NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A local university placed on probation by it’s accrediting agency isn’t losing hope.
During this year’s State of the University address, officials at Norfolk State said they’re “re-positioning for a brighter future.” The school’s interim president, Eddie Moore Jr., laid out his plans for the new year, and had several challenges to address, but not without support.
Hundreds of NSU employees packed the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center on campus for the opening conference Monday. It sets the tone for the year, and when WAVY.com spoke to Moore shortly afterwards, he was not shy about noting there’s a lot of work to be done to turn things around.
“The single largest challenge we face will be the SACS accreditation,” Moore said. “The outcome from that, there’s very high expectations. I would suspect they’re really going to look for all the audits, because five audits in 20 months is amazing. We need to do a better job of defining ourselves and not letting others define us.”
NSU is ready for that word, “amazing,” to finally mean something positive, again.
Virginia Secretary of Education and Former First Lady of Virginia Anne Holton was also there Monday, and she told WAVY.com she fully anticipates the school coming off of probation this year.
“My governor, my legislature and I are fully behind NSU and proud to be along for the ride as we move towards NSU’s brighter future,” Holton said. I’m particularly interested in the strong things NSU’s already doing and that we can help them to help more women and minorities get into jobs in Stem-H.”
One of the school’s efforts that pays off this year will be executing a grant received for cyber security. It’s about making NSU a place where students can truly succeed, and after last year’s lagging enrollment numbers, President Moore hinted that more students might be on the receiving end.
“We predicted a class of 500,” Moore said. “It now looks like that class will be larger than what we predicted, although, you won’t pin me down to that today. So, we may have to do adjustments, in terms of faculty load.”
Moore said he will make that announcement later this week.
Money was also a talking point Monday. NSU has revised its budget requests for the state, asking for more funds, but the university is counting on friends and alumni, too. The school holds a fundraising goal of $3 million. So far, they’ve raised $1.2 million.