Loyola University Maryland

Office of the President

Fr. Linnane's State of the College Address 2006

Loyola College in Maryland
Office of the president
State of the College Address

8 September 2006

Good afternoon. I am very happy to have this opportunity to reflect on the state of the College with you. Technically speaking this is the first State of the College address I will give—the last of the firsts, I hope—since last year I made some “remarks to the College Community.” I felt that it was presumptuous of me as a new President to offer a “state of the College.” I am less reticent this year.

I am happy to report that Loyola College in Maryland is in excellent shape as we begin the 2006-2007 academic year. Every indicator suggests that Loyola is a very stable institution, well-situated to continue to advance as a leading comprehensive university in the northern United States with a growing national reputation. This afternoon I will address some of the issues and concerns I referred to in my talk last year, provide you with some updates, and speak to some of my plans for the coming academic year.

Let me begin by saying a few things about undergraduate admissions. I am delighted to report that Loyola has again successfully recruited and enrolled a very talented first-year class. In fact, we may have been a little too successful. We targeted our acceptance strategy so that we would have 930 members of the class of 2010 enrolled on September 1. In actuality we enrolled 969 first year students.

The College received 7,981 applications, again a record for Loyola. While the mean Grade Point Average of the members of the class of 2010 has gone up (3.54 as opposed to 3.45 last year) the mean SAT score of 1202 represents a decline from the mean in recent years. This reflects, to some degree, both a national trend and the experience of other colleges and universities in Maryland. With regard to mean class rank, our first year students were in the top 18 percent of their high school classes, the same mean rank as last year. ALANA (African-American, Latino-American, Asian-American, and Native American) enrollment was at 13 percent, a figure consistent with recent years.

David duKor Jackson—who leaves us today to take up the post of Associate Dean of Admissions at Bucknell University—and the entire Undergraduate Admissions Office deserve our thanks for bringing in such an outstanding class, particularly during a time of great transition for that office. I also want to thank Dr. Susan Donovan and her staff for successfully accommodating a larger than anticipated class and for a very smooth—albeit rainy—move-in day.

I would be remiss if I left the topic of admissions without commenting on the wonderful accomplishments of Scott Greatorex and the Graduate Admissions team. We can be very proud of our graduate programs at Loyola College. These programs are of the highest quality. They serve the graduate and professional needs of the Baltimore-Washington region in a way that reflects a thorough commitment to both academic excellence and the distinctive ideals of Jesuit education.

The Graduate Admissions Office has done an outstanding job of marketing these programs. The excellent Website for graduate programs is but one example of this marketing effort. Despite the increasing competition for graduate students in this area, I am very pleased to report that our programs are doing more than holding their own. I believe that the academic programs themselves and the graduate admissions office are well-poised to adapt to the changing educational needs of the graduate population. In order to insure our continued success in graduate education, we have again retained the services of Maguire Associates, the consultants who were so helpful with undergraduate admissions, to assist us with our strategies for graduate recruitment.

Admissions—graduate and undergraduate alike—will always command the attention of a college president but over the past year I have given particular attention to this area. The Maguire study of our undergraduate admissions program that I commissioned confirmed my own impression that it would be unwise for Loyola to take its recent successes in recruitment for granted. While Loyola’s program was noted for many strengths—the College Day programs and our high quality print materials to name a few—there was reason to be concerned about Loyola’s relative inattention to Web-based recruitment and to the “yield” activities that can help to shape each class.

In addition, it seemed important to attend to the fact that the number of college age persons in the middle Atlantic region and in New England would start to decline in the next decade of this century. It is essential for Loyola to start to develop a strategy to aggressively recruit students from outside of our region with particular attention to those areas of the country that will experience growth in the college-age population. In order to build on our considerable strengths in undergraduate admissions and address any vulnerabilities in our recruitment of undergraduates it seemed prudent to adopt an enrollment management approach and to recruit leadership at the vice presidential level to direct admission and financial aid strategies.

I am delighted that we were able to hire Marc Camille as Loyola’s first Vice President for Enrollment Management. Marc comes to us from our sister Jesuit institution, Xavier University in Cincinnati, where he served as the very successful Dean of Admission and Financial Aid. He has already started to work with our admission staff on assessing and improving the admission communication plan, implementing Loyola’s new early action admission option, and identifying opportunities for increasing the conversion rate of accepted students who choose to enroll at the College. Marc is also working to begin laying the foundations for long-term success, including new strategies to enhance the diversity of our student body both in terms of racial or ethnic diversity as well as in their geographic origins, and increasing the Admission Office’s use of technology to assist staff in relationship building efforts.

