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President Donald R. Eastman III

President's Remarks

Report to the Board of Trustees

February 28-March 1, 2002


The following information updates the admissions picture as of February 12, 2002.

1. We have received 1,387 applications for US freshman admission a record number for this date, representing a 7.6% increase over last year. One-third of the increase has come from students in Florida. We also are significantly ahead in the receipt of applications from minority students (160 this year compared to 121 last year, a 32% increase).

2. As a result of our deliberate strategy to accept qualified students earlier this year, we have offered admission to 70% of our freshman applicant pool to date, compared to 60% last year.

3. In spite of the accelerated acceptance rate, we have received only two more commitment deposits than we had last year on this date (80 in 2002 vs. 78 in 2001). It is clear that the students accepted earlier are waiting for financial aid and scholarship information before making a commitment.

4. We have received eight fewer applications for US transfer admission than we had last year at this time (68 in 2001 vs. 60 in 2002). With the accelerated admission rate, we have accepted the same number of transfer students as we had last year (31).

5. As expected following September 11, our applications for international student admission are down 22% (173 in 2001 vs. 135 in 2002). The acceptance of international student applications is lagging even further behind (35% below last year). The strong US dollar is making it increasingly difficult for international students to show proof that they have adequate financial support to allow us to give a positive admission decision.

6. Our new student enrollment goal for Fall 2002 is 510 -- an increase of 16 over last year. After September 11, we revised downward our expectations with regard to international student enrollment and increased our efforts to enroll freshman and transfer students from the USA (particularly from Florida). The plan seems to be working, but we are watching very carefully the State budget debates in Tallahassee. Significant reductions in student financial aid for Florida students at private colleges could be a major challenge for us.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

1. Faculty approved two new majors, "Business Administration" and "Communications" and two new minors, "Law and Justice" and "Leadership Studies." These new majors are essentially the reallocation and re-arranging of current resources in ways designed to increase the College's attractiveness to students.

2. There has been substantial progress on the new library in terms of identifying the preferred location, hiring the architect, and setting in motion the conceptual design based on a revised program statement.

3. The College has been awarded a grant of $1,036,800 payable over four years from the Freeman Foundation to support the further development of Asian Studies at Eckerd College, including endowed scholarship support for students to study in Asia, a continuing part-time appointment in Japanese, and support to the sister-city exchange with Takamatsu.

4. The program of Winter Term overseas projects has been very successful in spite of widespread anxiety following the events of September 11. This year there were 13 overseas Winter Terms involving a total of 233 students compared to 13 programs and 213 students a year ago. This year groups went to Kenya, the Galapagos and Micronesia as well as to such places as England, Ireland, Sicily, Spain, Mexico, and Belize.

5. The Florida Institute of Oceanography has formally voted Eckerd College as a full member of the FIO consortium of higher education institutions. Eckerd is the only college to be a member. The others are major universities. As a member institution, Eckerd will have access to FIO research vessels free of charge for teaching purposes.

6. The registration module of the Banner administrative software system is scheduled to go into operation in April in time for pre-registration for fall. Ultimately students will be able to register for courses as well as monitor their progress toward fulfilling degree requirements on line.

7. Institutional Research, Registrar, and a representative from the Business Office has been meeting weekly to coordinate admissions and retention efforts. Significant progress has already been made in re-focusing admission efforts, clarifying enrollment data, and researching factors that affect attrition and retention.

8. Plans are going forward to hold a single commencement ceremony including both residential and PEL graduates on Saturday, May 18, at Tropicana Field, at 5 p.m. Baccalaureate will be in Griffin Chapel at 1 p.m.

Acting Dean of Students

1. Taskforces

A. Student Activity Fee Taskforce
This taskforce, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, is currently studying the disbursement and monitoring of the Student Activity Fee. This fee has traditionally been managed by the Finance Director and Finance Committee of the Eckerd College Organization of Students.

