I’ve been saying for quite some time that we have to get bigger to get better — and we’re doing just that! Bigger is the easier part: We’ve hired more faculty and admitted more students of increasing quality from our strong applicant pools. Better requires vision, goals and strategies.
In my 2014 State of the University message, I announced a 20 by 2020 plan: Binghamton University will reach 20,000 students by 2020. As we grow, we will change our mix of undergraduate to graduate students, increasing our graduate student enrollment to 30 percent of our overall enrollment from our current 19 percent.
Additional growth will come from adding programs and schools. In January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo included $10 million in his executive budget to jump-start our school of pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy. The money is the first installment of a $60 million promise and will be used to complete the design and site preparation work for a building to house the new school, most likely in neighboring Johnson City and adjacent to local hospitals. Our final proposal for the school goes to Albany this spring, and we expect to enroll our first students of pharmacy in fall 2017.
I’ve also proposed what I call Binghamton’s 4-1-1 program. This will target the best undergraduates in our traditional majors, offering them opportunities for career-based, credit-bearing internships and advanced coursework in their majors the year after earning their bachelor’s degree and prior to another year of master’s-level education. This master’s program will allow students to gain real-world experience in leading labs, publishing companies, museums, financial institutions, hospitals, industry and schools.
We have a lot of work to do, but I’m confident these initiatives will advance us on our path to becoming the premier public university of the 21st century.