By: Hussein Ali Rifath
The current strategic plan of Adelphi University, Momentum 2, also known as M2, was approved by the University Board of Trustees in its June 2022 meeting. This plan, created with feedback from over 1,700 students, faculty, staff and alumni, is setting the course of the university’s progression for the next five years.
“Launching Momentum 2 was a defining achievement for Adelphi," said President Christine M. Riordan, Ph.D. "Our community came together to create ambitious goals for our future that embrace every voice on campus. I'm so proud of our teamwork and the progress we're already making as Adelphi's impact continues to grow."
According to Marsha Darling, PhD, special assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives in Executive Leadership, student engagement in the planning phase for M2 was a high priority, as students were provided with an informational website and access to a dedicated email address where she composed personalized responses to each email message.
“President Riordan and the executive leadership team believed very strongly that one of the most important priorities of the planning phase for Momentum 2 was the scheduling of many opportunities to involve all members of the Adelphi community in discussions regarding the goals and initiatives that comprise the plan,” she said. “To that end, a total of 1,400 students, faculty and staff participated in planning phase forums in fall 2021, and another 390 students, faculty, staff and alumni stakeholders participated in the three town hall meetings that were convened in early April 2022; bringing the total number of engaged participants to 1,790 Panthers.”
Darling said that M2 has three main goals approved by the Board of Trustees in June 2022. They are listed on Adelphi's public-facing websites and are each under active development.
The first goal is for the university to achieve academic distinction in the four core course areas: Arts and Humanities (including Performing Arts), STEM (including both Applied and Social Sciences), Business and Education and Wellness and Social Work. Adelphi seeks to support and encourage faculty and student creative pursuits, interdisciplinary studies and the study of global issues through the expansion and improvement of academic programming.
The second goal is to create a more welcoming, inclusive and connected community by improving the Adelphi student experience while retaining and expanding diversity in students and faculty.
The third goal is to create smart growth and infrastructure. For example, the university intends to use data analytics to make informed decisions. It aims to expand the recruitment of first-generation students and create quality online programming. It also seeks to modernize its facilities while maintaining a commitment to sustainability.
“I think that’s a step in the right direction to empower students if their parents didn’t go to college but they want to go and get an education for themselves,” said Andew Zhang, a senior biology major. “There’s different paths to become successful nowadays, but one of the traditional paths is to get an education.”
This semester, in accordance with these goals, the plan saw its first phase of implementation. As a result, the university has experienced various improvements on campus this term. The new One-Stop Student Services Center sits in the basement of Levermore Hall, ready to provide students access to financial and registrar services. The newly-inaugurated Center for Innovation, located on the first floor of Swirbul Library, provides students with professional experience and connects them with internships. New Multicultural and Mindfulness Centers were opened on the third floor of the University Center.
Melanie Gomez, a senior exercise science major, said she enjoys visiting the Multicultural Center. “The bean bag chairs are my favorite,” she said.
Additionally, the University Bookstore, located on the first floor of the University Center, has diversified its merchandise. This has met an underwhelming response from some students. “I didn’t even know that there was a new catalog to be honest,” said Zhang.
University Dining Services worked with the Student Government Association, Residential Student Association, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Commuter Student Organization to improve its operations. This year saw the introduction of the Dine + Connect Opt-Out meal plan for first-year commuter students, which gives them $250 Panther dollars for use in on-campus dining. Gomez appreciated this. “They didn’t have that during my freshman year. It would’ve been helpful … freshmen don’t tend to know how much they’ll spend and it’s good that they can now budget,” she said.
The university continues to find ways to be involved with the greater community. For example, the Artivism Club, student athletes and a variety of other student-run organizations have worked to offer community service both on and off campus.
This fall, students, staff and faculty began to receive emails from Insider, Adelphi’s new weekly e-newsletter designed to promote events and other opportunities on campus and to communicate deadlines. In addition, the university has launched a new brand campaign and is redesigning its website.
Further, among the new additions to Adelphi’s academic programming are an MS in Computer Science and a certificate program in Museum Studies.
“I like the Masters in Comp. Sci. It’s a big field and a lot of people are trying to get into it–a lot of opportunities there. It’s going to attract a lot of applicants, I think,” Zhang said. The MFA in Creative Writing program at Adelphi will soon shift from a four-year to a two-year residency model.
The university has worked to increase student opportunity by establishing the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works, which aids students in pursuing undergraduate research and other creative endeavors. It hosts an annual Scholarship and Creative Works Conference in the spring to highlight student work.
Darling said that’s because the university strives to bring recognition to student achievement. “Adelphi's executive leadership is always seeking to elevate the attention given to student academic achievement and student success,” she said.
Adelphi continues to champion diversity. It is on track to earn a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award next year, as it has for the past five years. It is on the cusp of achieving 25 percent Hispanic enrollment, which would earn its official designation as a Hispanic-serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education.
Panthers can continue to expect to see change and improvement in Adelphi as the school year progresses.
“Many other initiatives are underway relating to enhancing student resources, administrative functions, public safety, enrollment, fundraising, corporate partnerships, alumni and community engagement,” said Bobbie Dell'Aquilo, chief communications officer of University Communications and Marketing.
Progress in the implementation of Momentum 2 continues to be reviewed by the university administration and the Board of Trustees, while students also weigh in. Gomez approves of the changes she has seen thus far. “It is a step in the right direction,” she said.