Cardinal Stritch University will be ‘reegineered’

Cardinal Stritch University announced today a plan, approved by its Board of Trustees, to “reengineer” the institution to better allocate resources and realign the school to meet the changing needs of 21st century learners, according to university president James Loftus, Ph.D.

Loftus recently began his third year as president of the 76-year-old institution and is implementing his vision for the university.

As part of a comprehensive “Visioning and Planning” process, launched by Loftus in 2011 with the assistance of a core group of about 35 faculty, staff, students and alumni, the university will:
1) Build upon the history of success in its athletic program and introduce eight new intercollegiate sports in the fall of 2013. They include men’s track and field, women’s track and field, men’s bowling, women’s bowling, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s golf and women’s golf. Plans call for the introduction of men’s and women’s lacrosse and cheerleading and dance in the coming years. Stritch’s men’s basketball team captured the NAIA Division II National Championship, the first national championship for the University, in March 2013.
2) Build upon the success of its flexible degree programs through the College of Business and Management by launching a new partnership with Riverland Community College in Minnesota on June 27 to offer classes leading to a bachelor’s degree in business. Stritch has been offering classes and awarding degrees for more than 25 years in the State of Minnesota but has not partnered previously with Riverland Community College.
3) Build infrastructure to strengthen its online program offerings. Currently, the university offers 16 online degree or certificate programs.
4) Discontinue the Associate Degree in Nursing program to focus on its bachelor’s degree program offerings. The college recently created an agreement with all 16 Wisconsin technical colleges where associate degree in nursing students receive credits that will directly transfer into the bachelor’s program at Stritch. The Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing will also offer new on-site programs in collaboration with health care partners. A new cohort of Master of Science in Nursing students will begin classes at the Veteran’s Administration in Milwaukee later this year.
5) Launch the only urban teacher residency program in the state, using the Urban Teacher Residency United (UTRU) model. Project Metro is an innovative teaching certification program specifically designed to address areas of need within Milwaukee Public Schools.
6) Launch a Student Success Center, which is designed to more holistically and efficiently meet the needs of its current and future student body. The university’s Student Life, Career Services, Academic Support, Advising, and Residence Life personnel will fall under the umbrella of the center, which will be in place for the start of the fall 2013 semester.
7) Launch an enhanced academic core curriculum that more quickly leads to completion of a 120-credit bachelor’s degree.

The board also identified the need to realign staffing levels to most effectively address the areas of enrollment and retention. To that end, a total of 24 staff positions and nine faculty positions have been eliminated in order to best align staffing with future potential for growth. Employees whose positions are being eliminated will be offered career counseling, transitional severance packages and assistance with job searches, networking and resume preparation. They will also be eligible to apply for other open positions in the university.

“It’s a difficult decision to eliminate positions as part of this re-engineering. We proceed now with compassion for our colleagues who have been affected by these reductions,” Loftus said.

The university has also sunset academic programs with limited demand in order to focus resources on areas of future growth. New programs are being introduced in such areas such as a bachelor’s degree in digital design.

“This is a time of great challenges in American higher education. Cardinal Stritch University is moving swiftly to re-engineer and adapt itself to the new realities of providing cost-effective, high quality academic offerings. We offer a purpose-focused, values-driven Catholic Franciscan education to the students we serve. I believe that our recent work, while difficult, has helped the process to reposition the university for a highly successful, mission-driven future,” Loftus said.

Cardinal Stritch University, a fully accredited Catholic institution based in Milwaukee, provides value-centered education to more than 4,600 men and women of all faiths and ages in four colleges: Arts and Sciences, Education and Leadership, Business and Management, and the Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing.

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