Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin returned to the DeBaun Auditorium stage December 1 to update the university community on pandemic measures, operations, enrollment growth, diversity initiatives and other topics. Throughout the talk, he took questions from some of the more than 500 faculty and staff who attended both in person and virtually.
Farvardin began by discussing the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and Stevens' measures to address those challenges. Pointing to the university's very high vaccination rate, mask mandate and vigilant testing programs — all of which will be maintained for the foreseeable future — on-campus positivity has remained low throughout the 20-month pandemic period.
Thanks to its continued research prominence, rising reputation and powerful return on tuition investment, Farvardin continued, Stevens applications and enrollment both grew significantly during the past two years.
Fall 2021 graduate and undergraduate enrollment each now top 4,000 students, with total enrollment of nearly 8,300, a record high. Applications for the current fall term continued a decade-long upward trend during which undergraduate applications have grown by 214% — to 11,320 in the latest cycle — and graduate applications have grown by 272% to 11,959 over the ten-year period.
Faculty size is growing, as well, with 40 new faculty positions expected to be filled in FY23. Farvardin noted this will bring Stevens' total faculty cohort to more than 360 — another record number.
Research funding, which surpassed $50 million for the first time in Fiscal Year 2021, is already off to very strong start in the current fiscal year, added Farvardin. The total sum of awards received for research from July through November 2021 is already 46% higher than the total received over the same period in 2020, which had set an institutional record.
Diversity continues to remain a high priority, he said. Women represent 32% of new faculty members, while the 2021 first-year undergraduate class includes 21% students from underrepresented groups and 33% women.
Fundraising success, strong financial position, athletics prowess
President Farvardin continued by noting the recent successful conclusion of the $200 million The Power of Stevens campaign. The university's endowment is growing steadily and has nearly doubled in size from 2011 to $270 million, he explained, as endowment growth continues to outpace the already impressive growth of the student and faculty cohorts.
Stevens' financial position remains strong, he said, despite the current pandemic environment.
The President added that the Class of 2021 Outcomes Report demonstrates record success for recent graduates. More than 97% of the Class of 2021 have secured post-graduate success — employment, graduate school acceptance or other desired outcomes — with an 88% knowledge rate.
He expressed admiration for the growing success of Stevens' athletics programs, which included three MAC Freedom championships in fall 2021 for men's soccer, women's volleyball and women's field hockey teams, as well as the women's soccer squad's at-large participation in the 2021 Division III NCAA tournament. Out of approximately 450 Division III institutions, Stevens was one of just seven to place four teams in the 2021 fall NCAA tournaments.
Farvardin also mentioned the recent creation of the Stevens TechPulse Report — a nationwide poll launched by Stevens on the impact of technology on society — and a new relationship with the Associated Press that brings the university's faculty expertise to media outlets worldwide. (ABC News, for example, recently featured Assistant Professor of Political Science Lindsey Cormack.)
President Farvardin finished by sharing the inclusive process that is well underway and will lead to the creation of a new strategic plan to be finalized by June 2022, charting a course for the university's next 10 years.
"We are determined to maintain this momentum," he said.
Farvardin closed by expressing his appreciation to all members of the extended Stevens community for their contributions and dedication to serving students and to maintaining the university’s upward trajectory.