Although the financial crisis of 2008-09 has not left Stonehill untouched, the College enjoys a position of strength and stability for a school of its age and size. Well-managed fiscally, we entered this self-study with the optimism of an institution that has grown stronger over the last decade and that understands how to continue on a path of significant change that will position us for the future.
Some key changes over the last ten years include:
- Phasing out the Continuing Education Program, the Community and Professional Development Program, and the Master of Science in Accountancy Program in order to focus on our core mission of baccalaureate education.
- Complete revision of the general education curriculum.
- New emphasis on learning outcomes and on the implementation of the academic department review process.
- Enhanced emphasis on interdisciplinary and integrative learning; experiential learning, including service- and community-based learning; independent research through the SURE program; expanded internship experiences; new international programs and domestic "away" programs; and multiple opportunities emerging from the establishment of the Center for Nonprofit Management and the rededicated Martin Institute.
- Emergence of new creative performance opportunities through our growing Visual and Performing Arts Department.
- Development of a comprehensive Human Resource function that has enabled salaries and benefits to be enhanced for all classes of employees.
- Growth of the faculty by 22%, which enabled curricular innovations.
- New faculty development initiatives, including the creation of the Faculty Development Fund, the addition of the Center for Teaching and Learning, the adoption of a new Learning Management System, and the development of the Office for Community-Based Learning.
- Improvement in selected enrollment objectives such as diversity and student academic profile.
- Improvement in student quality of life through recommendations for the first year of college: integration of co-curricular programming across divisions, a focus on residential life, expanded community service and volunteerism, a new leadership program, and a focus on wellness.
- Revision of the governance structure through the establishment of a Mission Division and the appointment of a VP for Mission, the restructuring of the Academic Division and the development of a group of Deans below the level of the VPAA, the creation of a Faculty Senate, the suppression of the offices of Executive Vice President and Vice President for Administration; and the creation of an Enrollment Management Division in which a VP for Enrollment Management and Marketing oversees the Admissions, Financial Aid, and Marketing functions.
- Decentralization of the budget process, with an emphasis on bringing departments more fully into the process and linking resources to strategic initiatives.
- Renovation of Cushing-Martin Hall for three academic departments, the Kruse Center for Academic and Professional Excellence (which included new leadership and direction for the Office of Career Services and a new office of International Programs), and the Stonehill Industrial History Collection.
- Creation of a campus master plan which will inform the development of the campus over the next 30 years.
- Several new facilities, including an outdoor athletic stadium; a state-of-the-art science center; and a new residence hall.
- New leadership, direction, and strategy for integrated marketing, communications, and web design.
- A comprehensive campaign with a goal of $55 million ($42.5 million raised) to support student scholarships, the Science Center, intercollegiate athletics, and academic initiatives.
Many of these changes have significantly altered the Stonehill experience for students, who are increasingly invited to think across disciplinary boundaries, to integrate knowledge, and to connect knowledge to its uses. The College's growth has also made a significant difference for the faculty, who are supported at far higher levels in this decade as they work to develop new student opportunities and to advance their research. Changes in the administrative structures of the College have allowed for a more streamlined approach to our shared work and have offered administrative units more support, clearer demarcation of responsibilities, and more opportunities for collaboration across divisional lines. Our greatest strengths are a shared focus on student outcomes --both learning outcomes and graduate outcomes -- and the commitment to allocate the resources of the College into enhancing those outcomes for every student.
Nevertheless, we face challenges that have helped to shape the initiatives in our new Strategic Plan. These include:
- Ensuring consistent strength of academic challenge in all curricular programs;
- Developing further experiential learning opportunities;
- Increasing the distinctiveness of the academic program, its attendant enrichments, and the resulting student achievements;
- Focusing on curriculum and campus programs that substantiate Stonehill's authentically Catholic identity;
- Strengthening our student culture, with special emphasis on the residential experience and on student physical, moral, and spiritual wellness;
- Enhancing the College through greater diversity of personnel and programs;
- Improving organizational communication, participation, and opportunities for professional growth.
Both our recent successes and our challenges are elaborated in detail in this self-study report.