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President Fred Clark's Retrospective

President Frederick Clark


September 2023

Dear members of the BSU community and external partners,

During a quiet moment this past summer, and on the heels of beginning my ninth year as Bridgewater’s President, I found myself reflecting back on the very first days of our journey together. On what proved to be a beautiful day for an inauguration on the Boyden Quad, and surrounded by so many members of our extended community, I tried to convey a message of profound hope for BSU’s future while offering some words of caution for the road ahead:

“Bridgewater State is a university with a mind and heart – a university that preserves the best of what we do while embracing change. While we are justly proud of our record, we cannot sit still for a minute. Our work is far from complete – and can never be completed! We continuously need to evolve how we fulfill our mission to meet the demands of today’s students and the changing needs of our communities. We need to do better, as the challenges before us are more daunting than ever.”

“Bridgewater State is a university with a mind and heart – a university that preserves the best of what we do while embracing change. While we are justly proud of our record, we cannot sit still for a minute. Our work is far from complete – and can never be completed! We continuously need to evolve how we fulfill our mission to meet the demands of today’s students and the changing needs of our communities. We need to do better, as the challenges before us are more daunting than ever.”

Few could have guessed just how much the world would test our mettle in the days since that September morning. During ordinary times, we would have measured Bridgewater’s success in terms of our collective ability to weather the many seismic shifts now transforming the landscape of higher education. The clearest indicator of our shared resolve would be demonstrated by how adroitly we in fact navigated significant demographic and socioeconomic changes in the Commonwealth and throughout the northeast. And our greatest achievement, as it has been since 1840, would be found in how we came together to enrich the lives of our students and improve the region’s quality of life.

Make no mistake: Over the past eight years, the whole of our university community has made tremendous strides in all these areas, and Bridgewater continues to sail forward as the undeniable flagship of the Massachusetts state university system. The record of accomplishments that follows belongs to all of us, and I am exceptionally grateful to – and proud of – every member of our team for their dedication, imagination, and perseverance.

Let us not be reticent, however, in recognizing that these have hardly been ordinary times. We endured the confusion and pain of a global pandemic; stood tall in the face of historic racial unrest; rallied around our institution’s commitments to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion; and, in contrast to what we witnessed in so many other facets of society, strived to ensure our campus could be a model of civility, compassion, and humanity. Bridgewater has risen to meet every new challenge head-on, learning more and growing stronger each time. We should all give one another a sincere pat on the back for our persistence in making tangible progress along so many fronts during such a tumultuous period. More important still is the care we have each shown in helping the institution to evolve while never losing sight of why it exists and who it serves. I believe our recent Wall Street Journal recognition as one of the 400 Best Colleges in the United States reflects our collective impact on the students we serve and affirms the power of our mission.

Having now been a member of the leadership team for more than a decade, I am convinced our secret to success is attributable to three principal factors. First, to love Bridgewater is to fully embrace the commitment to serve others. This ethic of responsibility is certainly conveyed by our school’s motto (“not be ministered unto, but to minister”) but truly comes alive through the countless acts of generosity, good will, and patience demonstrated by our people every day – typically out of sight and often with little or no fanfare. Character, it is said, is what you are when no one is looking.

Second, we have been intentional in choosing not to privilege innovation over stewardship, instead remaining steadfast in tending to both equally. The best Bridgewater is one that operates at the frontier of new ideas, approaches, and discoveries and is supported by the very strongest of foundations. As we reach for the possibilities of what comes next, each of us stands on the shoulders of all who came before us and the enormity of their contributions.

Lastly, we readily embrace a mindset of continuous improvement. Doing so allows us to take healthy but measured risks, candidly evaluate what went well (and what didn’t), learn from our results, share what we know, support one another, and stay motivated to do even better the next time around. Following this practice undoubtedly makes us more effective in the long run but also has the more immediate benefit of reinforcing our humility.

I am confident it is the convergence of these three factors that has fueled our ascent and resulted in the many accomplishments highlighted below. And while this may function as a record of much of what has transpired over the course of my presidency, its far greater value is as a testament to all you have done to advance our mission during these extraordinary times.

