Buena Vista University got off to a "smooth and successful opening," shares President Fred Moore. "It was one of the smoothest I can remember."
Enrollment is up, new programs have been added, new instructors are adding to the success, the athletic season is off to an enthusiastic beginning, and the campus is in prime shape.
While official figures won't be complete for another two weeks, President Moore said that it appears the total enrollment of all students will be 2,645 for the fall semester, as compared to 2,478 last year; an increase of 167 or 6.7 percent.
Breaking that figure down, Moore said it appears there are 959 students on the Storm Lake campus, including 355 freshmen, international and transfer students. President Moore said that about five years ago the SL campus enrollment was about 1,200. It is hoped that continued marketing and recruitment will bring the number of enrolled students near that level in the near future.
Moore was also pleased to announce that there are 46 international students from 12 countries - Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal, India, People's Republic of China, Ghana, Rwanda, Conga, Burunia, Switzerland and Brazil.
Having the international students on campus, Moore said, "enriches the campus."
Moore is pleased with the "dedicated recruiters" who, along with good marketing strategies, have helped in brining more students to the campus.
"Marketing is important," he said.
He added that today's economy, adults are concerned about their employment and many are "upgrading or retooling their skills" by going back to college.
He empathisizes with their situations but is glad that BVU is able to be a part of their new journeys.
Of all the students enrolled at BVU, 73 percent of them are Iowans.
Moore shared that there is a new ROTC program on campus, the only college in Western Iowa to have one. There are eight students currently enrolled.
He is pleased to announce, also, that BVU had a record number of students be accepted to medical school - seven of seven.
Tracking of BVU's graduates is important. It has been recorded that 94 percent of the 2008 graduates entered the workforce within six months of graduation; the Class of 2009 will be tracked in December. The numbers look good during this "challenging employment market."
The University has been recognized by several outside entities as the place to be.
BVU was named as one of the 150 great colleges to work for earlier this year and this summer, the student MOVE organization was recognized with a Governor's Volunteer award. Incidentally, 11,500 hours of community service was logged by BVU students. Terrific!
The U.S. News and World Report named BVU the 11th best college in the Midwest, moving up one space from last year's report.
Moore proudly announced that four BVU faculty members had the opportunity to study in Turkey in June, as part of the McCorkle Fellows program. He was able to accompany the group. He added that 11 students had the great opportunity to take part in competitive research programs over the summer, important for those students as they look ahead towards medical careers.
Several students took part in the 10th annual alternative spring break and traveled to New Mexico, Utah and Puerto Rico to take part in community service projects.
The new social science building and the art building have been grand additions to the campus. Students' needs are being met not only academically but in providing them space to sit and study (and talk with other students). Space has been made available in buildings already on campus. A new coffee shop is a popular gathering spot as is a new area in the basement of Smith Hall.
President Moore said that while great strides have been made in the academic structures on campus, with today's economy capital projects must be curtailed. A new roof was placed on Lage this summer which, he said, will greatly improve the appearance but will greatly serve as an energy saver for the building. No other large projects are planned for the near future.
"We need to be good stewards right now," he said.
The Iowa Tuition Grants made available to students who have financial needs, based on family income, has been very positive at BVU.
"We are very pleased there were no cuts in the Iowa Tuition Grants," Moore said, adding that parents, teachers and staff were urged to write to the general assembly, asking not to cut the program. "Fifty-two percent of students receive these grants," he said, making it one of the colleges with the largest number of ITG enrolees.
"We think higher education is a wonderful investment for taxpayers."
Moore discussed the issue of declining numbers of education majors.
While it appears to be a statewide problem, Moore said the numbers of education majors appears up at BVU.
"Ultimately, this is a warning sign for schools in search of teachers. We provide more teachers than any other private college in the state. There's no magic elixir but we are glad to be fighting this trend."
BVU has six new faculty members on staff and he is quite pleased.
"We have had a great hiring season and we are really pleased with the outstanding success in the new hirings. Our teachers are the lifeblood of the academic programs and are the key to an university's success."
Moore highlighted the successful athletic programs through the year and there are great expectations for the athletes going on currently and those to comes.
"Athletics is important, in recruitment and in school pride. We're very pleased."
Moore looks forward to a good school year, academically as well as on the field and courts.