Today at 12:30 p.m. Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger will give his State of the University address in the Osterhout Concert Theater in the Anderson Center.
The biggest change Stenger is expected to announce is an initiative to increase enrollment to 20,000 — 14,000 undergraduates and 6,000 graduate students — by the year 2020. This means an increase of about 1,000 undergraduates and 3,000 graduates, nearly doubling the Graduate School.
Because the planned increase would involve mainly graduate students, Stenger doesn’t see campus overcrowding as a risk of the enrollment bump.
“Most graduate students don’t live on campus, they live off campus, so student housing isn’t a problem,” Stenger said.
Part of increasing graduate programs means giving BU undergrads an incentive to stay here for grad school, which Stenger hopes to do with his proposed 4-1-1 program.
Somewhat of a misnomer, the goal of the plan is to get graduate students paid, credit-bearing internships while they complete their two-year programs. For nine months out of the 24 that it would normally take to earn a master’s degree, students would be placed in internships through local and alumni networks.
“The key is, we’re not changing the curriculum, we’re not changing the emphasis, we’re just adding in some features to make it more experiential,” Stenger said.
To support the additional graduate students, plans are underway to expand both the University’s library holdings as well as the space in Glenn G. Bartle Library. Once the Center for Civic Engagement, Career Development Center and other undergraduate support services move into newly built space in the north part of the University Union, more offices will free up in the library to accommodate the increased numbers.
Stenger said that additional undergraduates won’t necessarily come from increasing freshman enrollment, but from an increased emphasis on retaining students.
According to Stenger, graduate student tuition costs approximately twice the amount of undergraduate tuition, and the additional revenue from a larger graduate program would go to hiring more faculty in order to keep student-to-faculty ratios constant, even with the addition of 1,000 undergraduates.
The address, which is separated into five strategic points, will take a different format than previous years. Past addresses took place over winter break and included presentations from each vice president, taking two or three hours. This year, Student Association President Eric Larson and Vice President of Student Affairs Brian Rose will each speak for about 10 minutes before President Stenger’s speech, which is expected to last a little over 40 minutes. With the student question section, the entire address is expected to last about an hour.