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State of the University, 2005-2006

Duquesne University Seal - SmallCharles J. Dougherty, Ph.D.
President, Duquesne University
September 8, 2006


This has been a year of significant achievement for our University, our schools, and all our divisions.  Before I touch on some of the highlights, let me thank each of you for your efforts last year on behalf of Duquesne University and the students we serve.  The commitment of each of us to bring excellence to all we do is the basis on which extraordinary achievements are realized.

In the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, faculty published nineteen books last year, 101 articles in scholarly journals and 36 book chapters.  The College also received more than a third of a million dollars in grant funding.  The new Department of Journalism and Multimedia Arts had a first successful year.  A Film Studies concentration was added.  An exciting new residential learning communities program for all college freshmen was launched and has received very positive reviews.  The College was responsible for two nationally significant events.  They hosted a Symposium on Faith and Politics and held the first of an annual Holy Spirit Lecture and Colloquium.  Clergy day was restored.  Three new publications were issued: Impressions from the College as a whole, Grammata by psychology students, and Lexicon, a literary journal.  The College also assembled an impressive Advisory Board of leading alumni that will surely enhance the reputation of the College and increase its resources.

The Palumbo School of Business and Donahue Graduate School completed an exciting strategic planning process that resulted in a commitment to developing “destination quality programs.”  The student-run asset management group finished third of nineteen schools in 2005 with a nearly 12% return on their investments.  Working with SLaPA, a new masters in sports leadership began with an enrollment far exceeding expectations. The  School of Business worked with Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh on a supply chain project with funding from the Doyle Center and the Department of Defense.  We completed our offering of the MBA program in Cranberry, graduating our first class in May.  The Beard Center for Ethics Leadership hosted a number of events that involved hundreds of attendees from area businesses.

Our School of Nursing established nurse-managed wellness centers in six senior community centers in the Southside, North side, Homewood, Mt. Washington, Hazelwood and Greenfield, as well as in four senior high-rises.  Our new undergraduate nursing curriculum also went into area communities.  Sophomore nursing students began providing community care in five city neighborhoods: East Liberty, McKees Rocks, Southside, Homewood, and the Hill District.  We saw a significant increase in numbers in our undergraduate program last year.  The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation awarded our Nursing School over $200,000 in scholarships and grants for nursing education last year.  Our faculty gave 32 invited presentations and published eighteen scholarly articles. A comprehensive self-study was completed for their upcoming reaccreditation.

Our School of Education earned accreditation from NCATE, the national council for accreditation of teacher education.  The Counselor Education Program received approval to offer a Ph.D.  Our school was accepted into the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions, bringing us into an elite group of American universities.  School education faculty members published five books, edited six major scholarly journals, presented 109 conference papers and authored 59 scholarly articles and 19 book chapters.

The Mylan School of Pharmacy initiated the only Pharm D. weekend program in the nation.  The School began a service learning program that has delivered information about chemical dependency to hundreds of elementary, middle and high schools in the Pittsburgh region.  The School’s Center for Pharmacy Care programs screened more than 6700 individuals for health conditions.  The Spirit of Health van brought wellness programs into underserved areas throughout Pittsburgh.  Extramural funding in the School was in excess of half a million dollars last year.  Our graduate and research programs in the School were recognized by U.S. News and World Report as ranked among the top 40 programs in the nation.  The School itself was ranked in the top four private schools of pharmacy for National Institutes of Health grant funding.  And once again School graduates had a 100% placement record.

The School of Law had record enrollments for their summer program in Beijing, China and enrollment in the summer program in Rome more than doubled.  Last year a reception was held to honor Duquesne law alumni who are judges.  Our law school alumni hold more judicial positions in the Commonwealth than those of any other Pennsylvania law school. Our students placed second in a 33 school national tournament in trial advocacy. Forty of the nation’s top legal, scientific and policy experts joined us for “Justice for All,” a national symposium on the role of forensic science that attracted more than 200 registrants.

The Mary Pappert School of Music began the Brahms on the Bluff series last year. Faculty from the School performed at the Smithsonian in Washington DC and in New York City’s Lincoln Center.  The Duquesne Choral Organization’s celebrated Advent in Saint Paul’s Cathedral with Oh, Come All Ye Faithful, our first Christmas concert off campus and open to the public. The Music Education department had an audience of more than 2000 local elementary students in one of Carnegie Hall’s Communities Link Up! concert series.

