WAVE Magazine Fall 2018 JU_WaveMag_Fall18_2 - Page 20

" I F YO U H AV E AN INTER ES T IN POURING YOUR ENERGY, T I M E OR TA LENT I NTO JACKSONVILLE UNIVERSIT Y, N OW I S T H E TIM E TO START. HE R E’ S WHAT IS R EAL: A UNIVERSIT Y C OMMUNIT Y MUST C ON T I N UA LLY GR OW B ETTER. SO, W E'RE IN C RANES-IN-T HE - A I R M O D E, AN D LI TER ALLY BUILDING OUR FUT URE." Q: Academically speaking, what can we expect to see happening next across the University’s six Colleges and Institutes? Q: What would you say to someone who's considering getting involved with the University? A: You’ll see this University step hard into some of our global market’s most interesting and innovative fields, many of which we’re already teaching—engineering, robotics, the marine sciences, cybersecurity, sustainability, speech pathology, public policy, and others. In a far more targeted and precise way, we will continue evaluating what we teach, how we teach, where we invest, what type of students we attract and what jobs they may secure after graduation ... all with a liberal arts and sciences base. A: When we first started getting out the message about all the exciting things happening here, our alumni base grew more interested and engagement increased. That was exciting and provided us momentum. Now, we constantly explore opportunities to further activate the Jacksonville University ‘nation,’ to more deeply involve alumni, faculty, staff, students, donors, business partners, sports fans, community partners and anyone else who walks onto our 240 acres. Q: Higher education channels seem locked in an endless debate over the value of liberal arts. What are your thoughts? A: Jacksonville University embraces the liberal arts and sciences. The core concepts of critical thinking, communication, rational reasoning ... these don't go in and out of style. Today, there may be some negative connotations attached to the label “liberal arts.” Still, I believe you’ll see a full pendulum swing, across the higher education landscape, from a solely STEM- driven focus to a more holistic approach. With more and more data around the 360-degree education of students age 18 to 25, we will also continue prioritizing the development of valuable skills in a definitive field of their choice. But we believe that our liberal arts and sciences underpinnings mean greater agility for graduates. After all, employers are looking for well-rounded team players. If you have an interest in pouring your energy, time or talent into Jacksonville University, now is the time to start. Here’s what is real: a university community must continually grow better. So, we're in cranes-in-the-air mode, and literally building our future. Q: Strictly talking numbers, which data do you find the most meaningful expression of the University’s recent accomplishments? A: First, recruitment and retention rates are key. Most folks don’t realize that we have welcomed more than 10,000 visitors and prospective students to campus over the past 12 months. We’ve also moved the needle on retention rates. In our first year together, that increase equaled more than 20 percent. That's real progress. Second, when a university flexes its economic muscle, that’s impactful. We’re already more than $400 million into a community revitalization process that will radiate out from our front gates into the Arlington community, a mile in every direction, possibly more. Think of a collegiate village, and know that Jacksonville University counts it a privilege to be the nexus point of such a transformation. Last, and so important to where we’re headed next, the University recently completed the $120 million ASPIRE Campaign. ASPIRE provided more than funding for new facilities, upgrades and programming. It gave this University confidence. Likewise, our recent bond offering also demonstrated that, for this University, you can’t reach too high. An astounding $1.82 billion in bond orders for $150 million plan, 12 times the expected offering, is an exciting glimpse into what the future will bring. Q: As you step into your sixth year as President and wrap up the ASPIRE Campaign, what do you most want on the collective mind of the Jacksonville University Community? A: We're just getting started. It has been five years, and we're ready for our next chapter together as an institution. Let’s get ready to deliver several more wins for this University in terms of progress. Let us also remember that Jacksonville University is a growing, living, breathing institution. When we invest in it, nurture it, and spend our time here, this University will grow in ways none of us could have imagined. Together, we have changed the slope of progress. B Y TH E N U MB ER S ASPIRE Campaign total dollars raised. FEATURES bond offering with $1.82 billion in bond orders. increase in retention rate from 2011-2018. to campus during the 2017-2018 academic year. in Arlington community revitalization.