2021 President’s Report
Dr. Ajay Nair, Ph.D., President
Our Future State
The 2020-2021 academic year brought with it challenges—some that we had anticipated and planned for, and others that necessitated flexibility and innovation.
What we may not have fully anticipated, though, was how rewarding and fulfilling the academic year would have been, and the successes that 2020-21 yielded.
The past year has brought more clearly into focus the future state of Arcadia University. It will help to propel us through our Adaptive Strategy, remain innovative and adaptive, and move more quickly than the world around us.
The future state of Arcadia University will showcase our community’s innovation, continue to expand our global perspective both at home and around the world, and will embrace the JEDI and ABRI efforts that align with our lived values and mission. What will remain as true to our core as it ever did is our strategic and values-based approach to decision making, which will keep us on a path that places student success at the center of all we do.
BY THE NUMBERS
At a Glance
Ranking nationally for study abroad participation by Institute of International Education
PA program’s national ranking
Top 10% for our Department of Physical Therapy
Anti-Black Racism Initiatives developed by the University community
Health and safety messages and COVID updates delivered to the University community during 2020-2021 academic year
Top 25% of Regional Universities by U.S. News and World Report
Our Vision, Our Dream,
Arcadia University’s pioneering, global, integrated, liberal arts, and professional learning experience cultivates leaders who are intellectually fearless and uniquely prepared for life and work. Our highly regarded, values-based learning community reflects the world in which we want to live.
A Community of Practice
With an understanding of the major disruptions that are occurring within higher education, we have built a community of practice to enable and articulate our shared passions and commitments. We began the paradigm shift in our community by building a shared agenda through our mission, vision, values, and strategic themes.
Always Guided by Our Mission
Arcadia University provides a distinctively global, integrative, and personal learning experience for intellectually curious undergraduate and graduate students in preparation for a life of scholarship, service, and professional contribution.
The senior Capstone experience, conducted in a hybrid format, allowed students to showcase their work on a variety of topics, including on mental health in Black communities and how climate change is affecting forests. Also, Arcadia students researched and produced projects relevant to local and global communities.
Alejandro Lopez ‘24
Politics, Government and Law major
Civic Scholar Alejandro Lopez ’24 was a speaker at the March for Our Lives in Philadelphia event in March, sharing the stage with Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey Jr., Philadelphia City Council members, and other active political speakers. As part of the Civic Scholars program, Lopez is advancing his advocacy and activism skills. The program is designed for Arcadia University students who are interested and passionate about driving social change.
Jill Shaughnessy ’22
Jill Shaughnessy may not have been able to study abroad in the spring semester because of COVID, but through The College of Global Studies’ Virtual Global Internship Program, she interned with the International Network of Street Papers and published three articles that were picked up across the United States. In one piece, she explored the impact that the pandemic has had on college students and what assistance is available to them, including interviewing Arcadia student Tyanna Taylor ’21 about the Knights for Nutrition Food Pantry. “You make great connections and it gives you a global perspective,” said Shaughnessy. “I’ve been learning about so many different countries. It’s more than just an internship.”
India Knight ’21
After graduating, Education major India Knight made the move from Phoenixville, Pa., to Bethel, Alaska, to work as an elementary special education teacher. India served as a LOVE Pilot peer mentor, hosted Open Improv Nights for students, and acted in two off-campus online play festivals.
In her Honors Convocation address, India talked about the power of presence: “Being in the present moment has taught me a couple of things: It has taught me to be a better student, a better teacher, a better activist, and a better friend. These moments of presence can affect who you are, and what you stand for, and how you grow. You can choose to be present or not—I encourage you to take back your presence.”
Daijah Patton ’22
Because Arcadia blogger Daijah Patton, a member of the leadership team that developed Arcadia’s Social Action & Justice Education (SAJE) Fellowship, mentored three of this year’s fellows—helping them adjust to their coursework, sharing academic and social opportunities, and discussing the importance of diversity in education.
“The SAJE Fellowship was a sort of call to action, to bring more students of color into the education field and to educate more students in our communities about the fulfillment of being an educator,” said Patton.
Gavin Meyers '24
Academic Excellence through Impact and Authenticity
Our faculty and staff worked hard in keeping us All-Modes Ready and flexible to provide an exceptional educational experience to our students during a challenging year. Digital Learning Services (DLS) and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring (CTLM) offered nearly 200 events during the 2020-2021 academic year for faculty and staff on All-Modes design and pedagogy. In total, 327 Arcadia faculty (or 89%) and more than 100 staff members participated in these events and sessions. In addition, course evaluations from All-Modes semesters provided telling insight into students’ perception of organization, quality, and instructor interaction, indicating that students found their All-Modes courses more organized and of equal quality as Fall 2019 (pre-pandemic).
Extraordinary Funding for Arcadia Initiatives
In addition, Arcadia faculty and staff recently brought in an additional $2,168,683 million for a collaborative research grant on STEM teaching and continued support for ECE apprentices.
Global Excellence in the Arts
Arcadia Theater earned the 2021 Best of Glenside Award in the Performing Arts Theatre category. Arcadia University Theater adapted to the COVID pandemic by producing virtual performances and other mediums of innovative storytelling.