As the digest is lengthy, I have organized its content around a handful of key themes, each corresponding to a mantra you have undoubtedly heard me repeat more than a few times over the past eight years:

  • “Every student. One student at a time.”
  • “The magic of BSU is what happens in the classroom.”
  • “Taking care of what we have.”
  • “Every student comes to BSU to get a great education leading to a meaningful career.”
  • “Words alone are not enough.”
  • “Every day is a great day to be a bear!”
  • “We’ve got this!”

I hope you will take a few moments to review the inventory of our accomplishments, to reflect on how far we have come as an institution and as a community, and to feel proud! Because of you, our momentum is palpable… and because of you, Bridgewater’s best days continue to lie ahead.

With deep gratitude for all you do,

Frederick W. Clark, Jr., Esq.

President Clark surrounded by enthusiastic students at Midnight Madness

“Every student. One student at a time.”

Every student has different needs. We need to meet them where they are.

  • BSU ranks in the top 7% of all universities in the U.S. for advancing social mobility of its students, according to Wall Street Journal’s 400 Best Colleges in the U.S.
  • Secured both 5-year interim and 10-year full accreditation by New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). NECHE cited BSU’s “positive culture that contributes to the institution’s success” and concluded that BSU is “well-positioned to continue its mission to strive to transform lives.”
  • Invested in BSU’s high impact practices fostering mentoring experiences between BSU faculty and students
  • Provided resources for summer faculty institutes, fostering learning communities focused on academic innovation and student success.
  • Provided resources for Faculty Retention Coordinators in an array of academic departments
  • Developed and scaled Student Navigators Program serving students at risk of not persisting through data-informed interventions
  • Expanded the number of summer bridge programs to facilitate the success of students at risk for non-persistence
  • Initiated BSU Works to support students in post-graduation career success, including investment in paid internships
  • Expanded Early College programs to provide college access and success to students from a range of backgrounds
  • Launched EAB Navigate, a student success care coordination platform
  • Developed and rolled out “Need Help?” campaign to provide students instant access to crisis and support resource information
  • Expanded resources for Academic Achievement Center, Student Accessibility Services, and Testing Services
  • Built infrastructure to produce disaggregated, equity-minded data to drive effective interventions
  • Opened and staffed Military and Veteran Student Services
  • Launched and scaled Retention Scholarships to support the success of students in good academic standing who have stopped out due to unpaid tuition and fees
  • Established Student Academic Engagement Initiative, a program by which faculty can identify under-engaged students who are then referred to Student Success and Equity Interventions
  • Instituted Freshman Grade Point Recovery Program, an academic support program offering holistic one-on-one advising and academic coaching to first year students working to raise their GPA
  • Expanded grant and donor support for equitable student success efforts at BSU
  • Reimagined student engagement through launch of BSU Mobile app and EngageBSU
  • Created new "Smart Parking" and "Smart Class Cancellations" apps
  • BSU is the 4th largest public university and 10th largest of all universities, private and public, in Massachusetts
  • Secured top three highest incoming first-year classes in BSU history in 2019, 2022 and 2023
  • Increased its first-year inquiries by more than 50% since 2017
  • Overhauled both the Fall Open Houses and the Spring Admitted Students Days
  • Adopted the Common App
  • Provide more need-based aid to students than at any time in its history
  • Expanded awarding of merit scholarships to include all incoming student students with a GPA of 3.4+
  • Instituted Horace Mann Scholarship awarded to out-of-state students
  • Send acceptance letters and financial aid awards - now incorporated into acceptance letter - ahead of other state universities and many other competitors
  • College of Continuing Studies has created new programs for Early College, Senior College, and ELI, and has worked with faculty in creating new fully online academic programs geared toward adult and part-time learners
  • With enrollment declines at most significant feeder colleges, BSU is taking measures to expand transfer enrollments
    • Developed CC2BSU program with Massasoit and Bristol Community Colleges to facilitate transition from a two-year to BSU
    • Developed MOUs with community colleges
    • Expanded geographic recruitment range beyond Massasoit (MCC), Cape Cod (CCCC) and Bristol (BCC) Community Colleges
    • Facilitated ease of transferring by evaluating transfer credits as part of admissions process
    • Hosting MCC funeral services program on campus and housing CCCC students in aviation maintenance program on campus
  • Implemented expansive search campaigns to reach and engage prospective high school sophomores and juniors
  • Implemented “App Cultivator” campaign of intensive outreach to high school seniors to drive applications
  • Expanded BSU communications channels by 200%
  • Revamped website to expand information for prospective students
  • Bolstered social media presence and content; BSU regularly far exceeds benchmarks for audience, engagement
  • Revamped marketing strategy by (1) shifting to digital over traditional channels; (2) developing highly visual and engaging content and (3) shifting from broadcast to narrowcasting and personalization
  • Undertook extensive rebranding of the university based on persona-based messaging and design
  • Froze tuition and fees for two years during pandemic
  • From 2017-2024, increased tuition and fees less than overall inflation rate
  • 4th most affordable of the 13 4-year public universities in Massachusetts
  • Average annual net price for a residential student is only $14,878
  • BSU is less expensive than many out-of-state public universities
  • Froze Continuing Studies tuition and fees for 5 years
  • Increased its institutionally funded grants and scholarships from $7.3 million in FY2016 to $15.9 million in FY2023 – the highest amount in its history – to supplement greater levels of federal and state financial aid
  • Expanded need-based aid from 4 to 9 programs
  • Invested $4.9 million in merit scholarships
  • Developed privately supported fund to offer merit scholarships for incoming students
  • Created two new privately funded endowed scholarships of $1 million dollars to support graduate students engaged in research
  • In FY2023, BSU Foundation awarded $1.5 million in scholarships - the highest amount in its history
  • Instituted Student Emergency Fund to help students cope with unforeseen circumstances
  • Established finish-line or retention scholarships to help students complete their degrees
  • Through effective state advocacy, BSU increased direct unrestricted appropriation by $13.9 million or 29% over the past 5 years, helping to mitigate student costs
  • Increased amount of external grant funding by 376%, from $1,087,095 in FY2015 to $5,174,791 in FY2023
  • Successfully advocated for $5 million in Congressionally Directed Spending and Massachusetts Skill Capital Grants
A student holds up a test tube of green liquid; a group of students and their professor look on