In the Rangos School of Health Sciences, faculty submitted grant applications for more that a quarter of a million dollars.  They published 42 refereed articles, one edited book, and five book chapters.  Faculty gave more than 80 scholarly presentations. We received word last year that a study conducted by Florida State University ranked our Department of Athletic Training fourth in the country out of 325 accredited programs.  And a remarkable collaboration has resulted in a new five-year program that will lead to a B.A. in psychology, a B.S. in health sciences and an MS in occupational therapy.

The Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences received a grant of $1.3m from the National Institutes of Health for a health literacy project.  Faculty in the School received more than 2.1 million in grants during the year to support their scientific research. More than 70 research papers were published in peer reviewed scientific journals and 78 research presentations were given at professional meetings. The school produced its first spin-off technology company, Applied Isotope Technologies. And the Bayer School hosted another stimulating public lecture on evolution.

The School of Leadership and Professional Advancement’s online programs grew to more than 450 students last year including a large increase in the number of military service students. SLaPA’s new Animal Care and Control Program received the first place award in the 2006 Circle of Excellence awards from the Maryland Society of Association Executives.  Boards by Design placed 106 individuals on non-profit boards. More than 350 nonprofit agencies and more than 1000 individuals are now registered with this community service.

The Gumberg Library identified and dedicated space for our new center for Spiritans Studies and renovated a number of our special collections, including the Silverman Phenomenology Center.  Research support increased in the library. There are now more than 19,000 electronic full text journals.

In Academic Affairs, our faculty designed and approved the first major revision of our core curriculum since 1988. A revised faculty handbook was implemented. A process of graduate program review began in earnest.  And the design document prepared for our Middle States’ Self Study was approved by our accrediting body.

Our Office of Admissions continues to bring us large numbers of exceptionally able undergraduate students.  Their efforts last year brought us today’s biggest freshman class in 3 years, joining the two before it as the five biggest incoming classes of freshmen and transfers in our history.  Perhaps the most dramatic improvement lies in selectivity.  We have moved from a perilous 96% acceptance rate in 2001 to a safer and more appropriate 75% for this fall.  Another dramatic statistic involves requests for housing. Ninety-one percent of our new freshmen have chosen to live on campus.

In our Student Life Division, the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct underwent major revisions. 90% of our minority students were retained from spring 05  to fall 06. The retention rate for freshmen commuters between fall 05 and spring 06 was 94%.  Our Student Life electronic newsletter Bluff Stuff received an award from the Public Relations Society of America.  Our 2005 orientation program won an Outstanding Welcome Week Award from the National Orientation Directors Association.  For the first time, we conducted job fairs focused on students in the McAnulty College, Palumbo School of Business, and the Bayer School of Natural Sciences.  The Division conceptualized and held the first annual Duquesne University Ring Blessing Ceremony last March.

In the division of University Advancement, the quiet phase of our capital campaign is gaining momentum with many recent significant gifts. These include major gifts from the PNC Foundation and from the McCune Foundation, as well as a new endowed chair named for Jack Geltz that we will inaugurate in a few moments. We raised more than $3 million in annual support from over 23,000 alumni and friends. We set a new record in our telefund appeal raising well more than half a million dollars over the phone.   This surpassed the previous year’s record by 17% in dollars and 9% in donors. Our faculty and staff campaign also set a new record with over $1.3 million raised from more than a thousand of us.  Giving from Duquesne Society members increased by 37% in dollars and 33% in donors.  Alumni Relations conducted a strategic planning process and we hired a new director.  University events began sponsoring a popular monthly meeting of employees based on zip codes proximity. Newspaper coverage highlighting Duquesne increased more than two fold last year.  Our TV image commercials were well received by the public and we earned twelve national and regional awards for publications and advertising design.

The Division of Management and Business implemented a new hire orientation program that served 73 people in its first year.  We stopped accepting credit cards for student bills and introduced electronic billing.  This change saved the University nearly half a million dollars. The Division is taking the lead in our ERP Banner conversion.  Over 75 dedicated staff across the University are putting in considerable extra effort to insure that our new web-based systems work effectively for all of us.  This Division is also responsible for all the planning and coordination of our Forbes Ave. project and other campus improvements.

In addition to their stellar work in spiritual advising, liturgy, and student organizing, Spiritan Campus Ministry last year worked with 400 students, faculty, and staff and hundred of community members from the Hill District and Southside in this year’s spring cleanup. Presentations on mission and identity have been added to all new faculty and new employee orientation. The Office of Mission and Identity also took the lead last year in ensuring that our conversation about a gay-straight alliance on campus was faithful to our Catholic and Spiritan identity and advanced our mission.

