August 22, 2011
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Welcome Back Ceremony shines light on reasons to choose Metro State
Metropolitan State College of Denver is very popular among Colorado students attending college in the state.
“Young people are proud to say they are heading to Metro State,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock as he addressed a crowd of 300 faculty, staff and students at the College’s annual Welcome Back Ceremony this morning in the King Center.
It’s a simple yet dynamic statement packed full of meaning for employees who have worked tirelessly over the years to help Metro State reach its goal of preeminence.
It is that vision of preeminence—and his pride of all that Metro State has achieved—that formed the foundation of President Stephen Jordan’s Welcome Back speech. But he used a perhaps unconventional analogy, his passion for golf, to celebrate the College’s successes and address its challenges.
“The anticipation we face today is the same feeling I have when I am on the first tee,” Jordan explained. “I know it is going to be a challenge. I know it is going to be unpredictable. I know I am not going to like every shot I hit, and I will be thrilled with some I do actually get to the target. I might even occasionally jump for joy.”
The game of golf
Jordan said golfers look forward to playing different courses because they know each one has a different theme, with different challenges. The College’s theme is its mission statement, which is being brought to life by the new strategic plan under development. The Vision Conference, held last week, was the fourth phase in a six-phase process that will result in a new five-year strategic plan to be implemented beginning this spring.
Diversity also makes a golf course great—and it does for Metro State as well. The record-high 380 students of color in the 2011 graduating class represented a 41 percent increase over spring 2010. Jordan also said that the College is making significant progress toward achieving Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) status: While we still have 10 days to go in our official enrollment period, at this point, new student Latino enrollment is up 21 percent from 2010, when 16 percent of the student body was Latino. HSI designation requires 25 percent Latino enrollment.
Like golf, higher education institutions have a scorecard (performance standard) they use to measure their success. Jordan cited the improvement in retention rates as well as the First Year Success Program as examples of strong “scores.”
Birdies, bogies and par: A course of mixed results
Jordan explained how birdies, bogies and par could produce “mixed results.”
Birdies—or one under par—include the sooner-than-expected move-in dates for both the Student Success Building and the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, with Jordan announcing that the SSB will open March 2012 and the HLC in of June 2012. The two buildings, combined with the renovations in six existing buildings, will provide a 25 percent increase of classroom, faculty offices and labs specifically for Metro State.
Another birdie, according to Jordan, is that the College has struck a deal that allows Metro State to own 50 percent of the land that will house the athletic fields facing Colfax for academic and athletic use. Many opportunities will result from this partnership with Auraria, including naming rights to finance the project and access, in addition to the first right of refusal to purchase Auraria’s 50 percent.
On the bogie side, Metro State has had to face budget cuts resulting in tuition increases. Jordan noted that since the 2008-09 fiscal year, the College’s funding from the state has dropped from $49 million to $36 million, or 27 percent, while student enrollment has increased by more than 10 percent.
An obvious par was the College’s efforts to change its name. Jordan said that the Board of Trustees’ decision to defer the request to the 2012 legislative session does not lessen its commitment to seeking a name that accurately reflects the College’s evolution.