Bachand gives State of the University Address

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SVSU President Donald Bachand gave his State of the University address in the Malcolm Field Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Bachand’s address included topics such as SVSU’s recent accolades, actions as a result of the University’s strategic plan and student and staff success stories.

Mamie Thorns, the special assistant to the president for diversity programs at SVSU, introduced Bachand.

The president began by discussing the “We” campaign and said that it goes beyond just a creative slogan.

“It represents who we are at this moment in time: approachable, passionate, resilient and unanimously committed to the success of all students, faculty and staff regardless of their background or origin,” Bachand said.

He then discussed the strategic plan created for the university over the next five years.

“I hope we all understand how important the successful implementation of this plan is to SVSU,” he said. “The plan positions us to adjust to years of institutional growth. If we execute the strategic plan effectively, we can have a great institution with about 9,000 students as a sustainable base.”

Currently, enrollment at SVSU has declined 14 percent since the fall of 2011. However, according to Bachand, this is in line with a decrease in high school graduates statewide. He stressed the importance of bringing in a strong freshman class each year.

“Enrollment depends on both recruitment and retention,” Bachand said. “Our university success initiatives have resulted in an increase in first and second-year retention from 69 percent in 2011 to 73 percent in 2016. This number doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really is a significant improvement.”

SVSU’s ultimate goal is to reach a retention rate of 78 percent, Bachand said.

Bachand discussed the highlights of the year at SVSU, which included SVSU’s housing accolade as being ranked number one in the state of Michigan and 19th nationally.

“The ranking evaluates dorms at almost 1,400 four-year colleges and universities,” Bachand said. “We are proud to stand apart from so many other institutions.”

“I think that as a student, it is important to know what the current state of our institution is,” said President of Forever Red Anna Sheufelt. “There were a lot of really interesting updates that were included in President Bachand’s address, but the point that I liked hearing about the most was the continued efforts to enhance the university’s marketing strategies.”

Bachand also updated the progress of the construction on the Zahnow Library. On Feb. 15, the first-floor entrance to the library was blocked-off as construction began there. Bachand also mentioned that Starbucks and Albert E’s would be closed beginning in May, as construction on a new on-campus Panda Express will begin.

SVSU is once again applying for state funding to expand the campus’ College of Business and Management building. SVSU is lobbying for $10 million.

“Understanding that this is a political process, we are optimistic about our chances to receive the state funding that we need to move forward with this very important project,” Bachand said. “I think we’ve made a very good case to the state. New updates will be given in the coming months.”

Beginning in the fall of 2017, the College of Business and Management will offer an online MBA program. It will be the most affordable program of its kind in the state, Bachand said, and a new master’s in Social Work also is planned.

Bachand also highlighted the College of Education earning its seven-year accreditation. SVSU is one of 17 schools in the nation who have met the now more rigorous standards. Additionally, the department of music has been reaccredited for 10 years, the maximum time allowed under the accrediting body.

The president ended his address discussing several student and faculty success stories, updates on the new marketing campaign, Black History Month events, the Foundation’s 2/2 for SVSU and the alumni offices license plate campaigns and athletic achievements.

“Let’s make our future the brightest it can be,” he said.