EC faculty meets to discuss major issues

Elmhurst College faculty meets for their first monthly faculty meeting of the academic year on Sept. 9. (Photo by Kirsten Tendall)

Expanding international student recruitment, diversifying the student body, and the general state of Elmhurst College were among the topics discussed on Friday in Illinois Hall for the monthly faculty meeting.

Immediately following Chaplain Scott Matheney’s invocation came EC president Troy VanAken’s report in which he called for new college initiatives before discussing the implementation of new international recruitment programs.

“There are some international initiatives in terms of recruiting students…Tim Ricordati and I had a conference call with some institutions in Vietnam,” he said. “We were very excited. I knew these individuals before, but because of our reputation and because of our location they are interested in talking about a number of different partnerships with some private high schools.”

According to VanAken, these partnerships might entail that certain students with sufficient ACT test scores would be offered the opportunity to attend Elmhurst College.

VanAken then addressed the search for a new Vice President of academic affairs. After thanking Heather Hall, the interim holder of the position, he detailed the progress being made to find her eventual replacement.

“Last night I had a phone call... where we secured a leading firm, Hyatt and Fennell to be our consultants for the Vice President for Academic Affairs search,” he said. “If we could have on-campus interviews before the holiday break we think that could work.”

VanAken concluded with a statement on the school’s current financial model. After alluding to the faculty’s concerns about MAP Grants and retirement funds, Van Aken gave a general plan on how he plans on addressing the issue.

“There are some areas where we may be a little thick, and that’s easier to talk about than it is to do much about,” VanAken said. “But I am looking at some areas to see where we can be thinned down, not because the people in those positions might be bad but because it’s 2016 and we have to run things lean where we can so that we can take care of the people that we have here.”

Ricordati, interim dean of admissions, was next on the podium where he gave a presentation revealing several statistics about the increase in enrollment for both new students as well as graduate students.

“For this year in terms of first year students we’re going to be about 480 and transfers we’re going to be north of 360,” he said.

“So we’re going to have somewhere north of 840 new traditional undergraduate students on this campus. And if you think about last year, we had a total of 789. So it’s a pretty good increase.”

Ricordati then reviewed the increase in graduate students, which had risen to 270 students as compared to the 230 last year and only 123 in 2013.

It was after opening up the room to questions about his presentation that Ricordati revealed initiatives for reaching out to underrepresented groups of students. These initiatives even included the implementation of a new grant, The American Dream Grant.

“We’re doing a couple of exciting things, once we’ve entered into an agreements with a multitude of community based organizations,” he said.

“They’ll be reaching out to groups of students and providing them some financial incentives for joining us.”

“But something I’m most proud of is that we’ve actually [created] an add on scholarship... this year we’re going to institute the American Dream Grant,” Ricodati added. “That is an extra scholarship that’s going to be given to students that are first generation students.”

Ricordati then left the podium but not before tossing a few Elmhurst College themed frisbees into the audience. Heather Hall, interim dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs, was next up where she thanked the audience before introducing some of the new faculty and directors with the help of their respective department chairs before calling the meeting to a close.