Office of the Provost
Eileen Lynd-Balta, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Dean of the College
Welcome to our St. John Fisher College web pages! In particular, I invite you to comb through our rich, growing and diverse mix of academic programs in our five schools: School of Business, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, School of Arts and Sciences, Wegmans School of Pharmacy, and Wegmans School of Nursing. These academic programs are set in a beautiful and modern campus that engenders both academic learning and the cultivation of social intelligence.
Over the next 15 months, we will be engaging all of our campus constituents in an institution-wide and sweeping round of Strategic Planning – gloss that exercise as “assessment-based planning” in order to enhance the linkage among planning and budgeting – we will also be nurturing our developing culture of evidence.
A cornerstone of that strategic planning process is our first-ever Academic Master Plan (AMP) that the Deans and I are working through in several phases and now in near-final draft. As a relevant backdrop and framework for the draft AMP, it is appropriate to review the major factors and changes that have occurred since the SJFC Strategic Plan of 2003 and the present time. What follow are the major accomplishments and activities that have shaped Fisher in the past eight years:
1. Establish School Structures and School Deans
From its beginning, St. John Fisher College has sought to provide students with a broad liberal arts education as well as to prepare them for the world of professional employment and civic engagement. These core values continue to be reflected in the concise mission statement and campus and community relationships; these values also provide the foundation on which the College selects new academic programs and programmatic, strategic directions. Since 2003, five schools have been formed: School of Business, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, School of Arts and Sciences, Wegmans School of Pharmacy, and Wegmans School of Nursing.
2. Program Development
a. Three Doctoral Programs: Ed. D.; Pharm. D., Doctorate in Nursing Practice
Offering a Pharmacy program (Pharm.D.) and an Ed. D. in Executive Leadership support the mission of SJFC with increased intellectual and professional opportunities for students, connections with the community and further chance to enhance diversity on campus. In addition, the Pharm.D. and Ed.D. programs support one of the high-priority objectives in the SJFC 2003 Strategic Plan that focuses upon development of new professionally-oriented graduate programs.
The two doctoral programs have provided SJFC a new and broader constituency. The addition of the Doctor of Pharmacy degree has provided opportunities for both current SJFC students as well as students from other colleges and universities who seek to pursue a pharmacy degree. In addition, the pharmacy program provides much needed pharmacists to local and regional employers. Although the majority of students for the Ed.D. in Executive Leadership were projected to be comprised of candidates who have already received master's degrees from SJFC, the program has provided employers with executive leaders to meet the challenges of today’s complex organizations in the areas of business, nursing, mental health counseling, human resource development and human service administration. In addition, both programs have realized the potential to provide opportunities for under-represented student populations.
Both doctoral programs have provided the opportunity for collaborations with faculty from other schools and departments within SJFC. In addition, the Wegmans School of Pharmacy has had a significant impact on the undergraduate science programs as the number of pre-pharmacy students increased. We have closely monitored the effect of a significant increase of pre-health students and the impact on the undergraduate science courses.
In late 2007, the College of New Rochelle (CNR) in Westchester County, New York approached senior members of Fisher and inquired about the possibility of offering our Ed.D. program at the New Rochelle campus. After extended discussion, a partnership was formed under the direction of Dr. Sam Walton, Ed.D. Graduate Program Director and former Dean of the Ralph C. Wilson School of Education. Cohort 1 at the CNR was established in the summer of 2009; the second cohort of 30 doctoral students began study in June of 2010. A substantial wait-list of prospective doctoral students at the CNR would seem to indicate the sustainability of that program and partnership.
In late 2008, the College and the Wegmans School of Nursing established the third doctoral program for SJFC. The Doctorate in Nursing Practice program is consistent with the College’s mission and strategic directions that have led to the creation of several new successful graduate level programs in recent history including, but not limited to, master’s degrees in: Educational Administration; Mental Health Counseling, Advanced Practice Nursing, and a revised MBA Program. The program is also consistent with the Wegmans School of Nursing’s mission and a natural extension of its existing programs. The addition of the doctoral program supports the College’s and School of Nursing’s long term commitment and efforts to address critical professional and community needs in Rochester and its surrounding communities, and achieves a major priority objective in the College’s Strategic Plan. Cohort 2 in the DNP program was enrolled in the Fall of 2010. The success of Fisher’s DNP program has recently drawn an inquiry from the College of New Rochelle that would possibly expand our partnership by adding the DNP to Fisher’s existing offering of the Ed. D. at that additional site.
