Written by: Marcus Nicholson
Dr. Louis Proenza, president of The University of Akron, held his 13th annual State of the University Address on Thursday. He spoke about new ideas for the university, what problems we’re facing, and the most beneficial way to go about the school year.
“We have a strategic plan, and I will highlight our vision for the future,” he said.
He mentioned that, just as political candidates have the burden of delivering on their promises, so does he. He spoke about how the school has progressed over the years.
“We have transformed this school into a beautiful metropolitan area,” Proenza said. “Over the last decade, student enrollment grew so dramatically and quickly that we experienced growing pains.”
Proenza said that this is a good problem to have, and that The University of Akron has done its job by graduating thousands of students with professional degrees. In his time here, he has seen 50,000 degrees handed out.
“We have taken many steps to collaborate across departments to bring together programs on campus and to coordinate at other university sectors to increase the opportunities for our students upon graduation,” he said.
Proenza also talked about our success, saying that the university has emerged as a community leader in many ways.
“We have earned recognitions in the arts, business, sciences, engineering and athletics,” he said.
Not only did Proenza talk about the good, but he also spoke about the problems that the university is facing.
“Yet, just as we are moving forward to achieve our vision, the ground that is supported by higher education is literally shifting beneath our feet,” he said.
Proenza spoke about things like economic pressures. During the election, candidates railed against the high cost of college debt, the low graduation rate and the scarcity of jobs. He also spoke about how online courses are getting more popular, and how more online classes could cut some costs to help with the economic pressure.
“I am convinced that the student-faculty relationship role on campus will remain at the core of higher education,” he said.
According to Proenza, the stronger the bond between the teacher and the student, the better it will help the student and the institution. He also realized that students have different ways of learning.
A video was shown in which students were asked how the university helped lead them to where they needed to be.
“Higher education is all about increasing opportunities,” he said. “We believe in ourselves, and in what we’re capable of doing, And we are capable of doing much more.”