B. Alcohol Task Force (ATF)
This taskforce is assessing the effectiveness of the current alcohol policy and recommending any adjustments that it deems advisable. Such an assessment is required every two years by the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act. The ATF comprises four committees:

  1. Assessment. This committee is evaluating the effectiveness and impact of our current alcohol and drug policies;
  2. Research. The research committee is investigating the best practices at comparable institutions and examining current scholarly literature in the field of collegiate drug and alcohol use;
  3. Policy. Based upon the work of the assessment and research committees, this committee will make recommendations concerning possible changes to the current policy;
  4. Education and Implementation. It is the responsibility of this committee to create strategies and programs focused upon the immediate promulgation of any policy changes, as well as long term drug and alcohol education.

C. Honor Code Taskforce
An Honor Code Taskforce is currently being assembled. It will explore the potential development of an honor code to replace or build upon the Shared Commitment. This taskforce will have its initial meeting in early April and will continue its work through the Fall semester of 2002.

2. Athletics

Coach Jim Harley retired from the College on February 14, after 39 years of loyal service to Eckerd. In his 22 years as basketball coach, all but two of his players graduated! There won't be another one like him.

The Advisory Group on Athletics at Eckerd, appointed by the President and chaired by Acting Athletics Director George Meese, is meeting regularly. This committee is examining the resources and needs of the intercollegiate athletics program and the impact of sports and fitness programs on the overall quality of student life at Eckerd College.

A total of 248 student-athletes were named to the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll for the Fall 2001. Eckerd College had 42 student-athletes named, the second highest among SSC schools. Women's cross-country had five named, men's soccer had 14, women's soccer had 19, and volleyball had 4.

3. Health Center

In January, Dr. Michael Riley, a physician with a private practice who is affiliated with St. Anthony's Hospital, was appointed Medical Director of the Eckerd College Health Center. Dr. Riley and three associate physicians now staff the Health Center on weekday evenings. This arrangement allows students to see experienced, practicing physicians instead of innumerable rotating Residents. Additionally, when students require medical care that is outside the scope of the Health Center during daytime hours, they can visit any one of these doctors in his or her local office.

4. Residence Life

The resignation of Kathryn Philliben as Associate Dean and Director of Residence Life provided an opportunity to reexamine the effectiveness of staffing patterns in that area. In consultation with the two Assistant Directors of Residence Life and other Student Affairs staff, Acting Dean of Students Jim Annarelli decided to phase out the Associate Dean's position, the five Complex Coordinator student positions, and two graduate assistant positions in favor of the creation of three new Master-level professional positions, which have been entitled Resident Coordinators. This model also entailed elevating the roles of the current Assistant Directors to co-equal Associate Directors, one overseeing operations and the other taking responsibility for Residence Life staffing. The College will now have five Master-level professionals living on-campus in the residence halls.

5. Campus Life Initiative

In support of the Campus Life Initiative, a multi-level plan which involves the integration of a number of projects related to improving campus climate and social life, the Finance Committee and Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees approved the use of up to $250,000 in unrestricted bequests for residence hall improvements. These improvements include the carpeting, painting, and furnishing of lounges; the purchase of pool, ping pong, and foosball tables; landscaping; and other complex-specific upgrades as determined by student committees in each facility. Because this project is guided by the recommendations of complex-based student committees, it will yield both improved physical facilities and enhanced student "buy-in" and responsibility in the residence halls.

6. Triton's Pub

Triton's Pub, which opened on November 30, has become a major focal point of student life on campus. The Pub is a beautiful and inviting gathering place where students and faculty may continue a discussion that started in class, attend a poetry reading, share a game of pool, or enjoy the featured entertainment.

Vice President and Dean of Special Programs

More than any other segment of the College, the Special Programs division has been most impacted by the events of September 11, the recession in the US economy, and the unfavorable economic conditions in international economies.

Program for Experienced Learners

PEL has achieved the same number of registrations to date as last year, despite increased competition from the public sector and proprietary institutions.

Highlights from PEL include opening a center in Venice in cooperation with Manatee Community College and the development of an in-house program at Doctors' Hospital in Sarasota. PEL also expanded its Information Systems curriculum.

Management Development Institute

Funding for corporate training is directly related to economic conditions; during economic downturns, employees are downsized and training budgets are cut.

