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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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State of University Address forecasts changes to budget, core, inclusivity


On the afternoon of Oct. 4, President Rev. Brian F. Linnane delivered the 2017 State of the University Address. Father Linnane has been President of Loyola for 12 years. Linnane focused his speech on the administration’s goals to progress Loyola’s financial status, to revisit and to improve the undergraduate liberal arts core, and to continue to promote an equitable and inclusive community.

Father Linnane started the address by thanking everyone for attending and acknowledged the cabinet staff for their continuous hard work, recognizing Dr. Robert D. Kelley, Ph.D., Dr. Amanda Thomas, Ph.D., and Dean of Loyola College, Dr. Stephen Fowl, Ph.D., among others. He stated that his staff “view[s] this year as an opportunity to ‘reset’ their relationships with the entire Loyola community.” He also mentioned that in the spirit of our Jesuit values as a school, it is important that all of us are challenged to do more and be more for others.

Linnane then shifted to remark on the challenges Loyola currently combats regarding finance. Despite obtaining a record number of attending First Year students, with 1,051 students currently enrolled in the Class of 2021, he remarked that the average First Year retention rate is 80 percent, falling short of the 88 percent ideal goal. Additionally, our projected the fiscal year 2018 net student revenue falls $4.7 million below budget. Due to these various setbacks, a $750,000 budget drop is forecasted.

These numbers are in part due to what Linnane termed as an “industry-wide” issue, with only 36 percent of United States universities meeting their goals for first-year enrollment. However, Linnane insisted that despite the declining retention rate and this fiscal adversity, we are no less committed to moving forward and are intent on achieving our goals.

“In order to better position ourselves in the higher education landscape, we must be creative, collaborative, and willing to change,” Linnane said.

As part of this plan, he announced that Dr. Josh Smith, the Dean of the School of Education, will “lead a task force on how we can be more innovative on campus.” In addition, he stated that fostering Loyola’s presence at Port Covington, a waterfront region of South Baltimore that is currently being developed for the new headquarters of Under Armour, will be advantageous for the Universities future.

Linnane then moved on to the second topic of the address, the expected changes to the core requirements for undergraduate students. In an effort to keep the undergraduate student body energized and learning in a relevant manner, Linnane stated that core requirements will be altered.

These alterations are broken into five changes. The changes include shifting to one discipline-based core,  implementing a secondary field, reducing the core so that a second core can be required, altering Messina obligations, and finally, exploring the idea of additional interdisciplinary work. This last change would lead to reconsideration of math and language requirements in order to accommodate these additions. More information about the alterations to the core will be coming out periodically in the coming weeks.

Addressing how Loyola can continue to be an inclusive community for every race, ethnicity, and nationality, Linnane emphasized the implementation of racial justice training for students and staff on campus. He described his own experience participating in a racial justice action workshop with members of his cabinet. He remarked that although conversations about race and racial injustice may be difficult, they are essential.

He also acknowledged our international community and their importance to our campus life. Speaking on our presence in Baltimore, he included it is important that we use our resources to ensure that we are caring for and interacting with members of our larger Baltimore community.

Apart from community-based service projects such as the York Road Initiative, there is now a $105,000 grant to strengthen the Govans community. This grant is a part of a 10-year operational plan that will improve the lives of those living and working in Govans and adjacent areas.

Linnane closed this year’s address with a personal anecdote about his experience with a Loyola alum named Greg. Greg, who was commissioned as an officer through Loyola’s ROTC program, met Linnane on a flight from Baltimore to Boston, where he grew up. While Greg was stationed overseas, an IED exploded, causing him to lose sections of his leg above his knees, as well as his arm.

“Greg wished to attend medical school, but had many pre-requisites left to do, as well as concerns about his personal life, after just breaking up with his girlfriend,” Linnane said. “He is now a medical student at Harvard, as well as engaged to be married.”

These remarkable life achievements that were made in spite of physical, emotional, and academic challenges demonstrate to us all that, no matter our circumstances, we must always remember we have a strong community around us that is capable of bringing us wherever it is we wish to go, and if we have faith, we can achieve anything.

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State of University Address forecasts changes to budget, core, inclusivity