President Addresses Campus Community at State of the College

By | April 26, 2019
Daemen President Gary Olson
Daemen President Gary Olson

In his spring State of the College address, Daemen College President Gary Olson noted several key successes and reaffirmed the college’s steady progress and institutional strengths.

“As I reflect on the past year, there is much to celebrate and to be proud of that has advanced the college’s success and stability,” said Olson. “We have worked hard to elevate Daemen as a leader among higher education institutions and ensured that we have the resources available that will preserve and enhance excellence across the college.”

During his address, Olson discussed an ongoing multi-year project to upgrade Daemen’s science facilities located in Duns Scotus Hall.

“We continue to work hard to provide our students and faculty with cutting-edge facilities,” he said. “Our top priority over the last several years has been the renovation of our science labs and classrooms, which will greatly enhance the learning experience for our students.”

The science facilities initiative has included renovation of two large lecture hall classrooms with instructional spaces designed for more interactive learning experiences and various teaching formats, and have been equipped with technology enhancements. Work on a key general biology lab has also been completed.

“This is an especially important project because more than 60 percent of our incoming undergraduates are natural sciences or health-related majors, making the general biology laboratory one of the most widely used learning spaces on campus,” said Olson, noting that other science spaces will be refurbished over the summer.

Olson also announced major facility enhancements are near completion on Daemen’s historic Curtis Hall, which houses the college’s Institute for Government and Nonprofit Innovation, Training, and Evaluation (IGNITE). Maximizing IGNITE’s use of Curtis Hall, the project includes additional training and conference rooms, upgraded technology infrastructure, improved accessibility, a new heating and cooling system, and other modifications.

Acknowledging enrollment challenges in higher education, Olson emphasized that Daemen has taken strategic steps to increase the college’s enrollment and enhance its recruitment efforts. Among the measures has been the administrative reorganization of enrollment management and student affairs, and adjusting recruitment priorities, practices, and personnel, all of which have already shown positive results.

In academics, Olson discussed the college’s expanded online program offerings, including the new online master of social work degree, making Daemen the only private institution in the Buffalo Niagara region to offer the MSW degree in a fully online format. The college has also added an online option for the RN to BS degree program, giving nurses with a two-year degree the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in an online format.

“Increasing our online options has proven to be an effective way to increase enrollment and grow the prominence of our high-quality, robust academic programs,” said Olson.

He also highlighted Daemen’s new bachelor’s degree in data science, which is one of the most in-demand fields in the country. “Rapid job growth in data science led us to establish a rigorous data science curriculum to help meet the increasing demand for trained professionals in the field,” said Olson. “Adding emerging degree offerings like data science is one of the many ways we can attract and retain students.”

In addition, Olson pointed to Daemen’s new status as a multi-campus college with the elevation of the institution’s Brooklyn-based extension center to branch campus status.

“This new status as a multi-campus college will enable us to potentially expand our Brooklyn offerings, further ensuring our fiscal health,” he said.

In his address, Olson applauded several recent faculty and staff achievements and successes in athletics, and cited a number of institutional distinctions that Daemen has earned over the academic year. One of the most significant is the college’s elevation to the top tier classification – doctoral – in the Carnegie Classification system, making Daemen one of only two private colleges in Western New York to earn this prestigious designation. Daemen has been advanced from the master’s colleges and universities category to the doctoral/professional universities classification.

“The college’s change in the Carnegie Classification status, along with our being named a multi-campus university by the State of New York, have propelled Daemen to a new level of sophistication and prominence,” said Olson.