While our open enrollment course registrations are down 12% this year, our contract programs have grown 15% and our individual coaching programs have grown by 10%. Relationships are being developed with several key area firms, including Tech Data and Tropicana.

Eckerd College's training partner, the Center for Creative Leadership, was named by BusinessWeek as the top provider of leadership training programs for the second consecutive year. Harvard and Michigan were #2 and #3, respectively.

MDI has also begun marketing its new assessment instrument, the Conflict Dynamics Profile.

Senior Education

Despite the decrease in Elderhostel enrollments nationally, our Elderhostel program registrations are up 5% this year.

Senior College, which is a membership organization for area seniors, reached 650 members.

ELS Language Center

The English language training business for international students has taken a severe beating due to travel concerns, visa problems, and difficult economic conditions in key countries, such as Japan, Brazil, and Argentina. Several ELS competitors have closed or merged.

Our ELS enrollments have declined by 61% from last year. Last January, for example, we enrolled 180 ELS students. This year January enrollment was 70.

Vice President for Finance

1. Software support for Payroll/Human Resources was converted to the Banner software system in January providing employees with an opportunity to direct deposit their earnings. We are continuing to prepare to take Accounts Receivable, Financial Aid, and Registrar live later this Spring and early Summer.

2. A statement of Financial Position and Statement of Cash Flow as of January 31, 2002 was created for the Board and Executive Staff.

3. The campus master planners are concluding their Observation phase. They are scheduled to return to campus March 20-21, 2002 to conclude their Conceptual phase.

4. Architect Charles Canerday has been hired for the new library, and preliminary conceptual designs are expected to be unveiled at the February/March Board of Trustee meetings. Mr. Canerday is working in concert with the campus planners, and a possible site for the new library was recommended by the master planners and reviewed by the Trustees' Buildings and Grounds Committee.

5. Renovation proposals are being finalized for Bininger and Dendy-McNair.

6. A comprehensive review and revision of the Personnel Policies and Procedures has been completed and will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at their February/March meeting.

Vice President for Advancement

1. President Eastman hosted Elie Wiesel at a dinner where Dr. Wiesel met our first Children of Genocide Scholar, Dunja Busic, as well as other members of the Eckerd community. The dinner was followed by his lecture to more than 1700 guests from the community.

2. Family Weekend February 22-24 was a tremendous success. Despite the horrible weather, we had 160 families join us which represents a 47% increase over last year's attendance. Many positive comments continue to be shared. According to the Annual Fund reports, parent giving shows a 75% increase in the number of donors and a 39% increase in dollars raised to date over last year.

3. We have expanded alumni marketing services to cohort groups.

4. We are currently involved in a marketing/image study to define "who we are" and how we might consistently portray Eckerd College.

5. Presbyterian Church giving has increased by 18%, and Presbyterian friends also increased an additional 7%.

6. We are on track to reach the Annual Fund goal of $1.7 million.

7. For the second year, Trinity Presbyterian Church and its Pastor, Rev. Fred Terry, held their Church Anniversary Party at Eckerd College.

8. All fund raising efforts, once handled by individual offices, are being coordinated and given assistance by the Advancement Office. We have had the enthusiastic cooperation of our Athletics, Waterfront, ASPEC, and Marine Science departments.

9. The office has launched a campaign to raise $1.6 million in special annual fund gifts from Trustees.

10. Two and one-half million dollars were raised to add to the library construction fund.

11. As a final word, all of this has been done while the entire Advancement team has pulled together the plans for the Inauguration.

Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College (ASPEC)

1. ASPEC is celebrating its 20th anniversary on March 12th.

2. We now have the largest membership in our history: 220 Regular elected members plus 141 Associate members for a total of 361 members.

3. ASPEC has more interest, study and project groups than at any time in its history; the current number is 55.

4. ASPEC has completed its first long-range planning process, which included the implementation of a new dues structure based on the premise of fiscal self-sufficiency independent of voluntary contributions.

5. Seventy-three percent of ASPEC members have made voluntary contributions to the College so far during the 2001-2002 fiscal year.