Faculty, Staff Tea Addresses Concerns Head-on
At a briefing before Norfolk State University's faculty and staff, NSU President Tony Atwater aggressively responded to editorials recently published in The Virginian-Pilot. Dr. Atwater said that the editorials were inaccurate and out of context. The editorials referred to NSU's delayed audits, associate nursing program and enrollment and graduation rates.
"They failed to address what NSU is doing to strategically address these concerns and the related contexts associated with these concerns," said Dr. Atwater.
Regarding the nursing program, he emphasized that the University's bachelor programs are strong. In fact, The Virginia Board of Nursing recently approved NSU for an additional bachelor's program because of the University's above 80 percent pass rates in those programs.
Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration Earlie Horsey, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management Terricita Sass and NSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sandra J. DeLoatch provided updates on the status of the University's audits, enrollment and the associate nursing degree program.
Horsey said that the retirement of several accounting staff members and the implementation of new accounting software made for what many are calling a "perfect storm." However, Horsey, who was named interim vice president of finance and administration in May, brought several of the finance and administration staff out of retirement, tapped into current experienced staff and hired an outside accounting firm. Because of this approach, the Universities on track to have the FY2011 audit completed this month and submit the FY2012 audit in September. In addition, accounts for FY2013 have been reconciled.
Sass explained the factors leading to the University's current fall enrollment. Several of those factors include a smaller qualified freshman applicant pool due to a shrinking base of high school graduates, declining out-of-state migration, stagnant transfer and graduate applicants and competition. Sass also said that low satisfactory academic progress, inadmissibility of 30 percent of freshman applicants and financial aid eligibility have contributed to reduced enrollment.
Dr. DeLoatch announced a new retention initiative for freshmen, the Spartan Hope Academy. The program, funded by a $67,625 grant from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, is a new residential learning community that will provide students with support services that include special advising, tutoring, mentoring, enrichment activities, service-learning and career development. It is affiliated with Dr. Atwater's Spartan Crusade for Academic Success, which he launched shortly after becoming the University's fifth president.