Executive Summary - Year 5 Report
2017 marked the midpoint of Stevens Institute of Technology’s 10-year Strategic Plan entitled, The Future. Ours to Create. The five-year implementation period from 2012 to 2017 can best be characterized as a period of ascent at Stevens, resulting in growth, enhanced stature, a renewed and modernized campus and IT infrastructure, strengthened financial stability, recruitment of world-class academic and administrative leadership, and, most importantly, stellar outcomes for our students. Stevens has undergone a dramatic transformation during the last five years, demonstrating remarkable progress in virtually all metrics that the University monitors, meeting or exceeding many of the targeted midpoint goals.
This report provides an update of progress toward the 45 goals specified in the plan during the fifth year of implementation. This report covers academic progress achieved during academic year 2016-17 (AY16-17); financial and philanthropy reporting for fiscal year 2017 (the period of July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017); and fall enrollment and retention statistics as of October 15, 2017, the “freeze” date for AY17-18. Detailed reports for Years 1 through 4 were published and are archived.
Undergraduate and graduate enrollment growth continued at a steady pace, in parallel with increases in the academic profile of students. Improved rankings, notably, a 19-point increase in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of national universities—making Stevens the second fastest-rising university in the nation—and other milestones signaled the enhanced reputation and rising prestige of the University. Philanthropic support increased nearly 400% during this period, and, along with improved fiscal discipline, contributed to the significantly improved financial condition of the University and an increase in Stevens’ S&P credit rating. The IT infrastructure has been transformed from archaic to state-of-the-art, and dozens of renovations and construction projects throughout the campus, including the opening of the North Building and the groundbreaking for the University’s first major new academic building in more than a decade, have taken place since 2012.
During the first five years of the implementation of the Strategic Plan, progress was made on 43 of 45 of the 2012 goals. In Spring 2017, through a comprehensive process involving all stakeholder groups, the Strategic Plan Midpoint Update was published with endorsement from the Faculty Senate, the Executive Committee of the Stevens Alumni Association, and the Board of Trustees. This refined and refocused Strategic Plan delineates 32 ambitious targets for the remainder of the implementation period. Future progress reports will measure progress against these 32 goals.
Beyond the detailed progress described in the Year 5 report, additional recent highlights include:
- An experienced and highly qualified human capital and talent management professional was appointed to the role of Vice President for Human Resources, and an accomplished academic administrator and leading scholar was appointed to the role of Dean of the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science.
- The North Building was opened for occupancy, and construction began on the Gianforte Family Academic Center (opening in Fall 2019) and the Babbio Garage expansion (opening in January 2018).
- StevensOnline, anchored by the award-winning WebCampus distance-learning platform, was launched, offering 17 online master’s programs through the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science, the School of Systems and Enterprises, and the School of Business.
- The Power of Stevens, a $150 million capital campaign, reached $116.4 million as of the close of FY17 and remains ahead of schedule.
- In September, a Forbes headline named Stevens “The Turnaround University” and described Stevens as “one of the most desirable STEM colleges in the nation.”
A summary of other noteworthy progress made during Year 5 includes:
Total undergraduate enrollment increased from 3,115 in Fall 2016 to 3,123 in Fall 2017, exceeding the midpoint goal. Applications increased to 8,335, but selectivity decreased by 5 percentage points from the prior year to 44 percent from 39 percent in Fall 2016. The middle 50 percent SAT score reached 1320-1470, exceeding the Fall 2017 goal of 1230-1420 for the third consecutive year.1 The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate declined slightly (0.3 percent) to 94 percent, and the six-year graduation rate held steady at 83% for the freshman cohort that entered in Fall 2011, consistent with the prior year. The placement rate for 2017 graduates who secured full time employment, were admitted to graduate school or entered the military six months after graduation remained at 96 percent, a record high reached in 2016.
Graduate student applications increased by 3.5 percent; the cohort of new graduate degree-seeking students remained nearly constant; and full-time graduate enrollment increased 9 percent over Fall 2016. Selectivity decreased by two percentage points, from 57 percent in 2016 to 59 percent in 2017. New initiatives were launched to provide additional opportunities for graduate students to engage with the faculty and other students.
Research awards, including highly-competitive awards, in FY17 were $24.2 million, down from FY16, in part due to “holds” on the release of federal funds attributed to the change in administration of the U.S. government. The number of proposals submitted increased from FY16 (266) to FY17 (300), and the number of awards decreased over the same period by 23 percent. A business plan was developed for the Stevens Venture Center. The Patent Administrator managed an overall portfolio of 75 issued patents, 41 pending applications and 240 disclosures.
A Responsibility Center Management (RCM) budgeting model was adopted, and organizational changes were implemented to improve unit accountability and administrative effectiveness and efficiency. Faculty award programs were launched or enhanced, and a framework for a faculty leadership development program was created. A governance structure was established for the IDEaS program. Gender diversity increased among full-time faculty hires and total full-time tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track faculty.
An experienced new Vice President for Human Resources was appointed. Implementation of several new of state-of-the-art information technology systems is in progress, including Workday Student, identity management and two-factor authentication, and robust cyber protections. The university’s financial health significantly improved over FY16. The effort to rezone the campus is underway, and a variety of campus projects have been completed or are in progress, including the North Building (opened July 2017), the Gianforte Family Academic Center (opening Fall 2019) and the Babbio Garage Extension (opening January 2018). Planning and design has begun for a new University Center/Student Residence Hall, as are renovation plans for Alexander House and Pond House. Numerous sustainability initiatives are also underway.
Fundraising for the Power of Stevens capital campaign reached $116.4 million by the end of FY17, ahead of schedule toward its $150 million campaign goal. Stevens rose another two places, to 69th, in the Fall 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” issue. Advances were made toward creating a more compelling campus visitor experience including the completion of the McLean Building lobby renovation, and new initiatives to improve campus signage, lighting, landscaping, and campus video displays made progress. Volunteer efforts by Stevens students totaled more than 41,000 service hours, with numerous ongoing and new or enhanced initiatives increasing engagement between the City of Hoboken and the Stevens community. Several university partners became increasingly engaged with Stevens in multiple endeavors, including student exchanges, joint programs, and research.