BGSU President Rodney Rogers’ State of the University Address focused on moving forward, citing goals for the 2019-20 school year.
The Bowen-Thompson Student Union Lenhart Grand Ballroom was full of students and faculty members for the address Wednesday, many of which Rogers thanked directly throughout his address.
Rogers kicked off his address by telling the story of Chairman and CEO of Adobe Inc., Shantanu Narayen, who got his master’s degree in computer science at BGSU. Rogers told the audience this story because it not only reminds members of the BGSU learning community who they are, but who they have always been: “Rooted in innovation, rooted in a belief to create public good and always looking forward.”
He then went on to recognize BGSU faculty who received grants, hit research breakthroughs or other similar achievements. For example, associate professor of mathematics and education, Jonathan Bostic, earned a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation to explore testing standards and assessment.
Rogers said the Class of 2023 has been proven to be the most academically prepared BGSU class so far, with an average cumulative GPA of 3.5. He brought attention to enrollment being at its best in nearly a decade and the Wall Street Journal rating BGSU third of all public U.S. colleges for teaching quality.
“I was pleased to hear the recognition of faculty teaching,” said Associate Dean for the Honors College Jodi Devine. “We hear every day that our students appreciate and value their faculty members and their teachers, so to know that it’s being realized on the national level makes it really important.”
Starting the overview of the strategic objectives for this academic year, Rogers mentioned the current construction of the Maurer Center, the new home of the College of Business just south of the Union. He said it is just the first phase of the new campus master plan.
Rogers’ plan to redefine student success is to give undergraduate and graduate students a new and improved learning experience that prepares them for the future. Such things include the start of expanding the reach to post-traditional student populations, adding programs that have high demand and applying a comprehensive enrollment plan.
“We constantly strive to redefine student success and advance it,” said College of Technology, Architecture and Engineering Director of Advising Jared Tuberty. “To see the university put forth effort and resources is exciting. It brings everyone to the table about that, so people can realize that they have a role in it, so it’s not just advisors, it’s not just faculty members that are teaching in the classroom but the student success which is more broad.”
Growth was one of the main points of the address, as Rogers aims to support research and creative activities in three to four areas to build national and international recognition, while increasing external funding for the university.
Other objectives included making a learning community that shows diversity and excellence, as well as advancing the university’s impact. Functions that could help these areas included enhancing culture to support belonging and diversity, improving the quality of teaching and creating partnerships inside and outside the community.
The creation of a cabinet position focused on diversity and belonging came out of a task force on the name of the BGSU Film Theater in the BTSU. Since the removal of Lillian Gish’s name from that theater in the spring, critiques were made on a national level about the university’s decision. Rogers didn’t shy away from the subject.
“There have been some that have expressed concerns that we are erasing history or changing history, but I actually believe we have illuminated history, and today, we are moving forward,” said Rogers.
To close the address, BGSU’s all-men acapella choir Ten40 did a small performance, which included a cover of Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly” and the BGSU Alma Mater, which those in attendance sung with the group. Afterward, everyone was encouraged to attend the All-Campus Picnic, which took place in the Bowen-Thompson Quadrangle.