It is evident to me that Marc is off to a very strong start and I am confident that we will continue to make substantial progress toward the ambitious recruitment goals of outlined in Loyola’s current strategic plan. The philosophy of enrollment management sees the recruitment and retention of students as a task requiring collaboration and cooperation throughout the institution. I have assured Marc that the Loyola College community will welcome him wholeheartedly and is eager to assist him and his colleagues in their vitally important work.

It is evident that part of Loyola’s success in the area of admissions has been due to our outstanding facilities. Over the summer the College embarked on a number of projects to enhance existing facilities or to construct new ones. In the last week two projects have commenced on the Quadrangle. The 9/11 Memorial Garden is presently being constructed in the area adjacent to the Chapel and the landscaping in front of the Humanities Center is being renovated into a terraced garden. Both of these projects were approved by Father Ridley prior to his death and have been in the planning stages for some time. When they are completed later in the semester they will be significant additions to the heart of Loyola’s campus.

The 350-bed residence hall adjacent to library is progressing nicely and will be ready to welcome members of the Class of 2011 in August. There have been some unavoidable delays in the Loyola/Notre Dame Library project but I am very happy to inform you that the permitting process is just about complete and we expect construction to begin by October 1. Current plans now call for the complete renovation of the existing structure and a 25,000-square-foot addition to be complete in the fall of 2008, one year earlier than anticipated.

A couple of other projects have experienced significant delays or have been postponed. The plans to replace the signage at the North Charles Street and Cold Spring Lane corner have been postponed pending a final evaluation of a proposal to renovate and expand the Donnelly Science Center. The plans for a conference center in the pool area have been revised to accommodate two levels. An upper level will house three conference rooms and rehearsal space for the theatre program while the lower level will house the Department of Communications and provide some much needed office space for the Department of Fine Arts. This new development has had the effect of delaying the start of construction, and so the new conference facilities will not be available until June 2007.

Events Services believes it will be able to accommodate the College’s need for meeting space but it will be important to plan ahead. I know that it will be impossible to completely avoid inconvenience in scheduling meeting space but I am convinced that the additional academic space that this construction will ultimately provide warrants some temporary sacrifice.

Work on the new President’s Office in Humanities will not be completed until November which will give me additional time to psych myself for the long commute from Armiger House. I regret the disruption that this project will cause but once again we found ourselves victims of Baltimore’s construction boom and so at the mercy of the contractor’s schedule.

Site preparation for the new Intercollegiate Athletic Center continues at a good pace and I am sure that you have all noticed the new and improved Diane Geppi-Aikens Field, a project that provides a safer playing surface for our student-athletes. I want to thank Helen Schneider and Les Pely and their team for their efforts to manage multiple and complex construction projects that will provide enormous benefit to our students, faculty, and staff.

Another university-wide endeavor seeking to improve the quality of life—especially for our faculty, administration, and staff—has been the response to the Campus Climate Survey. Since it was released to the Loyola College community in the fall of 2005 the various administrative divisions have taken significant steps to help its members understand the implications of the survey for their work and to begin to formulate action plans to deal with problematic issues. Dr. George Casey, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, is responsible for monitoring the progress in each division, and he has taken steps to keep all those employed at Loyola informed about this process.

For my part, I have been especially concerned about issues of interdivisional collaboration and just and equitable compensation. I want to say a few words about the steps we have taken to address these concerns.

As it distressing as it was to read about the perception of failures in collaboration across the divisions in the Campus Climate Survey, it was even more distressing to actually encounter these issues in my work this year. I understand that clashes between and among the “divisional cultures” and personality conflicts are among the sources of these difficulties but it is important to be clear: failure to cooperate and work effectively together contradicts our fundamental mission as Jesuit, Catholic institution and inhibits our progress as a university. This can be particularly frustrating when we reflect on the extraordinary good that we can accomplish by means of collaboration and cooperation. Loyola’s response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina is the clearest example of this. It is worth remembering that we admitted, enrolled, housed, and equipped 83 students who were displaced by Katrina in very short order.

Only five of the 27 other Jesuit colleges and universities were recognized by the federal government for outstanding contribution. This is an accomplishment that speaks volumes about Loyola College in Maryland and one among many that we can be very proud of.

I am also extremely grateful for the wonderful cooperation from all segments of the university on The Year of the City. I will say more about The Year of the City later in my talk but it is already clear that this important initiative is already poised for great success due to creative and collaborative work across the university.

