Achievements and plans for the future highlight Lander president's state of the university address

September 27, 2013
Lander University President Daniel Ball delivered his annual State of the University address on Monday in which he outlined a list of accomplishments during the past year, including the introduction of new academic programs and the completion of several facilities projects. Lander's enrollment for the fall semester is just short of 3,000 students. Ball said the university made phone calls to every nonreturning student and found that money issues were the overwhelming deciding factor for those who did not come back. He added that enrollment was down this fall at most other state-assisted schools because, in many cases, students and their families were unable to shoulder the financial burden of going to school. On the academic side, Ball pointed to the new master's in emergency management, which is accepting students for the spring 2014, semester and the master's in nursing, clinical nurse leader, which is awaiting approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It, too, could be ready for launch in the spring. Lander has introduced a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies to provide an academic experience for students whose career interests fall outside of Lander's existing discipline-based programs. The university's new Honors College has enrolled 71 students, including 23 freshmen. He said Lander will soon introduce an Early Decision Scholarship program for high ability high school graduates who, after completing certain requirements the summer after graduation and enrolling at Lander in the fall, will receive a free semester of housing, a value of $2,500. The university's Admissions Office will open a satellite location at the former Greenwood County Library, which is also home to Lander's ROTC program. He also announced creation of a new enhanced experimental advising program for students. Ball announced that Lander has received a $750,000 state grant to create a new national center for Montessori education. He said the university's Office of International Programs, which has agreements with 11 colleges and universities in South Korea, China and Thailand, is in the process of establishing expanded study opportunities with schools in China. Ball welcomed returning faculty and staff, and recognized longtime employees with 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of service. He announced that three construction projects are scheduled to begin in 2014. One of them will be a new residence hall to be built on the site of the old softball and soccer fields on campus. He said he expects ground to be broken in February or March, and when completed, the new facility will replace the current Brookside residence hall. Ball said the university also plans to launch a comprehensive campaign in the next few months. He concluded his remarks by introducing a new initiative, which he is calling "Grow Better." Ball explained, "The challenge is for us to grow Lander in size, reputation, relevance and quality of programs, and to get better at all that we do."