“The magic of BSU is what happens in the classroom.”

The heart of a BSU education continues to be the close relationship and interaction between its faculty and students.

  • Faculty mentor approximately 1,800 students each year as part of Undergraduate Research program, recognized by the national Council on Undergraduate Research as one of the leading programs in the country
  • Honors Program doubled in size in the last three years, to just over 1,000 students, and 33% of new honors students are students of color. First-to-second-year retention rate of Honors Program students is 98.5%
  • BSU regularly sends more students to national research conferences than any university in the nation, e.g., Posters on the Hill - a record 9 straight years
  • Created the Center for Transformative Learning
  • Established Minnock Institute for Global Engagement as the hub for global learning
  • Several BSU students have been recognized with prestigious Fulbright and Goldwater Scholarships and BSU has been recognized as a Fulbright Top Producing Institution
  • BSU’s Office of Assessment created program assessment process focused on enhancing student learning outcomes
  • Academic Innovation Fund provided support for 18 Project Grants and 17 Catalyst Grants. Highlights include:
    • Maker Space
    • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
    • Integrated Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Collaborative University Business Experiences Initiative (CUBEs)
  • Developed new degree programs in high demand fields:
    • Undergraduate
      • Photonics and Optical Engineering
      • Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics
      • Childhood Studies
      • Individualized Studies (on the horizon)
    • Graduate
      • Public Relations
      • Mathematics
      • Cybersecurity and Justice (on the horizon)
  • Digitally transformed classroom and meeting spaces by investing more than $3m in audio visual equipment and classroom technologies.
  • Developed and constructed 990 square foot state-of-the art Photonics and Optical Engineering Labs
  • Secured more than $4 million in state and federal grants to construct 1,830 square foot state-of-the art cybersecurity range in DMF and to establish future BSU Security Operations Center
  • Secured $32 million in funding for renovation of Burnell Hall to become the home of the College of Education and Health Sciences. Renovation includes: 15 general purpose classrooms, five specialty instructional spaces, 65 faculty offices, four conference/meeting/huddle rooms, and speech clinic
  • Increased staffing for Maxwell Library and elevated leadership to dean level
  • Established One Button Studio - a self-service video and podcast recording space for faculty, staff, and students
  • Constructed Active Learning Classroom, a technology rich instructional space supporting active learning pedagogy
  • Invested more than $3.4 million in the past 8 years in supporting faculty’s research and scholarship endeavors through CARS and supporting leadership opportunities for faculty through APRs
  • Created two endowed professorships in civic education and free speech
  • Reinvigorated Office of Teaching and Learning, which provides offerings tied to key issues such as equity minded pedagogy, changing student needs, and artificial intelligence
  • Secured additional resources, including planes and hanger, for Aviation program
  • Established Humanities Lounge
East Campus with the fall foliage in full color

“Taking care of what we have.”

