Greetings! I am thrilled to share with you this annual report, detailing the many initiatives, events, experiences and accomplishments that are sustaining Pitt-Johnstown and garnering acclaim for its high quality, responsive and distinctive programs and people that foster real-world preparedness.
As you will find in this Annual Report on our Strategic Plan, A New Dimension of Excellence, we continue to make significant strides as we strengthen our high quality programs, ensuring that they are more distinctive and more responsive to our students’ and communities’ needs. Over the past year, we introduced and refined several programs including new majors in Biochemistry and Computer Engineering Technology as well as a track in Applied Computer Science. A major initiative tied directly to the expressed needs and interests of our students and communities resulted in a major expansion into the health care area. In addition to the BS in Nursing, we have redesigned our BS in Health Related Professions program into the new BS in Healthcare with several tracks for aspiring professionals in the field. Additionally, we have established a new Division of Nursing and Health Sciences chaired by our own Dr. Janet Grady, which will enable us to further our strategic initiatives in those important areas. These collectively represent some of the most far-reaching renewal and development of our degree programs and curricular offerings in about two decades.
Yet, our story is about more than programs and processes. It is about the success and the accomplishments of Pitt Johnstown people, students, faculty and staff. During the past academic year, 474 students graduated ready for the Real World. Our freshman-sophomore retention and graduation rates continue to match or exceed the national averages of peers. Our faculty are engaged in vital teaching and learning, and reflecting the very best of the teacher-scholar model. The dedication and loyalty of our staff are evident at all spheres of the institution from the physical plant to the administrative offices; from the playing fields to the classrooms. Many thanks to our talented and dedicated faculty who are making a difference in the lives of our students as they prepare for life beyond college.
Our campus experience and environment continue to be strengthened and made more student-supportive through ongoing improvements to our facilities and technology, the dedication of our students, and the creation of several new programs including our RealWorld Action Program. Student engagement continues to grow, as illustrated by our robust programs such as our campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. While many college students spent their spring break relaxing on warm, sunny beaches, 64 Pitt-Johnstown students participated in an alternative spring break trip to four locations in the southern United States where they invested 2,200 hours constructing homes.
To enhance our ties to the surrounding communities and fulfill our mission as a public-serving institution, we launched our landmark service project entitled Pitt-Johnstown @ Your Service. This ambitious undertaking, consisting of a broad range of projects including fund raising drives, visits to local schools, hospital and nursing homes, demonstrated the Pitt-Johnstown commitment to service that sustains and transforms our communities.
It was also heartwarming to see many community members in attendance at our inaugural Glocal Society Series event, where leaders from the World Health Organization led a discussion on disease prevention, health reform, and health promotion. World-renowned pollster Dr. Frank Luntz and international bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series Marci Shimoff were among other luminaries who visited campus recently.
Even in these times, our resource base continues to be strong, thanks in large measure to our collective abilities to maintain the quality of our programs, albeit with limited resource allocations from the state. Given the intricate nexus between our enrollment and budget, I am pleased to report that our enrollment has increased modestly (up to 2,980 FTE from 2,945) despite the many challenges that were presented nationally over the past year. Let me take this opportunity to emphasize that none of these successes would have been possible without each and everyone of you. I am grateful to all who have helped shoulder additional responsibilities as resource reallocations, necessitated by the severe budget environment, led to changes in personnel utilization amongst and within units.
As the attached Report demonstrates, we continue to make substantial progress towards achieving the lofty goals set in our New Dimension Strategic Plan. As always, I am pleased to take these opportunities to provide a periodic accounting of the accomplishments, the evidence, that we are moving forward or at least holding ground. In numerous ways, we are also increasing efforts to ensure more effective assessment of our plans, programs and processes to promote greater accountability.
In sum, there is a lot of great stuff happening at Pitt-Johnstown and you are responsible for it, in your own way, doing your own thing towards the collective goal of student success in a world of rapid change and great complexity. Our growing momentum is gaining plaudits far and wide. From an article in Tacoma, Washington’s The News Tribune recognizing Pitt-Johnstown for graduation rates that exceed the national average, to a story that appeared in several national newspapers (including the Denver Post and Fresno Bee) praising our “100 Days-100% Initiative,” an ever-expanding national audience is taking note of the great things that are happening at Pitt-Johnstown. Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown was recently named a “Best Baccalaureate College” (northern region) by U.S. News & World Report, a Best Northeastern College by The Princeton Review, and a “Top 10 Best Place to Work” by Johnstown Magazine.
We all have many reasons to be… Mountain Cat Proud! To view the report, please visit: www.upj.pitt.edu/CommunityReports (if you do not have a username and password, enter the following PIN: 2009).