. The increase in minority enrollment shows that our continuing emphasis on serving a diverse urban population is paying dividends.
This year's serious-minded crop of freshmen, who arrive with such impressive academic credentials, are a precious resource. They applied themselves to their high school studies and come to us better prepared than any class before them.
One of the most exciting initiatives ever undertaken at CSU – establishment of an on-campus kindergarten-through-12th grade public school in conjunction with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District – has moved from the talking stage to reality.
Campus International School, offering a globally recognized curriculum, is conducting classes for 120 students in kindergarten, first and second grades, with plans to extend classes to the 12th grade by 2015. The school is currently housed in the First United Methodist Church at the corner of East 30th Street and Euclid Avenue.
Campus International School will provide students with an innovative, high-quality educational experience. It will incorporate programs from the International Baccalaureate, a Swiss-based education program renowned for its academic rigor and international focus, teaching students to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. All students at the Campus International School will receive instruction in Mandarin Chinese. This opportunity has been funded by the Confucius Institute, housed in the College of Education. International Baccalaureate serves more than 800,000 students in 2,800 schools worldwide.
The benefits of the new school are many, for both the University and the City. Cleveland parents will have access to a unique, high-end educational opportunity for their children, at no additional cost. The school should also serve as an enticement for young families to consider moving downtown, which is consistent with the City's goal of encouraging more downtown residential development.
And for CSU, the school will fill a role similar to a teaching hospital, offering our education students access to real-world classroom environments in which they will receive hands-on training and experience, thus helping the University to produce best-in-class teachers of tomorrow.
Campus International School is a signature accomplishment for Cleveland State University, and I know all of us look forward to watching the school's growth and development over the coming years.
It is a natural fit. CSU has formally entered into a working partnership with the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) to train and graduate physicians and health care professionals dedicated to serving urban communities.
NEOUCOM, located in Rootstown , is the University System of Ohio's only free-standing medical college. Talks between NEOUCOM President Dr. Jay Alan Gershen and I have resulted in an exciting new program that will provide qualified CSU students direct entry path into NEOUCOM.
CSU is joining NEOUCOM in the creation of a unique medical education program designed to address urban health care issues. One of the primary goals of the program is to produce high-quality primary care physicians and place them in long term careers in urban centers, where the need for health care is great. At least 50% of all academic and clinical instruction in this new Primary Care concentration will take place in Cleveland.
Spearheading this joint effort will be Dr. Mark Penn, MD, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Executive Associate Dean at NEOUCOM. While maintaining that position, he will also serve as a special assistant to the president and Vice Provost for Health Affairs at CSU. Dr. Penn will divide his time between the two institutions.
The program will target promising students as early as high school, and offer incentives such as scholarships and debt-reduction plans for students who commit a portion of their careers after graduation to urban health care. The medical curriculum will be aimed specifically at urban health care issues, and efforts will be made to attract under-represented minority students into the program.
High school and college students interested in a career in medicine will be able to apply for early admission to NEOUCOM through a pre-medical curriculum at CSU. Some 35 seats will be reserved for CSU graduates, and dedicated residency slots will be available to them at Cleveland hospitals.
Dr. Penn was the obvious choice to take on this important task, given his experience at NEOUCOM and his outstanding qualifications. He holds a bachelor's degree in microbiology from The Ohio State University, a medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo, and a master's degree in business administration from Regent University. After spending time in private practice, he joined NEOUCOM in 1988.
The new partnership with NEOUCOM not only enhances Cleveland State's commitment to health and health science as a defining theme, it will bring much-needed quality health care to Cleveland and other urban centers.
I wish all the decisions I have to make as President were as easy as the one in which I recommended Geoffrey Mearns to the Board of Trustees for appointment to the position of Provost. My recommendation had the overwhelming support of the CSU Deans, Vice Presidents, and the Faculty Senate Steering Committee.
Geoffrey Mearns was a known quantity, who in five years as Dean at Cleveland-Marshall made remarkable strides in transforming it into one of top law schools in the state, in the process earning the respect of nearly everyone he worked with here at the University. When I named him Interim Provost earlier this year, I learned to appreciate firsthand why his colleagues hold him in such professional esteem. Consequently, our national search for a Provost ended in our own backyard.
In his five years at Cleveland-Marshall, the law school significantly improved the quality and performance of its students, with bar passage rates in recent years among the highest in Ohio. This year, it reached 90 percent, placing Cleveland-Marshall among the top three law schools in the state. He also helped create the Center for Health Law and Policy and supervised the $8.8 million law school renovation.
A former Partner at Baker Hostetler, Mearns had a distinguished career as a Prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he investigated, prosecuted and supervised cases against organized crime figures. He participated in the prosecution of Terry Nichols, convicted of the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing. Mearns earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his law degree from the University of Virginia.
I hope that by now everyone has had the opportunity to visit the stunning Student Center, the new gateway to the CSU campus, which opened at the beginning of the fall semester. From the reviews and comments I've heard, the new $44 million building is an enormous hit.
The three-story center contains a bookstore, restaurants, offices for student activities, and most importantly, plenty of spaces for students to lounge, study, talk, relax, and form the bonds that will make our campus more of a community.
With its central location and pedestrian bridges linking it to other buildings, the Student Center is sure to become the nexus of the CSU campus. Enjoy.
The entire Cleveland State University community extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of retired federal judge Alvin I. "Buddy" Krenzler, who died earlier this month at the age of 89 in Florida.
Krenzler was a good and loyal friend to CSU for many years, both as a member of the Board of Trustees and as a benefactor to the CSU Foundation. He was even on hand for the University's birth. More than 40 years ago, Krenzler, acting on behalf of Gov. James A. Rhodes, was instrumental in the decision to locate CSU downtown. CSU's soccer stadium was named Krenzler Field in his honor in 1985.
Few have ever shown more loyalty and affection for CSU than Buddy Krenzler. He will be missed.
Ronald M. Berkman