A hallmark of the Seton Hall community is our desire to grow in significant ways. We seek to expand the breadth and reach of our Great Minds so we will be better tomorrow than we are today. Guided by Harvest Our Treasures, we are making strategic investments to ensure the University is more robust, more responsive and more meaningful for our students.
We recently set in motion a major initiative that will strengthen teaching and learning. Called Seeds of Innovation, this effort will enhance the Academy in powerful ways. First and foremost, we are hiring 30 new faculty members — almost all of whom will be full-time, tenure-track professors. That level of hiring is uncommon at any university, and especially rare at a school of our size. Yet we hope this will be the first of several years in which we welcome a substantial number of new colleagues.
Fortifying our faculty is the single most effective way to enhance the educational experience for students. Seton Hall professors are teacher-scholars. They are experts in their fields and conduct research at a very high level. Yet they understand academic research is not an end in itself. New knowledge is only valuable to the extent it is shared. And for that, teaching must take precedence.
Our faculty has a deep commitment to teaching and learning. Delivering quality instruction is emphasized much more at Seton Hall than at other institutions. It is the highest metric on which our professors are assessed, and a point of pride throughout the University. Adding more than two dozen tenure-track professors will amplify our already strong reputation for instructional excellence.
These hires are part of Seton Hall’s effort to rebalance instructional vs. non-instructional expenses. That means a greater percentage of our budget will go directly to teaching and learning, while a smaller percentage will be spent on administration and other non-instructional areas.
Also, faculty members are developing creative new ways to tap the power of our community’s limitless potential. They are proposing a host of educational initiatives, which we call Academies, that are eligible for seed funding from the University. Academies focus on teaching, learning and research. They integrate knowledge through collaborative, innovative and cross-disciplinary learning. To date, seven Academies and three other interdisciplinary projects have started, or will begin shortly. In all, at least 75 professors are pursuing new endeavors through this exciting initiative.
As we invest in students inside the classroom, we are likewise investing in them outside the classroom through major campus improvements. The two largest projects — an addition to Boland Hall and the total renovation of the University Center — are proceeding apace. In a visible and tangible way, these projects are meaningful expressions of Seton Hall’s commitment to all aspects of the student experience.
We know a leading Catholic education should also offer leading residential and student life spaces. And we understand that the Seton Hall experience is indivisible. Intellectual, emotional and spiritual knowledge inform and cross-pollinate each other. In the same way, academic, residential, social and sacred spaces combine to form an integrated whole.
When these projects are finished, the University Center will touch almost every aspect of life on campus. And Boland Hall — one of the oldest residence halls on campus — will be one of the best.
These investments in Seton Hall’s academic and physical environments will create ripple effects that yield significant benefits — both economic and social — to people across New Jersey.
Seton Hall recently commissioned a study that shows we generate $1.6 billion annually for the state. The wage premium — the amount in additional salary our alumni receive because of their Seton Hall education and degrees — totals $927 million per year in New Jersey alone. On an individual level, the education and credential a student receives at Seton Hall provide an additional $1.2 million in earnings over the course of his or her career.
The University helps more than alumni and their families; we improve the civic and economic lives of communities where our graduates live and work. And we provide direct advantages statewide to residents who never step foot on our campuses. That includes lunches in downtown South Orange, basketball games in Newark and events throughout the Garden State. Our campuses in South Orange, Newark, Nutley and Clifton support nearly 10,000 jobs. In addition, University spending on operations and capital improvements averages more than $600 million annually.
The study, conducted by Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions Inc., also gauged volunteer service performed by students, faculty and employees, showing that more than 3,000 volunteers provide almost 50,000 hours of service to the community each year — in addition to our economic benefits.
This is the story of Seton Hall: The investments we make change destinations and transform lives — for our students, our University community and our neighbors across the street and across the state. I am energized by everything we are achieving as a Seton Hall family.
I hope you are as well.