Thank you for joining us on the Schreiner University website. I hope that you capture here some of the vitality of this place and, whatever your motive for visiting, that you are prompted to come back again and turn your virtual visit into an actual one. Schreiner University’s 2015-16 academic year is well underway and has established a milestone we all celebrate. Officially this fall we have enrolled 1230 students, an increase of 9% over fall 2014, including our second largest freshman class in history. Schreiner targeted as a goal that 1200 figure in the late 1990s, recognizing that we needed to grow to support the academic programs we envisioned as well as to ensure economic stability. Over that decade and a half, the university’s student body has grown by over 50%. We seek to continue to grow at a reasonable pace, with attention to our undergraduate, graduate and online programs and populations.
This fall a performing arts living and learning community becomes our seventh and newest freshman learning community. A year ago this time, we were introducing The Schreiner Experience (TSE), our commitment to undergraduate learning, integrating academics and co-curricular life around our core commitment to prepare our students for “meaningful work and purposeful lives in a changing global society.” All aspects of TSE have proven attractive to our students, from the concierge book service dramatically cutting textbook costs to enhanced work study and internship opportunities, service-learning courses and greatly expanded study away opportunities. This year, Schreiner students will find our TSE commitment even more richly woven into their experience.
What are some of the other newer features of life at Schreiner? Last January our superb new Schreiner Event Center opened to host the last half of the basketball season and to provide a gracious setting for May commencement. This year our volleyball team will benefit from the facility as well. We have established an online program that enables working RNs earn their BSN degree while remaining professionally active. In June, we created a new division of marketing headed by Vice President Lane Tait. A number of you as current students, prospects, parents, alumni, faculty and staff participated in valuable market research to help us better understand perceptions of our university and our most valued features. All of that response helps us do a better job of meeting mission.
There are hundreds of ways of evaluating colleges and universities. Most have some value, although many employ measures of questionable relevance. One that I believe is worth contemplating is the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory, which tracks how important certain features of college life (instruction, advising, campus life, registration, safety & security, support services, etc) are to students and how satisfied they are with their own college’s performance. In last spring’s data, we learned that in every single category of student experience Schreiner students were more satisfied than their peers responding at hundreds of other liberal arts colleges nationally. And the difference in each case was not marginal, but statistically significant. We don’t believe those data are accidental, and they help us stay focused on what is important.
So we continue to seek ways to enable families and individuals to afford a residential college experience and its opportunities for growth of character and intellect. We know how important such an education is and how strongly those who experience it affirm its value. That is precisely why Schreiner pays exceptional attention to balancing its commitment to quality with a determination to manage cost. Sometimes it means working a little smarter, but frankly that is a trait that benefits any enterprise. We will not change that commitment.