Working to promote a culture of cooperation and collaboration has been an important focus of the Executive Council during the past year and this work has, in part, contributed to my decision to restructure this Council as the President’s Cabinet with membership limited to the Vice Presidents. Last year, in my remarks to the College Community I indicated that the Executive Council would enter into a process of self-evaluation in light of some of the concerns raised about its manner of operating in the Campus Climate Survey. We did engage in this process in May with the assistance of Judith Block McLaughlin, an expert on leadership teams in higher education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While McLaughlin found that the Executive Council functions extremely well, she was concerned about the size of the group and so about our ability to work through complex issues in a timely manner.

The President’s Cabinet will continue to rely on the advice of Deans Buckley and Dahringer and of Father Ruff and I want to thank them for their generous service to well-being of the entire university. As this year progresses, the members of the President’s Cabinet will continue to regularly update one another on their divisions’ progress on the Climate Survey. It is also an important topic in my regular meetings with the vice presidents.

One response to the Campus Climate Survey that I am particularly excited about is a new professional development program for administrators at the Director level called, “Next Generation Leadership: Preparing Loyola for Tomorrow’s Challenges.” The first group of administrators will start this program later in the month. The program will consist of three two-day sessions spread out over a four-month period and will involve directors from every division. Among its central goals, the workshop seeks to help “participants develop a cohesive network of mutual support and cross-divisional collaboration and a clearer understanding how Loyola operates a whole.” Doris Trainor of Human Resources has been responsible for developing this high quality program, working closely with the vice presidents. I believe that efforts like “Next Generation Leadership” demonstrate the College’s commitment to addressing the issues raised in the Climate Survey. I am confident that this initiative and others like it will help us to make considerable progress in the area of collaboration.

Concerns about equitable compensation were also prominent in the Climate Survey. It is also an issue that is very important to me. While no one goes into education in order to amass a great fortune, it seems that a Catholic university has a special obligation to ensure that wages are fair and adequate for supporting family life. In addition, I recognize that competitive compensation is the cornerstone for recruiting, retaining and motivating the employees who are essential to fulfilling Loyola’s educational mission. Thus, the vice presidents and I have spent a good deal of time examining our compensation practices with the hope of increasing the transparency of our compensation policies and providing remedies for unwarranted inequities. I believe we have made substantial progress.

Loyola’s compensation philosophy is to pay all categories of employees at competitive levels established by external labor markets, considering both salary and benefits as a total compensation package. In July, we updated the Staff and Administrator pay ranges for FY07 for the first time in five years, setting the ranges at levels consistent with paying 10 percent above the average. We sent the new pay-range information out to all staff and administrators and made it available on the Loyola Human Resources Website. It is our intention to monitor these pay ranges annually as we move forward. This will help us to ensure that our pay ranges remain competitive.

For FY07, we provided merit, and in some cases structural increases to move employees into the new premium pay ranges. The pay changes resulted in an overall five percent payroll increase, with employees receiving pay increases of about three to seven percent based on work performance and years of service. As you know, the structural monies were not divided among divisions proportionately but rather were assigned to address the most pressing cases. A recent analysis provided by Jane Shock Osborne, Compensation Manager at Loyola, demonstrates that this strategy has had very positive results for our employees.

Loyola College remains committed to continue to evaluate our total compensation program to ensure that it is competitive, consistent, and fair. We will develop and implement new compensation strategies to support our workforce as they so loyally and generously support our students and College Community.

Another issue that will be of prime importance to me in the coming academic year will be the conclusion of Loyola’s current strategic plan Great Resolves, Great Desires, and the Preparing Tomorrow capital campaign that supports it. As a new trustee back in 2000, I was very interested in the formation of this strategic plan, and now as President of Loyola College I am delighted that so much of this plan has been successfully implemented. It is no exaggeration to claim that every aspect of the educational experience—both undergraduate and graduate—has been enhanced by this visionary plan.

The completion of a strategic plan has many implications but one is certainly inevitable: developing the next plan that will guide and strengthen Loyola in the years ahead. The President’s Cabinet will devote most of our annual retreat in October to determining how best to proceed in developing the new plan. I have invited yet another Harvard professor (Yale unfortunately does not have a graduate school of education) Jim Honan, an expert on strategic plans, to join us on that retreat. I am not sure that the extensive university-wide planning process that went into Great Resolves, Great Desires will be necessary again so soon, especially when one considers the careful reflection that went into articulating Loyola’s priorities during the presidential search process. But that remains to be seen.

The Preparing Tomorrow capital campaign is scheduled to conclude in 2007 and we are in reach of our $80 million goal. At the end of the last fiscal year, the campaign had raised over $71.5 million in gifts and pledges, $11.6 million in the most recent year. It has been moving for me to experience the great support for Loyola’s mission among our alumni, parents, and friends. This is a reflection of the great work that all of you do, and of the difference you make in the lives of our students and communities.

