Spring address outlines University’s future
University President Maravene Loeschke reflected on her first year in office and previewed the years to come in her 2013 spring address Wednesday.
Loeschke first took time out of her 45-minute speech to thank the faculty, staff and students who have worked with her through her tenure as president, and highlighted some of the most successful programs at Towson, including the Center for Adults with Autism and the new transfer program.
Men’s soccer and baseball teams still face elimination, a decision Loeschke has not finalized, she said in her speech.
“Towson University is committed to financial sustainability to the athletic program, compliance to Title 9, and remain competitive in our division,” she said in her speech. “No state funding goes into athletics, they have to raise it themselves, as students pay for it in their fees and they fundraisers they hold themselves.”
She also outlined her top 10 priorities for the University as a part of her strategic plan.
The strategic plan, which runs through 2016, outlines 46 action items, which Loeschke and her council brainstormed.
One of the points that Loeschke said she wants to focus on is the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.
“Towson is the only institution in Maryland to replicate the UTeach program to increase the number of students taking STEM teaching classes,” she said.
Through the UTeach program, STEM majors are able to take education classes, in an effort to increase the number of STEM teachers who enter the workforce after graduation.
Loeschke also emphasized her goal for every student at Towson to find an internship prior to graduation.
“In order to accomplish this, Towson is going to need to emphasize partnerships,” she said. “One of the most special things I found from being out and about is that once somebody has a Towson intern they want more. This speaks volumes to the quality of our faculty and our students.”
In the coming months, she will meet with the heads of the colleges, University Senate and Student Government Association to decide which items receive priority.
Student Government Association Treasurer Ben Mendelsohn said by being transparent with her plan, Loeschke showed she is a strong leader for the University.
“It worked as a platform to showcase all of the awards and honors that Towson has received over the year,” he said. “It showed that we are growing on a path that will strengthen Towson’s influence and student experience.”
Loeschke has turned to the SGA to for help regarding the athletics cuts. Mendelsohn said is important to their relationship with the president.
“President Loeschke isn’t just a President,” he said. “She’s a listener, a supporter and a person who respects the student voice. When the SGA thinks of initiatives or ways to improve campus we never question whether anyone will listen or care about student opinions.”
SGA Chief of Staff Kennard Wallace said in the future he hopes they SGA can work more closely with Loeschke to accomplish her goals.
“The president has been nothing short of amazing when it comes to assisting the Student Government in our endeavors in the fall semester and I can only hope that continues,” he said.
Loeschke closed out her address by recognizing three students who she thought represented the spirit and message of Towson.
One of the students she spoke about was senior Matt Jeffers, an acting major who suffers from dwarfism.
The president commended Jeffers for his positive outlook on life, as well as a letter he sent to the Baltimore Ravens during their mid-season struggles, which coach John Harbaugh shared with the entire team.
“He endured over 20 surgeries and medical procedures during his young life,” Loeschke said. “Despite his challenges, Matt knew he wanted to attend Towson and be a theatre major. He was determined that his short stature wouldn’t stop him. I can vouch for his talent as an actor, as can anyone who saw his performance in Glass Menagerie on campus.”
Loeschke wanted the attendees to see some of the most impressive students at Towson, and she said that while she highlighted the three students, many more like them exist around campus.
“This is what we do, this is what we do well,” she said. “This is what current students and alumni say we do well. Let us continue to enjoy and respect our students, our mission and each other.”