Bradley’s future 2012–2017: Structuring success

Overarching Strategic Goals:

  1. Enhance educational excellence and value of a Bradley education
  2. Enhance Bradley’s living and working environment
  3. Enhance Bradley’s operations, endowment, and resource efficiencies to support activities of national distinction

“Ambitious, assessable, and, above all, bold, the Strategic Plan explodes with progress, lighting our pathway to national distinction and requiring personal commitment from all of us.” Provost David Glassman exudes confidence and enthusiasm about the five-year Strategic Plan the University has embarked on since the Board of Trustees approved the initiative in January. The University Senate strategic planning committee of 20 faculty, staff, and students met for 12 months under the guidance of Glassman, with a goal of being transparent, inclusive, and innovative. 

Following on the heels of an unprecedented rejuvenation of physical facilities, this Strategic Plan focuses on three overarching initiatives: enhancing educational excellence and the value of a Bradley education; enhancing Bradley’s living and working environment; and enhancing Bradley’s operations, endowment, and resource efficiencies to support activities of national distinction. 

A key component is to enrich academic progress. Some of the initiatives include conducting a comprehensive review of the general education model; increasing faculty-student collaboration in undergraduate research; creating a School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and completing an in-depth analysis of the Graduate School’s programs, structure, and brand. 

“Our intellectual potential is enormous,” Glassman explains. “Our world-class faculty will continue to create new classes and new majors to meet marketplace demands and to expose our students to fields on the cutting edge. We are concentrating on building our enrollment, while simultaneously increasing our student selectivity to create an even stronger student academic profile. Enhancing our academic excellence reflects on a bigger stage that the value of a Bradley degree is one of great substance.”

Glassman acknowledges that ramping up ongoing renovations to Cullom-Davis Library is also a component of academic progress. Plans call for improvements in journal databases, more space for group study, more power outlets, and other needs recognized by a library task force.

Constructing an engineering/business convergence center


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Unlike the previous five-year Strategic Plan where dramatic physical changes occurred simultaneously, the administration is focusing on building only one major structure: the engineering/business convergence center. The facility will be home to both the Foster College of Business Administration and the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology, “a model of engineering and business that represents a growing trend in higher education,” Glassman notes. The most ambitious academic facility campaign in Bradley’s history will support a key initiative to facilitate greater collaborative efforts between the two colleges.

“Of course, the convergence center will fall in line with our broadening sustainability efforts,” Glassman explains. “We will construct the facility at LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building standards and continue to increase our sustainability awareness in all areas across campus.”

Three feasibility studies

The Strategic Plan also explores how to enrich student and campus life. A comprehensive review of current residential living facilities is taking place while the University explores the future needs of residence halls. A study to consider improving or replacing the Michel Student Center is also under way. The feasibility of establishing a law school and how it could impact students and the community is being researched. 

A vital component to the success of the Strategic Plan lies in the University’s ability to engage its 60,000 alumni, and measures are being taken to expand the reach of Alumni Relations. “Although we remain financially strong with an endowment of more than $230 million,” Glassman says, “we must increase our resources to move this Strategic Plan forward to support our quest for national distinction. We are climbing mountains on the Hilltop.”

— Karen Crowley Metzinger, MA ’97

Bradley’s got game

JESSICA MARDER ’13, NICK TROMPETER ’12, and ANSON GOODE ’14 try out the game “Squirrelologist: Playing with Squirrels.” It was designed by Trompeter, a student in the game design program.

Bradley earned an honorable mention in The Princeton Review’s third annual list of the best undergraduate schools for studying video game design. 

Fifty schools in the United States and Canada were recognized in March for their game design education programs. Rankings were based on a survey of 150 institutions offering game design coursework or degrees. Topics in the survey included curriculum quality, faculty, infrastructure, and facilities. Also considered was information on scholarships, financial aid, and career opportunities. 

“Our program provides students a unique learning experience working across disciplines to advance their knowledge and skills,” said Bradley President Joanne Glasser. “This program prepares students to meet the challenges ahead and succeed in the workplace.” 

Bradley’s interdisciplinary program started in 2010 and will have its first graduates this year. Students focus on both programming and game design, learning terminology and methods for both disciplines. They are prepared to use the technology not only in game design but in other fields such as medical simulation and manufacturing. 

“What makes Bradley stand out is our interdisciplinary approach between the computer science and interactive media programs. Computer science is programming intensive and interactive media is design intensive,” said Steve Dolins, chairman of the computer science and information systems department. 

The Princeton Review, a leading educational services company, ranked the University of Southern California top for both undergraduate and graduate programs. DePaul University and Columbia College were the only other Illinois schools honored. 

— Bob Grimson ’81

Accounting for success

Bradley’s accounting students are near the top of the class with the second-highest passing rate for first-time Certified Public Accountant candidates among four-year schools in the state, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. 

BU’s rate of 69.6 percent was well above the national average of 53 percent and was just a fraction of a percentage off the leading school, the University of Illinois, Chicago. Twenty-eight Illinois schools were included in the report.

“We consistently have above-average pass rates.” said accounting professor Dr. Simon Petravick. “For many positions in accounting, the certification is required. It gives you eligibility for promotion beyond entry-level positions.”

Students must pass the exam’s four parts, covering auditing, financial accounting and reporting, taxes, and business environment and concepts. Tests can be taken in any order at any time, and they take about 14 hours to complete, according to Petravick. 

“It’s a big benefit for an accountant to pass this exam,” he said, adding that Bradley has a near 100 percent job placement rate for accounting graduates.