In Athletics last year, we hired a promising new basketball coach and completed a major renovation of the Palumbo Center. Our men’s cross country team captured our first ever Atlantic Ten championship in that sport and our first A10 title in any sport since 1976. Our football team won its seventh straight MAAC conference championship.  The team now has the nation's longest current NCAA Division I conference winning streak and the third longest winning streak in conference play in the history of division I football. The men’s soccer team claimed a portion of its third straight Atlantic Ten regular season title. Our women’s soccer team qualified for the A10 tournament for the first time in our history.

As you know, there have been dramatic changes to our campus. Work on our new recreation center began in earnest last year.  A spectacular pedestrian bridge and steeple give us a dramatic front door on Forbes Avenue and a new signature piece for the University.  The height of the bridge provides a sense of how large the new building will be, since the bridge will enter its top floor.  When complete in late 2007 or early 2008, new retail will revitalize Forbes Ave, beautiful new social space for events will be available, and we will have a state-of-the-art recreational facility.  This will be a major enhancement of life on campus and a plus for recruiting students for years to come.

We were finally able to take possession of the unsightly parking structure across the street from Brottier. As you know, parking there was public; it was not University parking.  The structure itself was in a deteriorated condition.  Therefore, it has been removed.  In its place we are creating Brottier Commons, a green space for the residents of Brottier and for all of us.  In addition to beautifying this end of campus, Brottier Commons will create an attractive first impression for those entering campus on McAnulty Drive.

Last semester he had the good fortune to host a museum-quality exhibit, “A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People.” The exhibit created a moving experience for nearly seven thousand visitors, many of whom had never visited our campus.  “Blessing” was both a painful reminder of the past and a moment of hope for the future.  It also created several opportunities to celebrate the many important contributions that Jews have made and our making to the success of this Catholic university.

Last year, the University played a leading role in economic development by putting together an application for a KIZ, a Keystone Innovation Zone that stretches through Uptown, the Hill District, Downtown and across two rivers to both the North side and Southside. Working with the Hill House, we created a partnership of fifteen institutions, including three other universities, to establish what will be a major incentive for the development of the biotechnology industry in Pittsburgh. It will also create new opportunities for our own faculty to engage their expertise with start-up companies and to begin their own.  Finally, we hope the KIZ’s economic incentives will enliven and improve our neighborhood.

These are some of the achievements of last year.  We do these things because of who we are and what we are committed to.  These accomplishments follow from our identity and our mission, so let me reflect on them with you.

As individuals, we are people of many faiths, many religions.  This diversity is a strength that we draw on regularly.  We welcome all and partner with all who want to be a part of who we are.  But clearly, who we are is more than what we are as individuals.  As Duquesne University, we have an identity as Catholic and Spiritan.

Our Catholic identity obliges us to put faith at the center of what we do, with the confidence that both faith and reason are two paths to the same truth.  It gives us a freedom to express our faith—and to reverence other faiths--in ways that are increasingly difficult in secular settings.  At the same time, it gives us substantive insights into the value of life and its meaning that must guide our institutional choices. Chief among these insights are the commands to love God and neighbor and to respect the dignity of persons.  These are times of great change in American culture, in higher education, and in the Catholic Church.  Because this is so, it is not always clear what our Catholic identity requires of us.  Therefore, we must approach issues here with dialogue, reflection, and mutual respect.  But we can never ignore questions that touch our identity. Ultimately, this is a matter of being true to ourselves.

Our Spiritan inheritance shapes our Catholic identity.  From their founding in 1703 to this day, Spiritans are working around the world—in 66 nations on five continents--on behalf of the poor, for the prevention and resolution of conflict, and to foster ecumenism and interfaith dialogue.  They run parishes, schools, orphanages, work in refugee camps, and foster self-help and economic development.  Their commitment to Pittsburgh in the late nineteenth century was motivated by the desire to lift immigrants out of poverty through education.  Now Duquesne University is a major resource for the work of the Spiritans and we should become more and more intentional about that relationship.  We can contribute to Spiritan works across the globe in ways that foster our own research projects and create international service opportunities for ourselves and our students.  The more we identify ourselves with the worldwide work of the Spiritans, the more truly distinctive we become as a University.

