Seizing the Moment—The Strategic Plan in Action

On December 1 and 7, President Friedman and other members of management met with faculty, staff, and students to share progress to date and future plans for implementing the Strategic Plan.

Interim Dean Harriet Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, presented on the academic goals, highlighting that each of the schools will have their own strategic plans prepared by early 2011. She also noted that the University will continue to concentrate on areas such as faculty development, interdisciplinary education, and the use of instructional technology.  Additionally, she announced the newest Pace Center for Excellence:  Academic and Pedagogical Innovation.

Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Bill McGrath reported on a number of facility upgrades that had been completed or were in the works. Among the completed upgrades: a $902,000 overhaul of lecture halls completed this summer, improvements in the Kessel Center and Lienhard labs, new Mac labs, technology enhanced classrooms, e-mail server upgrades, and additional improvements to Banner and Blackboard. He also discussed the PLV master plan and announced the NYC master plan, which includes upgrades to the fitness center in One Pace Plaza (to open next month) and a new residence hall on Broadway less than four blocks from campus. The new dorm will open in 2013 and replace the dorms currently in Brooklyn.

More positive news from enrollment as Vice President of Enrollment Management Robina Schepp reported continued growth of full-time student enrollment, which has increased by 1,200 during the last three years (excluding special programs, such as Teach for America). She also announced the development of a new five-year strategy for steadily increasing both the number of incoming students as well as the quality of their test scores and grades. This strategy will be executed in a number of ways, including differentiating the Pace campuses and improving   conversion numbers.

On the marketing side, Vice President for University Relations Tom Torello announced several exciting new social media initiatives including Enrollment’s work with PaceYourself (a Facebook application   to introduce accepted students to the Pace Community and improve conversion) and a pilot program with location-based social networking site FourSquare. Pace is one of only 20 universities in the country participating in the program and the only university in New York City. In addition, the move is under way to a new content management system for the University’s website that will enable  content  to be syndicated for use in Pace’s many media outlets.

As the meeting was winding down, good news was given on the financial front: After several challenging years, Pace is now projecting a $6 million surplus for this budget year despite the economic conditions.  However it was noted that due to current low interest rates, a portion of this surplus will be devoted to rebuilding unrestricted net assets.  In addition, contribution to the Annual Fund increased by 26 percent from last year and this year’s goal is to increase that another 16 percent. Overall, the University hopes to increase our surplus from $6 million to $10 million and has a multi-year plan to help us meet that goal.

You can read more about the vision for the future of Pace in this month’s President’s corner. Or for more information about the implementation of the Strategic Plan and to watch video from the event, visit our Strategic Plan website.

An Inside Look at the Strategic Plan: Creating Distinctive Campus Identities

The fourth article in a series on the Strategic Plan, this month features commentary from Bill McGrath, Senior Vice President of Administration, on Goal #3: Creating Vibrant, Distinctive and Collegial Campus Identities.

Bill McGrath takes time from transforming Pace to answer our questions about what we’ve done and what’s to come under Strategic Plan Goal #3:  Create Vibrant, Distinctive, and Collegial Campus Identities

What are the University’s plans in the next 12 months to address the goal of creating distinctive campus identities?

We’ve already made progress toward this goal and we have very exciting plans to continue that momentum.  This year, we implemented several successful, student-oriented projects, including the renovation of the Lienhard Lecture Hall in Pleasantville and the hugely popular Learning Commons room in the Birnbaum Library at One Pace Plaza.  These projects combine space upgrades with the installation of the latest learning technology to deliver an excellent student experience.

These next 12 months will be even more exciting.

In NYC we are upgrading lecture halls North and West at One Pace Plaza.  These newly renovated spaces will be beautiful and, more importantly, will be reflective of the teaching and learning environment we are creating throughout the University.  Our new standard for classroom technology is being installed in these lecture halls.  This new standard has been well-received by faculty and students and we plan to install it in most, if not all of our classrooms in the next few years.

We are also accommodating the growth and success of our academic programs while responding to student needs.  For example, we are building a new nursing lab, upgrading the dance studio, and completing the installation of the all-new fire alarm system to ensure student safety.  And by popular demand from our NYC students, we are building a new fitness center in the C-level gymnasium.  This fitness center will be equipped with new fitness equipment and will be a very  comfortable and accommodating space.

In Pleasantville we have two major projects coming to completion by the fall semester–The Dyson Labs and the Dining Hall in the Kessel Student Center.  The largest construction project undertaken by Pace in recent years, the Dyson Hall Science Lab will be completed this fall.  Dyson Labs will contain new lab space for undergraduate research in the sciences and conference space for research colloquia. The newly constructed labs and classroom space will allow for development of new interdisciplinary programs such as Forensic Toxicology that will make use of facilities for both Biology and Forensic Science.

This September, the Kessel Student Center will have a new and improved servery with expanded menu options from Lackmann Culinary Services and upgraded equipment. The dining area will get a fresh look that will include modern new furniture. This improvement will help build community in the campus as students can gather, eat, and study in a comfortable and welcoming environment.

What features will be included in these technology-enabled classrooms?

By the fall semester, all classrooms will have new projectors, new screens, and easier more convenient technology connections for the faculty. The Lecture Halls will feature industry leading Crestron technology with touch screens that are built into the instructor podiums and control all technology in the room including lighting. All classrooms and teaching spaces will have robust wireless access. This will enhance the teaching experience for faculty members, as well as the learning experience for students.

What do you see as key components of a new master site plan on each campus?

The main goal of the master site plan for the Pleasantville campus is to migrate all students living on the Briarcliff Campus to Pleasantville.  The plan calls for the development of new residence halls, improved circulation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic by moving parking to the perimeter of campus, enriching the athletics program by building a turf field, new tennis courts and softball field, and relocating administrative staff.

The master site plan for New York City will develop a sense of presence and identity for the Lubin School of Business and Dyson College of Arts and Science, create a vibrant Student Services Center at One Pace Plaza, and expand student housing in New York City, so that every student is within walking distance of their classes.

These are ambitious goals and will take several years to bring to fruition.  It should be clear to everyone that Pace is moving forward and our future is bright.  These next five years will be exciting and transformative for Pace as we all work together to implement the new Strategic Plan.

How do you think the University could create more distinctive campus identities?

Post your comments below, or join the discussion on the Pace Strategic Plan website.