I think that it is worth noting that of the funds raised last year, over $7 million represented leadership gifts in the high six-figure or seven-figure range. I was especially thankful for the gift from Loyola’s Jesuit Community of $1 million to the College endowment to support the Clinical Centers, need-based financial aid, and the Kolvenbach Fellows program. In addition, the Community has donated $100,000 in support of “The Year of the City.”

I am very grateful to Michael Goff and his staff for all that they continue to do to make our Development operation so effective. Michael has been a kind and patient teacher as I get used to that high wire act know as “the ask.” We are confident in the ultimate success of the Preparing Tomorrow campaign but it is by no means inevitable nor will it be easy. I am told that there are always significant challenges and opportunities in the last leg of a capital campaign and I am committed to pursuing these opportunities aggressively in the coming year. Later in the year, we will kick off the on-campus campaign and I know I can depend on the community’s support for the great resolves and great desires that are the hallmark of Loyola College today and that will serve to shape the bright future of Loyola’s tomorrow.

Finally, I am very excited about The Year of the City. The response from the Loyola College community—faculty, students, staff, alumni and the Baltimore community—has been enthusiastic and typically generous. Joan Flynn and Steve Miles, the co-directors of this endeavor along with Xavier Cole and the members of the Coordinating Committee, have worked tirelessly to channel this enthusiasm into a wonderful program of events. They all deserve our thanks as do the many faculty members who have found creative and stimulating ways to integrate the themes of this year into their courses.

The Year of the City is an excellent opportunity for this university to explore the cultural and intellectual resources of this great city and to encounter what Father General Peter Hans Kolvenbach refers to as the “gritty realities” of our shared human existence, that is, the injustice and human degradation in our midst.

While we are committed to renewing and strengthening our ties to the City of Baltimore and to remaining a good and trusted neighbor, the ultimate goals of this initiative are intellectual and academic in nature. I hope that by exploring the city we will find new ways to help our students find the joy and deep personal satisfaction that comes from discovery of something new. I also hope that the activities of the year will promote sustained reflection on our relationship as individuals and as a community to those at the margins of our society.

I urge you to look at The Year of the City homepage which you can reach via Loyola’s homepage. Not only is it a thing of beauty, it is filled with information about Year of the City events and programs. It offers a variety of ways that each one of you to become involved in a way that is appropriate to your particular circumstances. I hope that you will visit this site often.

I also want to extend a very sincere invitation to the Mass of the Holy Spirit which will be the formal opening of The Year of the City at Loyola College. This Mass, which is traditional for the start of the academic year in Jesuit schools, will be held in the beautiful Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola on Calvert Street at 1:30 p.m. this Sunday. This church is part of the second Loyola College campus and it dates from 1855. It serves to remind us of Loyola’s historical place in the heart of Baltimore. Father Tim Brown, Provincial of the Maryland Jesuits, longtime professor at Loyola and founder of the Center for Community Service and Justice, will preach and the Mass will be followed by what promises to be a wonderful street fair with entertainment, refreshments, activities for children, and the like. Sunday promises to be a beautiful day; I hope that each one of you will join us in asking God’s blessing on this school year and on the Year of the City, and then stay to enjoy the blessings of the day.

Before closing I want to take this opportunity to say a few words of thanks and appreciation to Dr. David Haddad. As you know, Dave has decided to retire at the end of this academic year. I am very happy that he can set aside the great demands of his office and have more time with Mary Ellen and the grandchildren upon whom he dotes. His departure will be a great loss for Loyola College and for me personally. In the realm of Academic Affairs, Dave has encouraged and sustained a new level of commitment to a culture of improvement and accountability. He has been an effective advocate for the Jesuit and Catholic nature of this university. David is a person of enormous integrity, always attentive to the situation of vulnerable and less powerful persons. We will certainly find an appropriate way to celebrate David’s outstanding achievements, but right now I want to express my affection and gratitude and assure him that we will search diligently for a successor who will continue to build on the momentum so evident in the academic life at Loyola.

I have now completed my first year as your President and my enthusiasm and love for Loyola College continues to grow. I have found my work as President to be very consoling—in the Ignatian sense of serving to increase my faith, hope, and love, and so my awareness of God and of God’s goodness. I am so grateful for the way this community went out of its way to welcome me and to teach me about this wonderful university. Everything I have learned convinces me that the state of Loyola College is excellent, and that it continues to be an effective instrument for both advancing our common human existence and revealing the glory of God. It is an honor to be your colleague in this mission.

I hope you see you at the reception for faculty, administration, and staff that will follow this address. Thank you.