Higher education is in a period of contraction. BSU is investing in, optimizing, and redeploying our resources, all the while cherishing BSU’s many gifts.

  • Expanded role of human resources to include talent management with a focus on providing employees with development opportunities to increase skills and aptitudes and prepare for roles of increasing responsibility and leadership.
    • Provide access to career and job coaching services for all employees.
    • HRTM has expanded professional development, including
      • Executive Leadership Institute: cohort-based transformational leadership program designed for aspiring senior executives providing an experiential immersion to contemporary issues in public higher education, leadership in the academy, and mentorship
      • CONNECT Mid-Level Leadership Development Series: cohort model program developing leadership capabilities through an integrated blend of leadership topics, self-assessment activities, small group discussions, coaching, interactive exercises, and peer learning
      • Linked-In Learning: comprehensive online professional development platform housing a digital library containing more than 16,000 courses covering a wide range of academic, business, leadership, and technical subjects
  • Responded to current workforce demands for flexibility, work/life integration
    • Established and institutionalized a telecommuting policy that provides employees with greater flexibility, ability to balance work-life demands and reduce costs
    • Development of Parents Corner intranet page providing information about local childcare, benefits, recreation, and return-to-work resources.
  • Significantly expanded mental health resources for students and employees
    • Invested in Kognito, an online mental health training module to help students and employees identify when someone needs help and to have conversations about difficult topics
    • Provide range of online resources, including Togetherall and Welltrack Boost
    • Adopted UWill, providing after-hours and weekend teletherapy services to ensure students have 24/7 access to mental health counseling
    • As a JED campus, BSU accesses resources and other supports to enhance mental health promotion efforts, reduce substance abuse, prevent suicide, and enhance overall emotional wellbeing of our students
    • Offered Mental Health First Aid Training to employees, leading to Mental Health First Aid certification
    • Provide employee assistance program (EAP) – Mass4You – to all employees
  • Expanded Wellness offerings to everyone on our campus
    • Offered expanded healthy food options in all dining halls
    • Expanded fitness opportunities by increasing access to Thornburg Fitness Center (Tinsley) and building outdoor fitness court, open at no cost to all users
    • Established BSU Wellness Committee
    • Created Get Moving! Fitness Initiatives – trail walks, fitness classes, yoga, Kelly Gym Pool open swim hours, Thornburg Fitness Center
    • Instituted BSU Wellspace initiative supporting employee wellness journeys. Through shared priorities and engagement in wellness, offices can also improve morale, productivity, and community
  • During COVID-19 pandemic, BSU protected the jobs of every employee on campus, did not resort to layoffs and furloughs, and provided all employees with free testing, face coverings and vaccinations
  • Made major investments in increasing the safety of our community, leading to a 4th safest campus in the U.S. ranking based on FBI statistics
    • Implemented "One Button" mass notification system
    • Deployed more than 120 surveillance cameras to deter and help solve crimes on campus
    • Launched RAVE Guardian mobile app for personal safety
    • Created new Community Liaison position within BSUPD to enhance relations between police and students, especially those from marginalized communities
    • In collaboration with Massachusetts ACLU, BSU pioneered a racially just policing policy
    • In 2017, BSU became the first university in the nation to establish a public-access Narcan program in response to opioid epidemic
  • In the past eight years, BSU has invested $60,618,200 in capital adaptation and renewal, the majority of which is deferred maintenance. This amount includes funding secured through the MSCBA and DCAMM as well as local BSU funds
  • Completed $12 million electrical switchgear upgrade across the west side of campus, replacing aged underground primary electric system.
