President Papazian delivers annual State of the University address


Anisa Jibrell – News Writer

Faculty and students gathered last Wednesday in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom for President Mary A. Papazian’s annual State of the University address.

Papazian welcomed new faculty members into the fold, highlighted faculty contributions, and thanked current faculty members for their commitment and input.

“I welcome all the new faculty members who have joined us today, your talents will add to the rich palette of teaching, creative activity and service in our academic community,” said Papazian. “I wish each of you a smooth transition as you settle into life at Southern and I look forward to learning more about your backgrounds and professional aspirations in the weeks and months ahead. “

Southern’s first clinical doctorate in Social Work has already progressed with internal governance and is headed to the Board of Regents for final review and approval, said Papazian.

“This program and others in health related fields holds great potential for growth both here and abroad,” said Papazian.

Through a new Bridgeport initiative, Southern is deepening its connection with the city of Bridgeport by engaging students and faculty in environmental research and expanding areas of education, business and environmental science.

“We have developed a multi-prolonged initiative that will enable us to strengthen our community engagement, implement innovative sustainability projects, and align our respective mission with that of the city to promote community well being, economic growth, and social justice,” said Papazian.

Southern is confident in becoming a key player in New Haven’s biotechnology development, given the school’s location, new science building, establishment of an Office for STEM Innovation and Leadership  and dedication to increasing the number and overall quality of students who graduate in STEM –science, technology, engineering and math—majors, the president said.

The Biotechnology Academic Career Pathway includes four academic pathways for incoming students, a new major in biotechnology with a chemistry minor, an updated biochemistry concentration, graduate level certification programs in areas such as project management and healthcare or pharmaceutical management and new biotechnology concentrations in other disciplines,” said Papazian.

As Southern develops partnerships with local communities, Southern also is working closely with the Division of Information Technology.

The Office of Admission has introduced Folderwave, Southern’s first CRM tool, or constituent relationship management system, for undergrad and graduate admissions. The new faculty and staff friendly CRM is focused on needs to better support successful recruitment, retention and graduation outcomes, the president said.  

“These enhancements will require an investment of resources to support efforts to stabilize enrollment through effective recruitment and retention initiatives, but the results will be remarkable,” said Papazian.

As a part of the university’s student success initiative, Papazian said Southern will continue to examine areas that prove to be obstacles to timely graduation such as the alignment of the general education requirements and quality of advisement.

“We must think about areas of potential growth and we must think strategically,” said Papazian.

Papazian notes that retention is a key measure in assessing student success and will soon be a key ingredient in a performance-based funding model that is currently being discussed—it will take into account performance as well as graduation rates, said the president.

“As we move forward we will continue to find ways to make the university a less difficult place in which to be successful,” said Papazian, “that has to be our mantra.”

Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas 

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