Fairmont State University – 2018 State of the Institution

Fairmont State University – 2018 State of the Institution

November 19, 2019 0 By Kody Olson


*applause* Good morning, everyone. I am so very pleased to see so many of you here. Some I’ve gotten to know over the past 6 weeks. Some that I met this morning and so many others that I look forward to meeting for the first time. It’s an honor to be here as a member of the Falcon Family and to have the privilege to lead Fairmont State University as your new President. I’d like to begin by saying “thank you.” Thank you for what you have done. Thank you for what you do. The success of this university is in your hands. The success of this university is in our hands. I am so excited about the possibilities I have encountered so far so, let me begin this morning by sharing with you
why I came to Fairmont State University. I came here because I firmly believe in the mission of this outstanding university. We are, at our core, a university dedicated
to student success. Our number one job, our number one prority, is to educate and graduate the next generation of citizen leaders and to prepare them for the jobs and challenges of today and to prepare them for unimagined jobs, for those jobs and challenges that do not yet exist. I came here because I believe there are tremendous opportunities at Fairmont State Opportunities to transform the lives and livelihoods of our students, our community, our state, and our nation. And most of all, I came here because of you. Because I believe in your talent. Because I believe in your intellect. Because I believe and I see the passion with which you do everything here at Fairmont State University. I am excited because of what has already built here. Fairmont State has the capability, the programs, the heart, and the desire to be what West Virginia needs us to be and what our students and industry are counting on us to be. We are on the cusp of an exciting new era for our state and for our region. I have faith Fairmont State University will lead the path forward. This university is awakening from a period of uncertainty. A shift in perspective fills the air with aspirations of what we can achieve together. I can feel it. I can hear it in our conversations. It is a sense of renewed hope; of great daring for a better tomorrow. The success of this vision depends totally on us and what we do starting right here, right now, today. We must be the architects of our own future. Fairmont State University will focus on three major goals: enrollment growth, retention and fundraising. To achieve our potential, we need to act expeditiously and strategically. The race we begin now is both a sprint to short term goals, and a marathon toward a sustainable and impactful future. We must act now to make Fairmont State University the first-choice institution for all who seek an excellent, accessible, and affordable first quality education; regardless of age or circumstance. We must embody, at every level, the ambitions of our students and those in the communities we serve. The time is now to get our soil to grow right, and grow we will, and grow we must! We must build up a sustainable environment that allows our students to thrive and graduate, and one that maximizes our resources. We must build up an environment that serves our communities and leads our graduates to meaningful careers and a better quality of life. We must outperform expectations and run full speed through every milepost that we find along our journey. I know that together, as the Falcon family, we can do this and much, much more! In the coming days, you will be hearing from your deans and your direct supervisors about new strategies to increase our conversion rate from accepted students to enrolled students. I realize that many of you are already wearing multiple hats but I need your help. I need you to be my pit crew. To work together as a team and do what needs to be done to ensure that this institution grows and never loses ground. Our university needs your help to tell our story. We need you to show prospective Falcons and their families that we are a caring, nurturing family. We need you to articulate what is magic and unique about this place we call home. We need each of you to be less humble about our programs of distinction and our people of excellence. I ask you to make it a part of your daily routine to speak about Fairmont State University. We have compiled a “did you know” fact sheet that will help you and it’s going up on our website very soon. We need to go forward with a strong, clear, and exciting message, one that will make Fairmont State University a household name throughout our state and our nation. When we all pull together, the light at the end of the tunnel will not be an oncoming train it will be the light of success. And we will all share in that success by growing our programs; by ensuring their sustainability; by becoming nimbler, by becoming more efficient, and creating strategies to provide you with well-earned raises. We have set an enrollment goal for August 2018 of an 8% increase over our 2016 numbers. I have spent the past 6 weeks listening to many of you, to our students, our alumni, and our community and we have already implemented many of your suggestions. They have already yielded significant success. For example, compared to this time last year:
• More inquiries are resulting in applications, • Conversion rate is up 9 percentage points
• Total number of inquiries are up 2% • Total number of applications are up 30%
• Total number of admitted students are up 25% In short, admissions are up across all groups. • First-time admissions are up 23%
• Transfer admissions are up 28%
• Other admissions are up 56%. We are poised for success. We need your help. The task now is to turn those acceptances into enrollments. In other words, to get them here. To get our students here. We can, and we will do that and much more. It will take all of us, and I mean all of us, to get the job done. The enrollment goal is not only achievable, I believe we can exceed it. I will be at your side, sleeves rolled up, and ready to do the work that will take us from good to great and from great to extraordinary. Many of you have already heard me say “I need to know what I don’t want to hear…” and I mean it. It’s the only way we can enact solutions. We want to hear more of your suggestions.
So, please keep them coming. The one thing that is constant in today’s society is change. We must adapt to meet the changes and needs of the 21st century student, the needs of industry. Under the leadership of the provost and the deans, the faculty is developing new programs and new minors to meet the needs of our industry partners and those of our state. Fairmont State University will become the provider of choice for an educated, in demand workforce for West Virginia and for our nation. We will also examine how to become more efficient in our processes and in our structure while delivering a first class education. We will work hard to ensure that the next generation of leaders has affordable access to your wisdom, and that they are provided with the skills they need to live their dreams. To live their American dream. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been hunkered down far too long in the face of a vexing headwind. It is now our time to take flight and spread the word of an exciting new chapter at Fairmont State University. This is OUR time to soar. So onward and upward!
Let the Falcons soar! Thank you for being here this morning. *applause*