At his annual State of the University address, Miami University President Greg Crawford revealed that 82% of students have submitted proof of vaccination, international student enrollment is down 35% from last year and welcomed Christina Alcalde as the new vice president of institutional diversity and inclusion.
The address took place on Thursday, Sept. 30, at Hall Auditorium.
President Crawford began by talking about COVID-19 efforts in the past year and a half.
More than 100 Miami staff and faculty members, 30 students, and 20 Tri-health partners were a part of the Miami COVID-19 testing efforts – making phone calls, scheduling tests and coordinating isolation. Tim Wilson and Phil Smith led testing efforts, and Kimberly Moore led isolation arrangements.
“I have much gratitude and admiration for the response team and all prevention to keep our campus healthy, safe, and open,” Crawford said.
This semester, there has been a maximum of 10 positive student cases per day. As of last Monday, there have been 31 active cases on campus this semester, and 82% of students have currently uploaded proof of vaccination.
IT services, Crawford said, has been busy behind the scenes this year. IT services have installed 4,200 wireless access points in hallways this year, incorporated 477 classrooms with remote instruction capabilities, and doubled the bandwidth across campus. To increase accessibility, IT services captioned more than 3,000 live presentations and videos.
Crawford also touched on this year’s class of first-year students. He said this year’s incoming class is Miami’s largest ever with 4,510 registered first-years compared to 3,801 from last year.
The number of international students has decreased from 100 last year to 65 this year.
This year, Miami won the Dr. Carol A. Cartwright Award, presented by the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in recognition of excellence in academics, athletics and citizenship, for the third year in a row.
“It's amazing because nobody's ever done that,” Crawford said. “Nobody's ever done two straight years with the MAC.”
Crawford said the average GPA of student athletes is a 3.42, exceeding a 3.0 average for the 31st straight semester.
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Crawford also took time to address Miami’s athletic achievements in the past school year.
Baseball pitcher Sam Bachman was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels as the highest draft pick Miami has ever had in the Major League Baseball draft. Olivia Bechtel and Finn McLear both qualified for the Olympic trials. The softball team experienced a record season, going 36-2.
Big improvements are coming to Miami’s nursing program, Crawford said. Miami is working to renovate nursing spaces on the Hamilton campus, and more graduate programs for nursing students are underway, including a Physician's Assistant (PA) program.
Crawford also announced changes coming to Miami’s Global Plan centered around diversity, equity and inclusion, research, civic mindedness and social engagement, collaboration and innovation, and critical thinking and engagement.
Crawford highlighted statistics about Miami’s Honors College, which is in its first year.
“The idea was to build a cohort of citizen scholars, a robust community of scholars and learners to experiment and innovate and try new things,” Crawford said.
The Honors College welcomed 480 students this year with an average GPA of 4.26 and ACT of 32. 25% of these students come from diverse backgrounds.
Crawford welcomed Christina Alcalde as the new vice president for institutional diversity & inclusion.
New construction projects across the university include the McVey data sciences building – scheduled to be completed in 2023 – which will house data science fields across majors and three colleges and include extended virtual reality.
The new clinical health building, also scheduled for completion in 2023, will be 170,000 square feet and house the nursing and speech and audiology majors, Tri-Health partners and Student Counseling Services.
Miami’s new approach to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is centered around inclusive excellence, Crawford said.
New DEI efforts included the Wayne Embry statue placed last year, the naming of Nellie Craig Walker Hall and 1976 Miami graduate Wil Haywood’s book “Colorization” that he will introduce to campus this year.
“DEI is not a single goal for a single person but for everyone,” Crawford said. “DEI is a part of every goal.”