Celebrating the arts remains a staple of Arcadia University. This year, the University was proud to have Polly Apfelbaum’s artist-in-residency begin. The residency will culminate in Spring 2022 with exhibitions, public programs, and a publication, “Polly Apfelbaum: For the Love of Una Hale” that will explore identity and Pennsylvania German art and culture through the contemporary artist’s interdisciplinary practice. The project is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
In addition, Pew awarded Arcadia a $360,000 grant this year to support Sun & Sea, an opera performance that the University will stage in Philadelphia in the fall of 2021.
Social Responsibility and Impact
The first presidential message of the FY2021, sent on June 1, helped to set a tone for the academic year, to reimagine the University. We will work to transform into reality the vision of our campus communities as caring and diverse centers of learning, where all students are afforded equal access to opportunities to grow, learn, and contribute to the greater good.
Pro Bono PT Clinic Opens
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi Talks with Arcadia
Campus, Culture, and Community
Campuswide leadership and collaboration allowed the University to partially reopen for the spring 2021 semester, bringing more than 300 resident students and 700 commuter students back to campus for in-person living and learning opportunities. In May, Arcadia was proud to offer six extraordinary in-person Commencement celebrations for the 901 students in the Class of 2021, with graduates and their families gathering on Haber Green over the course of two days in socially distanced seating sections to culminate their student time at Arcadia.
Anti-Black Racism Initiatives
- Launching the Living Our Values Experience (LOVE) program for Arcadia students to explore issues of identity, racism, and systemic discrimination, and to examine their roles within society as change agents.
- Exploring individual identity, white privilege, and systemic racism through education, mentorship, and modeling behavior.
- Establishing an Enrollment Advisory Board to help recruit and matriculate a more diverse student body.
- Supporting ethnically and culturally based affinity groups alongside Alumni Engagement.
- Improving policies and practices related to hiring and retaining diverse staff and faculty and developing a Strategic Employer Relations Plan with a specific focus on underrepresented faculty and staff.
- Forming task forces with representatives from our STEM departments to support students of color by surveying them to better understand their needs, connecting them to research, and revisiting their vision statements to make them more inclusive.
- Expanding our partnerships with Black-owned businesses and vendors through Arcadia Purchasing and increasing the representation of Black-owned businesses with Career Education.
Our Cabinet members and executive leadership, including Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeff Rutenbeck, Chief Information Officer Rashmi Radhakrishnan, and Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement Brigette A. Bryant, were recognized for their expertise and as thought leaders by the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Laura Baldwin, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, was elected to the Board of the Glenside Business Foundation as Marketing Advisor, and President Nair was named a 2020 Minority Business Leader by the Philadelphia Business Journal, which recognizes the Philadelphia region’s top minority business leaders. Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance and Administration Joan Singleton continues to chair the Board of Directors of World Vision USA, a global humanitarian organization, and Rak Hall, Vice President for Enrollment Management, joined State Senator Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) on the senator’s Ask Art series for a discussion on dual enrollment. General counsel and secretary to the University, Margie Callahan, contributed an article to Temple University’s Business Law Magazine on career paths and continues to provide legal counsel to the University and support the University’s governance structure. Mary Sweeney, as Vice President of Human Resources and the Employee Experience, provided guidance for employees in keeping faculty and staff informed and apprised during this challenging time, offering wellness resources and support opportunities for all.
Appointed to Second Term
Venture Beyond Our Vision
Celebrating a year since the approval of ARCADIA2025, the University’s adaptive strategy, we are on the path we created for Arcadia’s future. I am honored with the Board of Trustees’ appointing me to a second term as president. I believe that Arcadia is uniquely positioned to build on our legacy through the adaptive strategy’s transformative work for the next five years.
Alison Aaron Madsen, Esq. ’85, chair of the Board of Trustees, 2017-2021: “From his first day at Arcadia, President Nair has shown tremendous leadership and a bold vision that will continue our University’s advance into our next chapter of distinction. The past three years have been a remarkable journey; with Ajay at the helm, we have experienced profound results building a stronger foundation and managing our most challenging situations.”
What does Arcadia look like when we achieve our vision?
Students at the Center
LEADER IN STEAM
The Arcadia University community remained #ArcadiaStrong throughout the year, showcasing its connectivity, successes, and sense of pride. From academics to athletics, from student fellows to faculty excellence, from the extraordinary to the extracurricular, community members showed their strength through a variety of social media postings.
Arcadia Theatre's 2021 Production, All's well that ends well
Arcadia Knights Abroad in South Korea
Physical Therapy Pro Bono Clinic
SAJE Fellow Emily Wingfield with 4th graders at a Horizons program
Global Cafe Opened for Spring Semester
Learning Resource Network (at Days and Knights)
Arcadia Equestrian Team
Prospective Students visiting Spring 2021
Psychology Rat Lab Testing Animal Behavior
Graphic Design in Murphy Mac Lab
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Holiday Drive for A Women's Place
Arcadia Track and Field
Class of 2021 Commencement Celebration
National Physician Assistant Week from Class of 2022
2o Years as Arcadia University
July 16, 2021 marked 20 years since Beaver College became Arcadia University. Our University community shared stories on this monumental day in our institution’s long and storied history.
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Gifts Contributed from 1,992 Donors
About the President’s Report
The 2021 President’s Report chronicles the self-renewal process of the past year. Together, we are strengthening campus leadership, pursuing high-impact opportunities, and inspiring a values-based culture. With an understanding of the major disruptions that are occurring within higher education, we have built a community of practice to enable and articulate our shared passions and commitments.
Office of the President
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