President Nowaczyk Addresses Campus Community in First Convocation
President Ronald Nowaczyk held the annual fall convocation on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. President Nowaczyk addressed students, faculty, and staff in the Performing Arts Center at Frostburg State University in the Pealer Recital Hall. The fall convocation is held at the beginning of each school year and is open to the public. It’s a chance for campus updates and concerns to be recognized before the school year is in full swing. President Nowaczyk discussed strategies to not only improve the university, but also campus life holistically. A few of the topics and goals he discussed included updating facilities such as residence halls and academic buildings, college affordability, experiential learning, and transparent communication.
During his speech ,President Nowaczyk acknowledged that many campus facilities are in need of maintenance, and that some have been put off to balance the university’s budget. He later stated, “We recognize that this is not a sustainable approach. Vice President Rose emphasized the importance for us to address our deferred maintenance.” In light of this, President Nowaczyk has expressed the need for significant improvement of Frostburg State University’s facilities and grounds to the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland for this fiscal year. It is expected that the university will set aside a certain percent of the budget to go directly towards improvements on-campus. Nowaczyk also noted the recent enhancements to athletic teams’ locker rooms at Bobcat Stadium. A plan is in place to further improve each both the home and visiting team locker-rooms. In addition to discussing maintenance of current facilities, President Nowaczyk discussed new on-campus facilities, citing the new public safety building (under construction), a new health and sciences building with an anticipated start date of 2018, and a residence hall that is slated for occupancy by 2021.
Affordability for students, including traditional, transfers, and non-traditional students, was also a key topic of the address. President Nowaczyk discussed the U.S Department of Education’s “College Scorecard,” an online system aimed at matching students with colleges and universities based on values, affordability, graduate preparedness. In regards to affordability, the Economist rated FSU no. 101 out of 1,275 four-year schools for enhancing graduates earning potential significantly more than that expected from similar rural institutions; this puts FSU in the top eight percent of 1,275 schools. Additionally, Money Magazine included FSU on its list of America’s 705 best valued colleges this year while Lend Edu, a student loan comparison company, ranked FSU 113 amongst all four-year public colleges and universities, and 227 among public and private schools combined in terms of lowest average student debt.
President Nowaczyk spoke about communication throughout his speech, advocating a level of transparency between students and administration. In order to achieve this, he plans to continue sending regular campus-wide emails including update reports about what is happening at FSU. Moreover, Nowaczyk would also like to build a better relationship between Frostburg State and the town and community of Frostburg. Although he strongly emphasized that “we’re not a bank” and would not take state funds or student tuition to stimulate the regional economy directly, he is hopeful that the college and the town can agree to some form of partnership in order to form a more enhanced symbiotic relationship.