“Alvernia’s progress since that time five years ago has been remarkable by any measure.”
facilities in the Franco Library Learning Center, Bernardine Hall, Francis Hall, and at the Philadelphia and Schuylkill centers. These serve to complement expansion of student residences including development of Founder’s Village, which features four large apartment-style buildings (two that will open this September). Gains in undergraduate enrollment and improvements in the academic profile and diversity of incoming students have followed, and the success of the Values & Vision campaign has helped provide necessary resources. A vibrant arts and culture program has also emerged, enhanced by the addition of the Miller Gallery and renovated Francis Hall Theater and Recital Hall as well as new rehearsal spaces. And a spectacular new campus-side entryway to Francis Hall has transformed a timeless campus treasure into a contemporary jewel for the university’s future. Most importantly, significant investments have been made to expand the faculty and strengthen academic programs. The faculty has grown from 55 in 2001 to 104 in 2012, with 19 additional professors hired in the last five years in areas such as theology, vocal music, business, psychology, philosophy, nursing and occupational therapy, serving to broaden academic offerings for students. Faculty members scholarly work and other professional contributions have been greatly enhanced by a new grants program and other sources of support. This progress is even more noteworthy because it happened during one of the most dramatic economic collapses in our nation’s history. And it has been followed by a period of uncertainty that has caused many organizations — for-profits and non-profits alike — to struggle. And so, while many other organizations stagnated
or declined, Alvernia was making what President Tom Flynn described modestly as “prudent progress.” Mindful of the economic conditions and Alvernia’s considerable momentum as well as the approaching midpoint of Phase I of the strategic plan, President Flynn made a timely, forward-looking decision. Early in 2010 he called for a process both to reassess the changing landscape of private higher education and also to update the university’s direction for the remaining years of the plan (2011-2018). Just a few months ago, in December of 2011, following an intensive process of campus-wide deliberations, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved an updated strategic plan. It is a stronger and better-focused plan that identifies key goals and articulates aspirations for the university’s future. Dr. Flynn and Board Chair Joanne Judge recently sat down to discuss several key aspects of Alvernia’s progress, updated plans, challenges and vision for its future.