Executive Summary - Year 6 Report
The sixth year of implementation of Stevens’ 10-year strategic plan, coinciding with fiscal year 2018 and Fall 2018 enrollment statistics, continued a strong upward trajectory in undergraduate enrollment; student success; faculty growth; research awards; campus modernization and expansion; alumni engagement and philanthropic support; and rankings.
A summary of noteworthy progress made during Year 6 includes:
Total undergraduate enrollment increased 9.8%, and selectivity improved from 44% in Fall 2017 to 41% in Fall 2018. The middle 50 percent SAT score improved once again, from 1320-1470 in Fall 2017 (and exceeding the Fall 2017 goal of 1230-1420), to 1330-1480 in Fall 2018. The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate improved from 94% for students entering in Fall 2016 to 95% for students entering in Fall 2017, and the six-year graduation rate for the freshman cohort of 2012 increased to 87% from 83% for the prior year's cohort. The placement rate for 2018 graduates who secured full time employment, were admitted to graduate school, entered the military, or secured other outcomes six months after graduation remained at 96%, a record high reached in 2016.
Stevens also made good progress in areas related to balancing undergraduate engineering enrollment with other majors, (59% engineering of total undergraduate enrollment compared to a target of 60% for Fall 2022) and in increasing the percentage of underrepresented minorities in the undergraduate cohort (13.6% in Fall 2018) against a target of 15% for Fall 2022. More progress is needed to increase the percentages of women, out-of-state, and international undergraduates.
Significant activities to effect continuous improvement in student-faculty interactions, research-based best practices in teaching, including through the use of technology, and in benchmarking best practices in the evaluation of teaching were implemented.
After a period of significant growth, total graduate enrollment declined in Fall 2018 by 7.8% compared to Fall 2017, with new graduate students declining by 18.3%, including StevensOnline, and 23.1% excluding StevensOnline. While applications were down only slightly, enrollment decreased across nearly all categories of students and Schools. Selectivity was 60% in Fall 2018 compared to 59% in Fall 2017, and the quantitative GRE scores for entering engineering graduate students remained stable at 161. A new administrative structure was put in place for graduate studies, and StevensOnline was launched. Numerous new initiatives to strengthen support and community for graduate students were launched.
FY18 was a strong year in securing competitive research awards, with a total of $45.47 million in new awards, a new university record, as compared to $24.64 million in FY17. Research expenditures were $30.8 million in FY18, compared to $31.2 million in FY17. The number of research awards increased to 166 in FY18 compared to 142 in the prior year. A total of 726 conference and journal papers were published in FY18 compared to 715 in the prior year. The Stevens Venture Center continued programming to support Stevens-initiated technology start-up companies, and patent activity was robust.
Thirty new faculty were hired including from prestigious research institutions such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, and Columbia. Limited progress was made in increasing diversity among the faculty body, despite the implementation of various strategic initiatives. Stevens participated in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” survey, and a working group was formed to recommend actions to improve morale and engagement among faculty and staff.
Responsibility Center Management was piloted for the first year, with input and feedback from key stakeholders informing future refinement. Significant progress was made in the design and initial implementation of new administrative and academic unit reviews. Numerous new IT initiatives progressed, including Workday Student, a transition from Microsoft Exchange to Office 365 for email, and the implementation of cybersecurity protections. Stevens’ finances continued to improve, with record cash ratios, cash balances, and operating margins. And, the 2.5-year effort to rezone the campus was successfully completed. This effort will enable the construction of a new Student Housing/University Center project expected to house approximately 1,000 students, for which construction will begin in early 2019.
Stevens experienced extraordinary fundraising results during FY18. New gifts and commitments reached a record $47.6 million and propelled the total of The Power of Stevens campaign to $161.7 million, exceeding its $150 million goal more than six months ahead of the December 2018 target date. Alumni giving reached a record of 18%. Stevens’ U.S. News & World Report ranking was #70 in Fall 2018, compared to #69 in 2017; there was an improvement in the high school counselor ranking. A significant number of facilities, landscaping, signage, and communications activities enhanced the campus visitor experience, and consistent with prior years, a wide variety of initiatives were implemented to demonstrate Stevens’ value and contributions to the Hoboken community. A “Corporate-Friendly” Committee was formed and will deliver its recommendations at the end of 2018.