Bertolino gives annual university address

Joe Freer – Reporter

President Joe Bertolino’s annual State of the University address discussed enrollment, budget and plans to be a more socially cooperating campus.

He said the Barack H. Obama Magnet University School will have “multiple opportunities for best practices, conduct best research, prepare teachers and leaders and promote educational innovations and learning in the early grades.”

Bertolino said the school is scheduled to open in fall 2019.

In addition, Bertolino said the university has launched its third doctoral program, a professional doctorate in social work along with a new program that allows students to get their bachelor and master degrees in five years in certain majors.

“[This program] offers a time saving, cost efficient path to a graduate degree,”Bertolino said.

He said another newly implemented academic are the Southern courses offered at Gateway Community College. “These courses are free, as long as students commit to Southern,” Bertolino said.


The university headcount, he said, should finish over 10,000 students despite gradaute enrollment numbers lagging.

Bertolino said the school’s budget deficit is lower than what he inherited.

“Enrollment plays a key role in determining our bottom line,” Bertolino said, “we were able to offset anticipated deficits from the last two years without drawing damage on reserves.”

By the end of the 2017- 2018 school year, Southern ended with what Bertolino called “a modest surplus.”

Bertolino said even though 30 new faculty members were hired going into this year, only about half of that number will be hired next year.


Chelsea Ortiz, nursing information and programming admissions coordinator, said she feels more hopeful than she ever has been. Although she
did not attend Southern, she thinks the school’s reputation is better now than it was when she was in college.

Professor Regine Randall said, “I’ve always seen Southern as a place for opportunity.”

As for the direction Bertolino is taking the university she said, “I appreciate how he [President Joe] can articulate it so well.”

A video presentation about one of Southern’s oldest living alumni was shown in honor of

the university’s 125th anniversary. Bertolino said the video is going to the first in a series showcasing a different alumni from each decade.

“She is very proud of her roots at Southern,” Bertolino said, “I think that should be an inspiration to all of us.”

Bertolino said his goal is to make Southern a social justice safe space going forward and how it will impact on the university.

“We are striving to be a social justice university,” Bertolino said.

He said he wants students to be “sensitive, courageous and strong enough to face challenges.”

Photo Credit: Palmer Piana 


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