A plurality of viewpoints and experiences among students, faculty, and staff is essential to achieve preeminence
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) August 18, 2006
In Plan 2010: The Path to Preeminence, Saint Joseph's identified "promoting diversity throughout the University" as a key strategic initiative. "Saint Joseph's strives to increase the diversity of its full-time undergraduate consistency, as part of a comprehensive diversity plan," the plan noted.
Efforts to implement this initiative are starting to produce impressive results. The new incoming class includes the largest number of minority freshmen -- approximately 13.5% of the class -- in recent memory. The 143 enrolled minority freshmen represent an 8% increase over 2005. Additionally, total minority applications increased by 20% over the last year.
"These figures reflect a systematic commitment on the University's part," said Brice Wachterhauser, Ph.D., University provost. "The hiring of a director of institutional diversity, the Ignatian College Connection, and other initiatives are all meant to actualize the diversity aspirations listed in Plan 2010."
The improvements over last year reflect a longer-term trend. The last five years have seen consistent growth patterns in diversity recruitment. Total minority applications rose 151% during that time, while total minority enrollment was up 36%.
Spurred by publicly espoused commitments by President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., and Dr. Wachterhauser to increase diversity at the University, the Office of Enrollment Management made "a conscious and deliberate decision" to revamp its diversity-related efforts, said Sundar Kumarasamy, assistant provost for enrollment management.
"We are focusing on socioeconomic diversity as a Jesuit institution," said Kumarasamy. "We're working hard to make college access possible for all based on our mission. It improves the experience for the entire student body."
The biggest shift involved making diversity recruitment a part of all Admissions counselors' jobs, when previously the office had just one person devoted to it. Admissions and Financial Assistance worked very closely to provide more frequent and more personalized contacts with applicants. This more personalized attention led to an effort to see beyond SAT scores and GPAs to discern how minority applicants strove to overcome obstacles.
Additionally, the University has reallocated financial assistance to increase need-based institutional grants and mission-related scholarships, while also spending extra time educating students and parents about how to make college affordable.
"A plurality of viewpoints and experiences among students, faculty, and staff is essential to achieve preeminence," said Dr. Wachterhauser. "By welcoming those from as many backgrounds as possible, we make Saint Joseph's a stronger institution."
BACKGROUND: Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University advances the professional and personal ambitions of men and women by providing a demanding, yet supportive, educational experience. One of only 142 schools with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and AACSB business school accreditation, Saint Joseph's is home to 4,250 full-time undergraduates and 3,200 graduate, part-time, and doctoral students. Steeped in the 450-year Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, the University strives to be recognized as the preeminent Catholic comprehensive university in the Northeast.