By Christian Minnie
University President and CEO Rev. Michael Garanzini delivered the fall State of the University address this past Tuesday. Covering a range of topics concerning Loyola, Garanzini described the university as being “healthy” overall.
Garanzini opened his address with a discussion of Loyola’s financial situation, describing how the university was “budgeting its debt” and “paying off our loans as we go along.”
“When you look at our financial state,” Garanzini said, “you’ll see we have a little bit of a cushion.” He said the university plans on using any extra available funds to increase faculty salaries, as the university has fallen behind teacher’s compensation compared to other surrounding universities.
A total of 4,720 new students, across all enrollment streams, entered the university for the 2014 academic year, Garanzini said. In addition to welcoming new students, Loyola also welcomed 92 new “youth” faculty members, the majority of which will be responsible for teaching core and introductory classes. Garanzini advocated placing full-time faculty members in charge of freshmen courses, citing what he called a “direct correlation between full time faculty teaching freshmen courses and [long term] student retention and success.”
A part of the new faculty hires will also be responsible for pioneering the university’s new engineering undergraduate degree.
“[It] sticks out … that we don’t have this one particular area in the STEM disciplines,” Rev. Garanzini said, “STEM disciplines are extremely important for the country and the Chicagoland area. Loyola already has a strong presence in other [STEM] areas and we are concentrating on matching engineering with other areas of strength.” Students will be able to specialize in one of three fields: biomedical, computer or environmental engineering.