EWC Anticipates a Strong 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— For more than 145 years, Edward Waters College has served as a holistic launch pad for students by instilling values of faith, scholarship and service through academic instruction. Now, as it approaches its 147th year, EWC is poised to elevate its status, both in the Jacksonville community and throughout the country.
After taking office in May 2010 on an interim basis, the now permanent president, Mr. Nathaniel Glover, is optimistic about what the future holds for Florida’s oldest independent institution of higher learning.
With a 23 percent increase in enrollment, a successful $3 million fundraising campaign, a stabilized—and growing—endowment and a favorable status with its accrediting agency and the US Department of Education; EWC is on target to meet, and possibly surpass, its goals.
For the last five years, enrollment averaged less than 800. However, the recent surge of students has the administration optimistic for EWC’s future in recruiting students, both locally and abroad, in order to meet the president’s goal of 1,000 by Fall 2015.
“We’re continuously looking at new strategies to improve our admissions efforts,” President Glover stated. “Between our recruiters and engaged alumni, I believe we can get to a point where we have to turn great students away because we are at capacity in the classrooms and dorms.”
Classrooms and dorms will be precious square footage in the years to come, especially if President Glover’s goal is surpassed. Fortunately, there is a strategy in place to accommodate the gradual influx of students.
The college plans to open two new buildings next year, both of which will contain classroom space. One will be the Center for the Prevention of Health Disparities. This 2,500 sq. ft. facility will serve as a hub for addressing and researching urban health disparities such as obesity, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and more. It will also house a classroom and, eventually, a research lab for EWC’s Biology Program. The College plans to hold a grand opening for the center next semester.
The other building will be a two-story Criminal Justice Education Facility and Police Sub-Station. This 10,500 sq. ft. facility will serve as a fully-functional police sub-station for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to service the Zone 5 area. It will also contain two classrooms and a lab for criminal justice students. The college expects to break ground on this facility early in 2013.
“Ultimately, the vision is for these facilities to be shared resources between the community and the College; and, hopefully, become models for the rest of the country,” Glover said. “I don’t know of any institutions that offer these specific opportunities to collaborate with the community to address serious issues, particularly in Florida.”
Apart from these two buildings, which the College had to raise more than $3 million in public and private funds to erect, the college has raised more than $5 million for campus enhancements since Glover took office.
During the summer of 2011, a partnership with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority yielded $2.3 million in streetscape enhancements. Several months later, shortly after Glover was inaugurated, the Michael and Kim Ward Foundation issued a challenge to the college. The challenge was to raise $2 million for campus enhancements in seven months. If successful, the college would receive a 50 percent match, up to $1 million.
On June 26, 2012, four days before the challenge deadline, the College surpassed its $2 million goal and began the process of utilizing the $3 million to enhance several sectors of the campus prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Currently, more than half of the Challenge Grant funds have been spent on improving the campus environment for students, faculty and staff.
“Since taking office, I have witnessed a sense of heightened enthusiasm and support from the community for what we are doing,” Glover said. “Our momentum has increased dramatically, especially over the last year; and I am eager to see how this momentum impacts our growth.”
Growth is a top priority for President Glover. In fact, between 2010 and 2011, much of his efforts were focused on ensuring the College was fiscally poised to save and invest in promising programs and faculty. Immediately after taking office as interim president, the 11th District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church provided a $2 million donation to wipe out the College’s debt. Since then, the College has continued to stay out of a deficit and grow its endowment: an accomplishment President Glover deems “crucial” to the future of the institution.
Executive Vice President Dr. Eurmon Hervey stated that fiscal stability and compliance are common issues for many institutions similar to EWC. In fact, more than 60 percent of schools sanctioned by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges from December 2011 through July 2012 were cited for a failure to comply with at least one aspect of fiscal compliance. Many of them were small, private or religiously-affiliated; or a combination thereof.
“Improving the fiscal infrastructure was essential in ensuring SACS and the US Department of Education that we are stable and prepared to grow,” Glover stated. “Now we are in a position to not only meet the fiscal standards of the government and SACS, but we can also begin to expand our options for enhancing our programs, campus and faculty.”
Not only is EWC in compliance with SACS’ core fiscal standards, but it also was recently removed from sanction for improving faculty adequacy and providing more comprehensive documentation on its programs’ learning outcomes and the institution-wide Quality Enhancement Plan.
“The progress we have made with SACS and the US Department of Education in the last two-and-a-half years has been remarkable,” said President Glover. “I am thoroughly pleased with the direction we are going operationally; and I am tremendously energized for what our faculty will be achieving next year.”
In October 2011, during his inauguration speech, Glover announced several measurable goals to accomplish during his presidency: build three buildings within five years, increase enrollment to at least 1,000 by 2015, increase retention and graduation rates, establish a foundation board and receive accreditation reaffirmation through SACS for another 10 years in 2015.
Edward Waters College is certainly on pace to meet those goals. Currently, two of the three buildings will be constructed by 2014; the foundation board has been established; the retention rate has increased by six percent; the College is in compliance with all SACS' core requirements; and the enrollment only needs to increase by roughly eight percent within the next three years.
“We’ve got big ideas and high expectations for the future of our institution,” Glover stated, “and I am excited to see how high Edward Waters College can rise in 2013.”
Published December 26, 2012