Program development at the doctoral level has helped to improve the financial performance of the college. SJFC has been able to invest in the: renewal and replacement of its physical plant; improvements in education and information technology; expansion of its residence halls and academic buildings; improvement of its athletic facilities; and renovation of existing facilities and infrastructures. In addition, SJFC has sufficient cash flow from operations to support a reserve fund for early retirement of debt, with the intent to pay down debt by $7 to $10 million in 10 years.
b. Core Curriculum
The Faculty Assembly approved a new Core Curriculum proposal in the fall of 2004. The President and BOT approved the new Core in the spring of 2005. The new Core reflects greater intentionality on the part of curricular integration and meaningful assessment. Increased intentionality in a consciously-crafted Core additionally provides all undergraduate students with a common foundation for further study and the breadth of “ways of knowing” that define the centrality of the liberal arts and sciences to a Fisher education.
c. Service Learning Inclusion
St. John Fisher College (SJFC) has a number of coordinated (at the College level) relationships with the community. At the College level, it has three focused loci of activities that relate to civic engagement:
- Service Learning Advisory Board (SLAB) – focus on service learning as a component of the classroom educational experience.
- Office of Community Service – focus on volunteering and community service as a component of the overall college experience.
- Center for Community Engagement (CCE) – focus on one path for linking SJFC to the nonprofit segment of the community, bridging “town/gown” and enhancing the perception of SJFC as a resource to, and important component of, the community (see next item).
d. Center for Community Engagement
While the Center for Community Engagement emerged initially from the larger series of service learning efforts cited above, through its independent and entrepreneurial fundraising and grant writing, the CCE was established in Fall 2006 as an autonomous entity under the leadership of Howard Berman and Tom Toole. The Center’s website provides a full description of the extensive network, both on and off-campus, that has established student learning experiences in the community, faculty research fellowships and resources, and broad linkages between the College and non-profit agencies.
e. Integration of Existing Programs
- Pharm. D. with MBA
- Health and Humanities (Minor)
- Museum Studies (Certificate);
- Philosophy and Classical Languages (Major/Area Studies)
- Legal Studies (Major)
- Digital and Media Arts (Minor)
- MBA with Accounting (4+1) for CPA eligibility
- Library Media Specialist (Master’s) with Lavery Library
3. Professional Program Accreditation
- AACSB: The School of Business achieved accreditation in April of 2003.
- NCATE: The Ralph C. Wilson School of Education achieved National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accreditation by virtue of a full site-visit in October 2005. The next site-visit is scheduled for the Fall of 2011.
- ACPE: The Wegmans School of Pharmacy achieved full accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education in June 2010.
- CCNE: The Wegmans School of Nursing received accreditation by the Council of Colleges of Nursing Education following a full site-visit in November 2007.
- CACREP: In January 2008, the Master’s program in Mental Health Counseling was notified that the program was awarded a full 8-years of accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
4. Enrollment Growth
Several consecutive years of continuous and managed growth in the College’s undergraduate and graduate program enrollments have culminated in the current semester’s record-setting total enrollments that top 4000 students. The greatest areas of growth are in the health professions programs, to include pharmacy, nursing, mental health counseling and pre-health professions.
5. Campus Construction: New Space for Academic and Student Co-Curricular Activities
- Wegmans School of Pharmacy (Funded and Constructed)
- Wegmans School of Nursing (Funded and Constructed)
- Fay Building (Funded and Constructed)
- Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center (Funded and Constructed)
Sports and Recreational Facility Improvements
The Fisher academic experience is balanced by a strong extracurricular focus.
- Polisseni Track and Field (Funded and Under Construction)....$3,000,000
Additional Renovations and Upgrades
Recently the College completed several major improvements to the campus for both academic and student life spaces.
- New Campus Center that created a central place for recreation, performance, student government, campus ministry and other club activities.
- A renovated and expanded fitness room for campus-wide use.
- A new chemistry lab was constructed from former physics space which created an additional 16 station labs top accommodate increased enrollments in Biology and Chemistry.
- The College renovated old office space in the Elaine Wilson Pavilion into two new classrooms.
Finally, the College has been informed recently that the Carnegie Foundation has re-classified Fisher from a Master’s Large to a Doctoral Research University. I addressed the Faculty Assembly yesterday, along with the Strategic Planning Steering Committee this past Saturday, and have initiated a campus-wide discussion of the implications of this new designation. In short, Fisher is proud of its doctoral programs, but we are also looking forward to review and perhaps reconsider our mission and vision within the context of this new Carnegie classification.