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Annual Report 2018-19

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President’s Message

nunezEastern Connecticut State University continued to make great strides in 2018-19 toward realizing our vision to be one of America’s premier public liberal arts universities. The year was full of activity and accomplishments as Eastern students, faculty and staff made important contributions to their academic disciplines, as well as our local, state and regional communities.

In fall 2019, Eastern was ranked as the number one public university in New England in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings for the North Region, which extends from Maine to Maryland and out to Pennsylvania.  We also continue to be the top ranked institution among Connecticut’s state universities and were also ranked as New England’s top public university as a “Best Value.”

This academic reputation is one reason why the University saw a 5.5 percent increase in freshmen enrollments in fall 2018 and a nine-point increase in the average SAT scores of entering freshmen. 

The University was also named a Green College by the Princeton Review for the ninth consecutive year. In addition, Eastern was named a Great College to Work For—the only four-year public institution in New England with this designation. Also noteworthy was a national study that ranked Eastern’s campus police department as one of the top 25 in the nation. 

Students won local, regional and national awards across a variety of disciplines, while faculty scholars received National Science Foundation grants to conduct their research; appeared at Carnegie Hall; were showcased on PBS-TV; and accompanied Eastern students on field courses in Ghana, West Africa, Hawaii, Italy, the Middle East and other locales.  

“Academic excellence” is the first of Eastern’s six core values, and a number of new or expanded academic programs highlighted the 2018-19 academic year. In addition to six new concentrations in the Communication Major and a new Costume and Fashion Design, the faculty worked on proposals for new majors in Anthropology (approved in October 2019) and Data Science (in process.) A $200,000 grant from the Davis Education Foundation is being used to develop critical thinking coursework in the First-Year Experience. 

One of Eastern’s calling cards is its focus on undergraduate research.  We continue to offer undergraduate students opportunities to conduct faculty-sponsored research that are usually only available to graduate students at larger institutions.  In addition to faculty-mentored research projects conducted by Honors Program students and other junior and seniors, we continued to offer research experiences in 2018-19 to freshmen and sophomores through our Summer Research Institutes.  For the first time, two Eastern students were chosen to present at the World Congress on Undergraduate Research in Germany in May 2019. 

Service learning also continues to be an important element of Eastern’s liberal arts education. In 2018-19, we doubled the number of faculty teaching service learning courses, increased the number of service-learning course sections to 42 and increased student enrollments in these courses to 390. 

To ensure that Eastern students are learning in first-rate facilities, the University conducted major remodeling projects on the Communication Building, Goddard Hall and Shafer Hall. The refurbished and expanded Communication Building features a new state-of-the-art television studio and radio station; Goddard’s facelift included a suite of six new psychology labs and a performance studio for Kinesiology and Physical Education; and historic Shafer Hall has been converted to a modern residence hall with loft-style apartments. 

The standard of excellence found throughout the University extended to the athletic field.  In spring 2019, Eastern athletes received word they had won the Commissioner’s Cup for the third year in a row for having the best overall athletic performance across 19 varsity sports. 

Eastern alumni and other donors supported the University progress through 18 major gifts totaling more than $650,000, while the annual fund exceeded $2 million for the eighth straight year. 

These and other stories in this online Annual Report highlight the outstanding year experienced at Eastern Connecticut State University.  

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Elsa M. Núñez
President