Trustees review post-College employment survey

At their Oct. 4 meeting, trustees read the results of a survey of the class of 2010. Most respondents are employed or in graduate school. (Tom O'Dell / Photo Editor)

By Julia Ireland
Correspondent

The prospect of finding a job or applying to graduate school looms in the mind of every senior preparing for graduation. At the Board of Trustees Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the results of a survey taken by the College’s class of 2010 presented hope for a quick entry into the real world — and a considerable salary.

Of the survey’s 843 participants, 95 percent said they are either working and/or in graduate school one year after graduation, and of that number, 59 percent work in their chosen field. This is a 1 percent decrease in unemployment from the class of 2009.

The mean starting salary was $45,999, with the highest average salary by school, $52,300, in the School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science.

In addition to reading the survey results, the Board submitted a capital budget request for Fiscal Year 2013, swore in members and addressed Ewing Township representatives’ thoughts on the new Student Conduct Code.
Eleanor Horne, a member of the Student Life and Enrollment Management Committee, said the student code of conduct passed last week during an open forum between the campus and township. According to Horne, concerns on both sides were discussed at the forum.

Despite township advocacy for additional penalities, no changes were made to the code, she said.

The College chooses to enforce its rules in its own way, and “there is an understanding by the township of why,” Horne said.

Horne observed that the township is taking appropriate action, and there has already been an increase in the number of student arrests this year.

Board of Trustees Chair Christopher Gibson, who took over the post from former chair Susan Svizeny during the meeting, presented capital budget requests. The capital budget determines the College’s spending capacity for an allotted time period.

A grand total of $18,955,000 was requested for the 2013 Fiscal Year and $307,042,000 for the seven-year term of 2013-2019. The Board approved the request.

“We’ve put together a capital budget every year for the state of New Jersey for 12 to 13 years now and don’t get a nickel,” Gibson said.

Gitenstein called the budget request “somewhat of an exercise,” but also said the document is helpful to the College for internal financial planning.

In addition to the bugdet discussion, the board dealt with transitions in its leadership.

As former chair Susan Svizeny turned over her gavel to former vice chair Gibson, she fought back tears.

“I think the best place you can give back to is the institution that educates you,” said Svizeny, who will continue serving on the board.

“She has been an outstanding leader and good friend,” Gibson said as he presented Svizeny with a plaque.

Former secretary Bradley Brewster moved to the vice chair position, and Horne, a former general member, filled the secretary position.

With her mother present, junior mathematics secondary education major Megan Coburn was sworn in as the alternate student trustee to accompany senior history major Randi Lynn Veenstra on the board.

“I don’t know if you’re all as aware as I am about how wonderful this type of leadership is,” President R. Barbara Gitenstein said. “We’re at a very dangerous juncture. If we don’t have this type of leadership, the world will be in a terrible place.”

Indeed, financial troubles and a worsening economy seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the evening, but the class of 2010 survey results presented the board with reassurance for today’s students.

Horne reported on the survey results and the graduates’ suggestions about how to improve the College.

“We need to work with our students to improve skills in conflict resolution and in education to cover all disciplines,” Horne said.

The survey reported that 82 percent of the class of 2010 participants had an internship or practicum experience during their undergraduate careers, and 99 percent either used the Career Center or received career advice from a faculty member at the College.

Horne said the College’s Opportunities Fair was a success, with over 700 students and 150 employers and graduate/professional schools in attendance.

Some trustees took the survey results as a welcome reminder that employers continue to look to the College when hiring graduates, despite the harsh economy.

“We live in a time when it is extremely difficult to see the glass as half full,” Gibson said. “It is very difficult with all the cutbacks going on, (but) I do all in my power to keep this the very best state college that it is.”