President’s Perspective Fall 2016

President Ali Malekzadeh
What a whirlwind of a first year I’ve had at Roosevelt! And hold on to your seat belts – much more is to come.

Since I last wrote we have nearly completed hiring our new leadership team. Elsewhere in this magazine you can read about our great new hires: Provost and Executive Vice President Lois Becker, CEO of the Auditorium Theatre Tania Castroverde Moskalenko, and Dean of the College of Pharmacy Melissa Hogan.

In addition, we have promoted our talented employees Sue Fay as Vice President of Human Resources, Neeraj Kumar as Vice President of Academic Technology, John Jaramillo as Director of Athletics, and appointed Tangella Maddox as Interim Vice President for Financial Affairs.

We also welcomed 10 new faculty members, expanded our Executive Mentoring and Career Readiness programs for students, redesigned our website, and continue to marvel at the success of our graduates – most recently political science graduate Carla Hayden, who was recently confirmed as the 14th Librarian of Congress.

Other highlights include:

  • The inauguration of the American Dream Reconsidered Conference. Thanks to the hard work of our entire community this was a rousing success. Over 1,500 people registered for the conference and for our community service day. You can read the details elsewhere in this magazine, but I’m so proud at the quality of the discussion and thankful to sponsors BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, McDonald’s, and the Jack Miller Center. I want to see Roosevelt University develop as a recognized institution shaping national conversations on topics that affect our nation.
  • The celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Schaumburg Campus. With a giant birthday cake (of course!) we welcomed trustees, faculty, staff and Schaumburg area leaders in politics and business to the celebration in September. We are now busy planning changes at the campus to revive its stature as a thriving educational center for the northwest suburbs.

But as significant is what’s to come. Our financial situation – similar to so many colleges and universities today — is challenging due to a shortfall in expected enrollment this fall, in part a result of the State of Illinois’ failure to fund the Monetary Award Program (MAP) that provides grants to over a third of our undergraduates. I am working with the trustees, faculty, staff and administration to take a hard look at our operations and make the changes we need to move forward. This is actually an opportunity to reflect on Roosevelt University during a time of transition in higher education, and how we can best serve our students and build for the future.

As a result we have developed the Building a Better Roosevelt initiative, featuring a three –pronged approach – to increase enrollments, reduce debt and reduce costs. We will focus on enrollment by rebalancing the student population to increase the proportion of graduate students and upper division transfer students. We will create programs to improve the retention of first and second year students. We will improve communication with applicants, strengthen ties with community colleges and more aggressively recruit international students. We will address our high debt condition by examining our real estate holdings and finding better ways to leverage our assets. And we will reduce costs with a retirement incentive program and with the restructuring of the colleges, curriculum and administration. We will create a leaner, stronger, more effective Roosevelt University. I welcome your ideas!

Eleanor Roosevelt, at the 10th anniversary of Roosevelt University in 1955, said:

“Through educational institutions such as this one feels the pulse beating . . . the hope that we can achieve the leadership which will lead to truth . . .
to fight for freedom of thought, for freedom to search for truth no matter what it leads you through.”

We will keep the pulse beating of this remarkable University. Stay tuned as we move forward!

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