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University Unveils Five Year Plan

By Anastasia Tsioutas

A new Five Year Plan for the University strives to enhance its reputation and reshape the future faculty and student body.

The numerous goals detailed in the plan are scheduled to be implemented from Sept.1, 2005 through Aug. 31, 2010.

"Basically [the plan] looks to continue to strengthen the incoming classes," Melissa Connolly, assistant vice president for University Relations, said. "It looks to enhance resources available to attract students to come and stay at Hofstra and it looks to build on the already strong academic reputation and abilities that we have."

President Stuart Rabinowitz presented the plan to the board of trustees at its Oct. 19 meeting, according to a memo that was coupled with the plan.

There are ten specific goals detailed in the plan. These objectives include enhancing academic quality of entering students, increasing the number of full-time faculty and enhancing scholarship and innovation in teaching.

According to the plan, enhancing the academic quality of students entering the University will be accomplished by raising the GPA of first-time freshman from 3.08 to 3.30, as well as raising the mean SAT score of incoming students by 10 to 15 points per year over the next five years.

"We believe that an increase over five years to a mean of approximately 1200 would signal that Hofstra is continuously 'on the move' in enhancing academic excellence," according to the plan. "Finally an improvement in SAT scores is required to improve our current rankings in Barron's and U.S. News. Ratings and guidebooks have a strong impact on prospective students' and parents' perception of quality."

The plan also intends to increase the number of full-time faculty, in order to reduce the dependence on adjunct faculty and to further develop student contact with full-time faculty.

"The growth in reliance on adjuncts has been the result of not adding new faculty lines at the same time as the implementation of the nine semester hours (per semester) teaching load of full-time faculty, coupled with increases in the student body size," according to the plan.

The plan called for increasing the number of full-time faculty to benefit new freshmen, providing students with significant interaction with professors. Also, it will improve student advisement and new courses could be added in order to promote new academic and undergraduate programs.

The plan targets specific schools such as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (HCLAS), the School of Education and the School of Communication, as the areas that would receive new additions to their full-time faculty.

Other goals include improving scholarship and innovation in teaching, enhancing student satisfaction and retention, heightening the University's academic reputation and creating new academic programs and centers.

According to the plan, "The faculty is at the heart of the academic enterprise and their excellence in teaching is essential to Hofstra's academic reputation, student satisfaction and alumni giving."

Efforts will be made to help promote the importance of faculty and scholarship through the creation of research funds to permit faculty travel, the purchase of equipment and awards and prizes to honor faculty excellence in areas such as scholarship and teaching.

Funding to successfully execute the plan will come from various sources.

"It's basically a combination of efficiencies in the budget, enrollment growth and graduate programs and the capital campaign," Connolly said.

Another focus of the plan is to augment student satisfaction and retention.

For example, according to the plan, "The University is already focusing on improving the first year experience for students and on eliminating a much red tape as possible in registration and other administrative tasks."

Suggestions regarding the improvement of the first-year experience were suggested by a task force, which will help to "create a sense of community among first year students."

The five-year plan also strives to create new graduate programs in HCLAS, Zarb School of Business, School of Communication and School of Education. Also included in the plan is the University's goal to establish centers in areas of global studies, Middle Eastern studies and Latin American and Caribbean studies.

"For example, New College will thoroughly review and likely revise its undergraduate curriculum and the status of New College will be reviewed," according to the plan. "The Zarb School has just completed the process of reconceptualizing the Master in Business Administration degree program including a review of the number of courses and credits necessary to earn the degree."

The five-year plan involved the improvement of physical and academic facilities, including the library and electronic resources. The enhancement of safety and security is also a concern.

"It is an important part of [Rabinowitz's] move to create a campus that provides state of the art facilities in order to enhance the academic experience for students and faculty," Connolly said.

The plan suggests the construction of a new 230-seat theater, which will contain orchestra rehearsal room, seminar rooms and faculty offices. Also the renovation of Mason, Calkins and Lowe halls and renovation and expansion of the backstage of the theater in Monroe Hall, are also expected to take place within the five-year period.

According to the plan, it "does not deal with all aspects of campus life such as athletics, parts of the cultural center or auxiliary services, not because such areas are unimportant, but because we chose to concentrate attention and resources on academic goals identified above."

Even though the plan does not deal with athletics, it states that since "a new director of intercollegiate athletics is in place and a new board of trustees athletics policy committee is established, a separate plan for athletics will be developed and reviewed."

M. Patricia Adamski, senior vice president for planning and administration, formulated the plan along with Herman A. Berliner, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. Input was obtained from various sources such as the faculty, deans and administration. It was reviewed by the First Year Task Force, the University Senate Executive Committee, the University Senate Planning and Budget Committee, the president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and the president of the Alumni Association.

"I think that the five-year plan addresses many of the problems that students on campus are having, such as inadequate library facilities," SGA President Heather Gibbons said. "The University has really tried to listen and respond to student complaints and to base their future plans on improving student satisfaction."

According to the plan, the goals "were designed to be achievable within the specified time frame and budget requests were discussed and sometimes scaled back, in order to formulate a realistic plan."

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