Skip to Page's ContentSkip to Top NavSkip to SearchSkip to FooterSkip to Class Notes Nav
#
#

Financial Aid, Student Retention Thrive as Strategic Enrollment Plan Develops

Financial Aid, Student Retention Thrive as Strategic Enrollment Plan Develops

In 2020, just two years after its launch, the SEP has brought about change, directly benefitting students and families and helping to advance the University’s mission and commitment to cura personalis, or care for the whole person.

Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., unveiled the University’s Strategic Enrollment Plan (SEP) in August 2018 as one of his first orders of business. He understood well that the University would have to address enrollment issues through broad campus discussion and, eventually, action.

The SEP, he wrote in a note to the community at the time, “will address our pressing challenges by generating strategies for predictable long-term enrollment and fiscal health.”

And time was of the essence — college enrollment in the U.S. was declining, a trend that continues today according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

“Strategic enrollment planning is vital to the continued success of our University,” said Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Scranton, who helped spearhead the plan.


"It is imperative that we are constantly innovating and developing new ways to recruit and support our students." - Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs 


In 2020, just two years after its launch, the SEP has brought about change, directly benefitting students and families and helping to advance the University’s mission and commitment to cura personalis, or care for the whole person.

“Because of a number of threats to higher education, including a declining demographic of high school graduates, it is imperative that we are constantly innovating and developing new ways to recruit and support our students,” said Gingerich. “It is important that we be strategic, which requires us to keep our Jesuit tradition and mission at the core of any changes and innovation that takes place.”

gingerich617.jpg Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D.

When the SEP process began in 2018, the University clustered goals into four groups: academic program development; retention and student success; branding, marketing research and outreach; and a miscellaneous collection.

On the academic program front, three undergraduate programs and one graduate program were encouraged to move forward with the curriculum review process, while two other undergraduate programs that were already in process have since been implemented.

Student Financing Success Plan

A new position was added in financial aid to develop and implement a student financing success plan. The plan called for the office to institute a Book and Supply Award for incoming students, which was put into place for students enrolling in the University to start classes this fall.

The award, which is part of the University’s news Student Financing Success Program, provides targeted financial counseling to all students. The Book and Supply award provides $500 per semester to first-time freshmen who are Pell Grant-eligible students to spend on campus. The Pell Grant is a need-based grant that is provided by the federal government.


"We are extremely proud of this forward-thinking award. The Book and Supply Award is a testament to the Jesuit values of our University." - William Burke, director of Financial Aid


“It can be a real challenge for these students to obtain the resources to purchase textbooks and other educational supplies,” said William Burke, director of Financial Aid. “The main goal of the Book and Supply Award is to bridge the financial gap that exists for these students. We strive to give them the support and guidance that is needed to have a successful experience at Scranton.”

Students who qualify for the award must also complete other requirements, from signing an agreement to completing the “Family Financing Plan.”

The Family Financing Plan educates and provides a viable “game plan” for the family. 

When all the requirements are submitted, the award is available to students on their Royal ID Card.

The award, so far, has been a huge success, despite some setbacks because of the pandemic.

“In the future, we will definitely pursue more face-to-face communication,” said Burke. “But students and parents have been grateful to receive the additional funding. There is a sense of security to know that a student will be able to cover the costs of their textbooks. We are extremely proud of this forward-thinking award. The Book and Supply Award is a testament to the Jesuit values of our University.”

Student Retention and Completion

Another key to enrollment is student support and with this in mind, the SEP team helped create a new office to directly address the issue: Student Retention and Completion.

The recently-hired director of that office is Nicholas Truncale '06, G'07, a familiar face at Scranton, where he previously served as a faculty specialist in the Physics and Engineering Department. Prior to his new role, Truncale was a faculty representative on the University’s Governance Council, Strategic Enrollment Planning and Student Retention committees.

truncalemain.jpg Nicholas Truncale teaching in 2018.


“I think the level of care and commitment we have and demonstrate to our students makes the Scranton experience second to none.” - Nicholas Truncale '06, G'07, director of Student Retention and Completion


Truncale is now working closely with departments and staff to improve student success.

“I’ll be one more resource for students as they pursue their academic and personal endeavors. People in positions like mine at other institutions are known to be advocates for students. I do not solve problems for the student, but I guide them through the problem-solving process as they navigate transitions,” he said in a recent interview with Royal News. “I think the level of care and commitment we have and demonstrate to our students makes the Scranton experience second to none.”

Looking Ahead

Gingerich and his team – which includes nearly 50 faculty and staff members – will continue their work formally on the SEP in spring 2021, as they plan to gather a new group together that represents a cross-campus constituency.

Overall, however, Gingerich is thrilled with the effect the SEP has had on the Scranton community both on and off-campus already, particularly with Scranton alumni.

“We received some great feedback from alumni as we worked on the SEP as they reflected on their own experience at the University and advised on the career opportunities that they saw in their fields,” he said. “This helps to make sure that we are sending graduates into the world that our alumni can be excited to hire and mentor.  

“In addition, I expect that our future SEP processes will continue to develop post-graduate programs that may be of interest to our alumni as they accelerate their own professional development.” 

A newly formed Graduate Program Council, also resulting from the SEP process, will provide guidance to this initiative.

New Programs

Applied Behavior Analysis (graduate): This new and highly anticipated graduate program, offered in conjunction with the Department of Counseling and Human Services, is designed to provide the educational and supervised fieldwork experiences necessary to achieve certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Business Analytics (undergrad and graduate): This program offers advanced courses in data mining, database management systems, simulation and Big Data to help guide businesses in improving processes through data analysis. Business analytics prepares students for such jobs as data analysts, finance/credit analysts and market research analysts.

Communication Sciences and Disorders (undergraduate and graduate): The bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) is centered around the basic science of human communication including biological, physical, social and linguistic aspects, and this basic science is used as a lens to develop an understanding of what happens when communication is impaired. 

Cybercrime and Homeland Security (undergraduate): This major will allow students to explore social and behavioral aspects of cybercrime and cybersecurity, enhance their understanding of cybercrime law and cybersecurity policies, examine historical and evolving concepts of homeland security and emergency management. It will develop their knowledge, strategies, countermeasures and challenges of cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwar, and gain hands-on experience in cybersecurity management systems, as well as digital forensics tools, techniques and methods in response to cybersecurity risks across an organization.

Mathematical Sciences (undergraduate): Students who major in mathematical sciences (B.S.) at The University of Scranton come to understand the interconnectedness of mathematics by pursuing a partner discipline. Mathematical sciences students choose one of five tracks: Actuarial Science, Biological Sciences, Computer & Information Science, Data Science or Physical Sciences.

Mechanical Engineering (undergraduate): The broadest and one of the oldest engineering disciplines, mechanical engineering involves the design, production and operation of mechanical systems and thermal systems. This major prepares students to work in a wide array of fields, including the automotive and aerospace industries, manufacturing, electronics, mechatronics and nanotechnologies.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
#
Contact Us
Copyright 2021 The University of Scranton. All Rights Reserved.