  • BSU has made extensive renovations to its buildings, including:
    • Tillinghast Hall: New Humanities Lounge, Flynn Dining Commons, and window replacement
    • Kelly: New Counselor Education labs and large and small gyms
    • Art Center: New historically appropriate windows and heating and ventilation replacement
    • Hart Hall: Life-Long Learning Lounge
    • Rondileau Student Union: interior renovations, window replacement, new Values and Career Corridors, student lounges, WBIM satellite radio station, SGA Office, Center for Student Engagement, Demonstration Room, Council Chambers, Bears Den, and restrooms
    • Miles DiNardo: restroom renovation
    • Durgin: restroom renovation
    • Gates House: interior renovations and roof replacement
  • Replaced synthetic athletic fields, made field improvements to baseball and softball fields, built 4,255 square foot Bear Paw Pavilion, and replaced outdoor basketball courts
  • Secured $32 million in funding for renovation of Burnell Hall to become home of the College of Education and Health Sciences. Renovation includes: 15 general purpose classrooms, five specialty instructional spaces, 65 faculty offices, four conference/meeting/huddle rooms, and speech clinic
  • Developed and constructed 990-square foot state-of-the art Photonics and Optical Engineering Labs
  • Developed and built 1,830-square foot, state-of-the art cyber security range in the DMF Science and Mathematics Center
  • Acquired and renovated properties adjacent to campus to provide new homes for Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice, Alumni and Development, and Graduate Studies
  • Prioritized sustainability by:
    • Installed solar canopies at Tower Lot, and the roofs of Operations Center, Miles and DiNardo residence halls, Weygand Hall, DMF Science and Mathematics Center
    • Installed EV chargers
    • Decentralized and removed West Campus buildings from steam loop, thereby improving energy efficiency
    • Replaced campus lighting with LED bulbs
    • Installed low-flow faucets and shower heads
    • Upgraded and expanded building automation systems
    • Established and expanded permaculture garden
  • Created Gregg and Fay Wyatt Sculpture Garden
  • Made major investments in improving redundancy, security, functionality and management of its technology infrastructure and services.
    • Modernized the university's enterprise resource planning and student information system by migrating to Banner 9
    • Overhauled technology infrastructure of the campus by investing more than $6 million in network and systems upgrades and cybersecurity improvements
    • Migrated BSU’s primary data center from Boyden Hall to the Markley Group in Boston through dedicated and redundant university fiber optic cabling
    • Chair statewide Higher Education Cybersecurity Coordinating Committee
    • Digitally transformed campus by implementing modern collaboration technologies including Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, BridgeNet, and electronic signatures and digital workflows
    • Established BSU’s first Information Technology Project Management Office and first Information Technology Service Management Office
  • BSU has grown its financial reserves from approximately $4 million to more than $20 million – a 400% increase
  • Achieved budget surpluses in every year except for one small deficit during COVID pandemic
  • BSU is the single most efficient state university campus based on per capita state funding. BSU’s appropriation is equivalent to $8,311 per UG FTE, 28% less than the average of its state university peers
  • Utilized operating budget savings for campus upgrades and other one-time investments to avoid creating structural operating budget deficits.
  • BSU effectively managed costs through expanding green energy sources and renegotiating dining contracts
  • From 2015-2022, raised its endowment by 69% from $36 million to $61 million – the highest level in its history
  • Prepared to launch its next capital campaign to reach a $100 million endowment in June 2024
  • Reflecting its commitment to transparency, BSU has been awarded Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting for its Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for 15 consecutive years.
  • Established BSU’s first interdivisional Enterprise Risk Management Committee to identify, assess, and mitigate financial, reputational, and legal risks to the institution.
Graduates in regalia at commencement