Let me touch on an important subject for our Catholic and Spiritan identity.  Both the Catholic faith and the Spiritan mission are worldwide, embracing every race and nation.  We can do no less at Duquesne.  Diversity in our faculty and staff and among our students is an expression of who we are.  Recent court rulings have made it more difficult for us to achieve diversity in hiring and in recruiting, but I ask you to use every legal means to do so.  We need more women in leadership positions, and a greater presence of African, Asian, and Hispanic Americans.  International linkages are strong and growing and this is to be encouraged as well.

This is who we are: a Catholic and Spiritan University.  Regardless of our own particular faith, we are each obliged to respect our common identity.

Our mission flows from our identity and we are all called to advance that mission in our own work in our own ways.  The mission has five pillars: academic excellence, moral and spiritual values, an ecumenical atmosphere, a spirit of service, and world concerns.  Regardless of the role we play at Duquesne, each of us can find an aspect of this mission to enhance.

Everyone in academic affairs has a straightforward link to our mission in academic excellence.  The student body is more talented than ever before.  The faculty is the best it has ever been.  These are the main ingredients for academic excellence.  Rank and tenure standards reinforce this commitment, demanding excellence in teaching or research for tenure and excellence in both for the rank of professor.  Academic support services make excellence in teaching and research possible.  Less direct but equally real is the importance of support from the other divisions for academic excellence.  Student Life, Advancement, and Business and Management provide the environment and resources we need for academic excellence.

The second pillar is a commitment to moral and spiritual values.  I am grateful to the faculty for the significant advance we made in this arena with the approval of the Core Curriculum revision.  Now all undergraduates will take an ethics course and a course in faith and reason. Outside the classroom, moral and spiritual values must shape our decision-making and our relationships with one another.  Work at Duquesne should be personally fulfilling, professionally performed, and economically efficient.  But it must also be more.  Work at Duquesne must reinforce our moral and spiritual values.  I ask all our supervisors the bear this point in mind. I believe that we do a good job of this at present, but on such an important matter we can always do better.

Third is our dedication to creating and maintaining an ecumenical atmosphere.  In the narrow sense, ecumenism refers to unity among Christians.  There is a strong presence on campus of Orthodox Christians and members of Protestant denominations.  They enrich our community.  The wider suggestion of ecumenism is interfaith dialogue and respect.  Jews have had a long affirmative history at Duquesne.  More recently, we have welcomed large numbers of Muslims.  It is important to the University that we emphasize the common descent of these three great religions from Abraham.  The numbers of Hindus and Buddhists with us have grown too.  Our view is and must be that all these major religions pray to the same God and because of this we are all brothers and sisters.

We have attained a distinctive spirit of service on campus.  Our long success with student volunteering through DUV and Spiritan Campus Ministry is legendary.  Now we have added a new emphasis on service learning.  Our faculty members demonstrate their spirit of service in their commitment to our students and to their many research projects that are clearly motivated by an intent to serve others.  Our staff display this spirit in the caring manner in which they serve students, faculty, and one another.  I cannot count the many times visitors to our campus have remarked positively about the spirit of service that they encounter at Duquesne.  This is an important collective achievement that we must continue to nourish.

Finally, our mission commits us to concern for the world.  Again, we have added renewed stress here in the new Core Curriculum.  Increasingly large numbers of our students study abroad, particularly at our Rome campus.  We also attract large numbers of international students.  Partnerships with other universities around the world have increased.  It is clearer than ever before that all aspects of our lives, economy, and culture are shaped by events in other nations. It is also clearer to more and more Americans that the stark international disproportions in peoples’ resources and opportunities are not only unjust; they are also dangerous.  We have the ability to help make positive changes here and we must.

With your indulgence, I will end on a personal note.  Last August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption, I marked the completion of my fifth year at Duquesne as your president.  From my first day to this day, you the Duquesne community have given me support and affection beyond anything I could have expected or hoped for.  I thank you for this grace and hospitality.

We are a complex city of teachers and learners, researchers and advisors, builders and rebuilders.  Thank God’s Holy Spirit that we have the resources to do these things with excellence.  But we never have the resources to do all that our creative selves propose.  It falls to our leadership, and sometimes to me, to choose what can be done from all that should be done.  I want you to know that I deeply appreciate the efforts each of you makes to attain excellence without all that you ask for and need.

Your good will, mutual support, and love of Duquesne are the ultimate, inexhaustible resources that make all that we do possible.  I thank you for this generous, selfless spirit.  It is a spirit that gives life to our campus.  And I thank you for the honor of being a small part of the great University that we are creating together.