Executive Summary - Year 9 Report
The ninth year of implementation of Stevens’ 10-year strategic plan, coinciding with fiscal year 2021 and Fall 2021 enrollment statistics, continued to present numerous challenges for the university due to the global pandemic. Despite these circumstances, Stevens made remarkable progress toward a number of goals—exceeding several one year ahead of schedule—and is in a very strong position heading into the final year of its strategic plan.
A summary of noteworthy progress made during Year 9 includes:
Undergraduate Studies and Experience
Total undergraduate enrollment increased from 3,791 in Fall 2020 to 4,064 in Fall 2021, an increase of 7.2% and exceeds the goal of 4,000 by Fall of 2022 one year early. For the third year in a row, applications exceeded 10,000; there were 11,320 in Fall 2021 compared to 10,349 in Fall 2020. Selectivity was 53% for students who were admitted in Fall 2021, similar to that in Fall 2020, largely because of the global pandemic. Despite the many challenges that the pandemic created, the incoming class (first-year, Link and transfer students) is 1,140 in Fall 2021 compared to 985 in Fall 2020. The middle 50 percent SAT score increased, from 1320-1480 in Fall 2020 to 1370-1510 in Fall 2021 and exceeds the 2022 target by a significant margin.
The six-year graduation rate for the first-year cohort of 2015 dipped slightly to 87% in Fall 2021 from 88% in Fall 2020 and the 2022 target. Undergraduates of the Class of 2021 secured an outcomes rate of 97% compared to 95% for the Class of 2020, with record-breaking average starting salaries. The most notable change in the outcomes was a 5% increase in the Class of 2021 graduates choosing to pursue continuing education (37%) compared to the previous year (32%).
Stevens continued to make good progress in balancing undergraduate engineering enrollment with other majors (51% engineering of total undergraduate enrollment and exceeding the target of 60% for Fall 2022) and in increasing the percentage of underrepresented minorities in the undergraduate cohort (17.8% in Fall 2021), also exceeding the target of 15% for Fall 2022. The percentage of women among all undergraduates rose to 30% in Fall 2021, and the percentage of women in the entering first-year class in Fall 2021 improved to 33% compared to 30% in the previous year. The percentage of out-of-state undergraduates was 34% in Fall 2021 compared to 37% in the previous year. More progress is needed to increase these percentages and that of international undergraduates to reach the 2022 targets.
Many campus services were enhanced to provide additional supports for students facing academic, wellness and social challenges. Significant efforts were undertaken by university leadership, academic units and ad hoc committees to plan for and implement a successful return to campus with high-quality instruction, advising and service to students during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.
Graduate Studies and Experience
Overall graduate student full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment increased 24.6% from 2,623 in Fall 2020 to 3,268 in Fall 2021 with a notable increase in the number of new StevensOnline students which was 459 in FY21, 36% higher than the target. Domestic graduate student FTE enrollment increased to 882 in Fall 2021, amounting to 27% of the total FTE graduate enrollment and exceeding the target of 25% by 2022. Stevens continued its efforts to increase and diversify graduate student enrollment. During the past year, the growth in full-time domestic students and online students helped offset the decrease in international students due to the pandemic. New Ph.D. student enrollment decreased from 126 in AY19-20 to 98 in AY20-21 due to the pandemic, but Stevens is still on-track to achieve its goal of granting 70 doctoral degrees each year by 2022. Part-time graduate student FTE enrollment increased from 421 in Fall 2020 to 478 in Fall 2021, exceeding its goal of 450 by Fall 2022 one year ahead of schedule.
Research and Scholarship
The preliminary research expenditure in FY21 was $39.2 million but data are still being finalized at the time of this report. Research awards totaled $50.6 million in FY21, compared to $46.0 million in FY20, representing a record high since 2011 and exceeding the FY22 target one year early. Stevens researchers submitted 355 proposals during Year 9, another all-time high. Additionally, faculty clusters for research, technology development and commercialization were established to promote better integration of capabilities, increase the quality of research output and to become more competitive for substantive awards. Over $10 million was awarded to faculty clusters associated with quantum technologies and industrial resiliency.
Culture and Governance
In Year 9, Stevens conducted searches for 31 faculty positions, including the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, two endowed chairs and two department chairs; in addition to the Provost, 25 new faculty were hired. Of the 25 new faculty members, eight are women, representing 32% of the total. Twenty seven percent of the total full-time faculty at Stevens are now women, which is the same as in the previous year. Stevens continued to strengthen the diversity of candidate pools through professional development, sample job descriptions and reviews of position descriptions in an effort to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups. In a continuing effort to improve faculty and staff satisfaction and instill pride in Stevens’ success, a number of new initiatives were developed including a Flexible Work Arrangement Pilot program, updated COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the establishment of an Employee Pandemic Appreciation Award and forums offering employees a space to address social justice concerns. Stevens conducted annual benchmarking of staff salaries, and a special adjustment initiative was implemented.
Stevens continues to have a healthy fiscal profile, despite numerous unanticipated budgetary challenges as a result of the pandemic. The RCM program has been temporarily paused for this reason. The School of Business successfully finished its reaccreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and an external unit review was completed for the computer science department. Administrative unit reviews planned for FY21 were suspended due to the pandemic, and the Steering Committee will review the effectiveness of the current system in Spring 2022. Stevens’ Division of Information Technology (IT) underwent major reassessment and reconstruction of all its core systems and processes as well as the overall organizational structure. Stevens is now better able to develop and implement an IT governance structure, establish additional policies, support digital services and achieve more effective and efficient processes. Additionally, the Division of University Relations was established, comprising communications and marketing functions; corporate, government and community relations; and staff support to the Office of the President. The University Center Complex made significant progress during Year 9 and is on target for completion in May 2022. Many other upgrades to the physical infrastructure were made in Year 9, and numerous health and safety measures as a result of the pandemic were implemented.
Stevens successfully completed its ambitious campaign, The Power of Stevens. Gifts and pledges totaled $200.6 million at the campaign close at the end of FY21. Gifts and pledges for FY21 were $22.4 million exceeding Stevens’ fiscal year goal of $20 million and bringing total campaign gifts to the endowment to $86.6 million. The total value of the Stevens endowment was $273 million at the end of FY21. With the creation of the Division of University Relations, a number of new initiatives were launched including brand strategy research, planning for a new Stevens website, a Stevens-branded survey and engagement in the Associated Press Campus Insights project to bring faculty expertise to AP media partners worldwide. Stevens increased its efforts to enhance the university’s reputation and prestige, and this resulted in a 32% increase of media coverage in top-tier outlets. The U.S. News & World Report peer assessment ranking for 2021 improved to 122 compared to 141 the prior year. Despite the challenges of a campus under construction and limited opportunities for campus visitors in FY21, progress continued to be made to make the Stevens campus a wonderful place for visitors. On-campus tours were reimagined, and a robust suite of online activities for prospective and admitted students was created. Consistent with prior years, a wide variety of initiatives were implemented to demonstrate Stevens’ value and contributions to the Hoboken community. The Corporate Relations Committee resumed its work in late FY21 with a new Director of Corporate, Government and Community Relation in place.