“Every student comes to BSU to get a great education leading to a meaningful career.”

Every student comes to BSU to launch or enhance their career. BSU should be synonymous with pathways to employment.

  • BSU continues to support and invest in the liberal arts as the core to developing the aptitudes and adaptability demanded by employers
  • Internship Program Office (IPO) dramatically expanded the level of support it provides for paid internships. In 2013, the IPO provided 9 students with $39,000. In the last 10 years, the IPO provided 4,693 students with internship stipends (via funding from BSU Foundation, state internship incentive program, numerous private and state grants, and external employers) totaling $6.5 million.
  • BSU recognized as one of the top undergraduate research programs in the nation by the Council on Undergraduate Research
    • More than 150 Bridgewater students attend national conferences each year.
  • BSU is working to build the pipeline of social workers in the health care field through a grant from MGH Brigham
  • Received a major grant from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health to provide paid internships to undergraduate and graduate students in social work, counsellor education, and psychology
  • The CUBES program in the Ricciardi College of Business partners students with businesses to solve complex, real-world problems
  • Through Bear BID Competition, students pitch and vie for funding for new business ideas
  • Established two student-managed investment funds capitalized at $200,000
  • Renamed the College of Education and Health Sciences to emphasize career pathways to a major sector of the Commonwealth’s economy
  • BSU has expanded partnerships with business and industry to create expanded career pathways for students. Examples of these partnerships include:
    • Partnership with MassBioEd, an arm of the Mass. Biotechnology Council, helps create pathways for students to local life science companies
    • Through BSU’s CUBES initiative, BSU worked with South Shore Bank on strategic planning and assisted Meditech – already a major employer of BSU graduates - with employee recruitment to diversify their workforce
  • BSU raised $1 million to support black students who aspire to be teachers as part of our Grow Your Own Teacher initiative
  • Photonics & Optical Engineering
  • Cybersecurity
  • Childhood Studies
  • Public Relations
  • BSU offers the Stanford University Life Design program that helps students explore and consider their life goals and the career paths available to them to reach those goals
  • BSU continues to diversify its study abroad offerings through 200 programs in more than 50 countries
student in accounting & finance classroom with teacher

“Words alone are not enough.”

Racial and social justice constitutes both continuity and an important adaptation of BSU’s historic mission.

  • The President’s Racial Justice Taskforce completed a year-long racial equity audit and developed 73 recommendations that are now being implemented by equity leaders campus wide
  • BSU’s Board of Trustees established a standing committee dedicated to racial justice and equity and is committed to applying an equity focus to all Board responsibilities
  • Created Student Racial Justice and Equity Council to ensure students’ voices inform BSU’s racial equity efforts and ongoing student forums focused on learning about students’ experiences in relation to institutional racial equity
  • BSU Police Department developed and continues to implement the ACLU/BSU model for Racially Just Policing
  • Undergraduate research and honors programs nationally recognized for their academic excellence through racially equitable practices
  • Renamed and expanded its Lewis and Gaines Center for Inclusion and Equity (LGCIE)
  • Provide regular updates to campus on progress and challenges in advancing the RJTF recommendations and other equity practices through Action: Racial Justice & Equity at BSU e-newsletter
  • 27% of BSU students are students of color (Spring 2023)
  • BSU raised $1 million to support black students who aspire to be teachers as part of our Grow Your Own Teacher initiative
  • BSU’s main accrediting body - NECHE - stated BSU is “exemplary in its diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice efforts.”
  • Invested in and expanded Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice which provides students and employees with community service opportunities and promotes equity skill building through justice fellowships
  • At a time when other states have created a very hostile environment, BSU continues to make significant advances in creating a welcoming environment and supporting the needs of our LGBTQ students
    • 12% of BSU students self-identified as LGBTQ in Spring 2023
    • Developed Name-in-Use policy
    • Established inclusive on-campus housing
    • BSU created 79 gender-inclusive single-occupancy restrooms (GISOR) and is committed to adding at least one GISOR in every new and significantly renovated building
    • Developed and offered robust programming to support students’ sense of belonging and mattering
    • Embedded Student Navigator to support LGBTQ students at risk for non-persistence
  • BSU’s EXCEL program combines academic and vocational classes with speech and hearing services, counseling, and adaptive physical education services to prepare students with disabilities for college, career or paid competitive employment. The EXCEL program is a national leader and was the first in the state to provide a residential experience
  • 48% of BSU students are first generation (Spring 2023)
  • BSU is ranked in the top 4% of 100+ universities in MA for advancing the social mobility of its graduates
  • Board of Trustees developed a Racial Justice and Equity Committee that meets regularly to support and catalyze the campus-wide work for racial equity.
  • Board of Trustees, the President, and Cabinet participated in equity-minded professional development as recommended by the Racial Justice Taskforce
  • Racial Equity and Justice Institute (REJI) has grown to 41 universities and affiliated organizations that collaborate in identifying data-informed racially equitable strategies to support the success of all students. The REJI provides ongoing consultation and support to aid members in setting and advancing racial equity plans of action.
  • In recognition of the value of the REJI, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has provided a state appropriation of $100,000 for  the last two years to support the scaling of this work across the state
  • The REJI released their first free-access handbook of effective equity-minded practices to national acclaim in 2021; their second handbook is expected in 2024
  • Student Navigators utilize data to identify students at-risk of dropping out and provide personalized interventions tailored to the needs of each student. In recognition of the innovative, effective, and equity-minded work, the Lumina Foundation and an anonymous donor provided significant funding to quickly scale this work
Homecoming fans cheer for the BSU Bears in the rain

“Every day is a great day to be a bear!”

We have rejuvenated long-term pride and connectedness to the institution. BSU is synonymous with a positive experience and the subject of many happy and meaningful memories.

  • Shifted Commencement to Gillette Stadium. Starting as a response to President Clark’s commitment to having an in-person graduation during the pandemic, Commencement has morphed into a grand celebration of our students and the BSU community
  • Completely overhauled Homecoming, which now attracts more than 6,000 alumni, families, and students to campus over a two-day period
  • BSU travels annually to bring a bit of home to its 80,000 alumni, including receptions across the state of Florida and in Washington, D.C.
  • Enhanced Spirit Week with Casino Night, Homecoming Pageant, and Spirit Night (all leading up to Homecoming Saturday), along with many other events throughout the week
  • Created Crimson Celebration, featuring performances, the Alma Mater and Fight Song, food trucks, and an after party, which attracts more than 1,000 new BSU students
  • More than 1,100 students attend spring Midnight Madness pep rally
  • Composed new Alma Mater with updated music and new lyrics through an inclusive campus process
  • BSU continues to foster a growing and more impactful alumni network by bringing more alumni back home to serve our current students through mentoring, shadowing, internship, employment, and volunteer opportunities such as the Bear Essentials Clothing Drive
  • Created new “Leaving the Den” program for graduating students
  • NECHE commended BSU’s “positive culture” that contributes to the institution’s success as evidenced by a “strong inculcated sense of purpose and mission,” and a “deep trust” among the divisions of the University
  • Created new bear statue in front if RSU, capturing BSU’s hopeful, striving and determined spirit
  • Many students, faculty, and staff observe Wear the Bear Wednesday, demonstrating their BSU spirit
  • Students, alumni, and employees regularly and on cue repeat the “every day is a great day to be a bear” and “once a bear, always a bear” mantras at countless gatherings
  • BSU’s new student pep brings more energy and spirit to sporting and other events
  • The BSU Cheer Team has won 7 national championships
The Boyden Quad at twilight, with Boyden Hall in the background

“We’ve got this!”

We not only adroitly managed the myriad challenges of an historic pandemic but emerged stronger than ever.

  • Transformed its classes to online and hybrid modalities of teaching and learning
  • Provided professional development resources to faculty to enhance their online teaching skills
  • Provided information technology and support to faculty, librarians, and staff to facilitate remote teaching, learning, and working
  • Transitioned almost the entire staff to online work
  • Protected the jobs of every employee on the campus and did not resort to layoffs and furloughs
  • Secured and adroitly managed federal and state financial resources
  • Deployed $25 million in federal funding to students, processing 5,000 applications to meet real needs rather than provide all students with equal funding as did most of our peer institutions
  • In the first year of the pandemic, BSU successfully and safely returned students to the residence halls – a formidable task that many institutions did not undertake as quickly
  • BSU developed an inclusive infrastructure for (1) gathering and evaluating data, (2) making decisions aligned with the best available public health information, and (3) implementing its public health protocols.
  • BSU developed protocols for testing, masking, cleaning, and inoculation that were informed by the best available data and were responsive to changing public health conditions
  • Through a regional partnership with nine local communities, BSU became a center for administering free COVID-19 vaccines to the campus and larger community
  • BSU secured federal funding for purchasing huge supplies of masks, tests, hand sanitizers that were provided to students, faculty, and staff at no cost
  • BSU sent constant communications throughout the pandemic to ensure that all members of the campus community were informed of the latest institutional-, county-, and state-level information
  • BSU implemented a highly inclusive structure of decision-making to ensure all voices were represented and that information could be constantly transmitted to different constituencies
  • BSU built a very effective COVID-19 website that included (1) all communications (2) an extensive FAQ (3) weekly updates on positivity rates on campus and in the region and state (4) vaccination rates among students and employees, and (5) links to valuable and current resources