by Malik Glaspie, Managing Editor
On Wednesday, July 19, the Spartan Echo had an opportunity to sit down with Norfolk State University President and CEO Eddie N. Moore, Jr. (Editor’s Note: The entire unedited interview is available as embedded video at the end of this article.)
Several topics were discussed ranging from the usual annual discussion of financial aid and enrollment, but we also went in depth on newer innovations of the newly built Brown Hall replacement and the relaunching of a new Norfolk State logo and branding strategy. No matter the topic, we found ourselves with a multitude of new information as President Moore had nothing to hold back from telling his fellow Spartans.
“We are forecasting a one percent increase, even over last year; that’s our official forecast,” said President Moore. “But as of last week, Dr. Shackleford was rather bullish and he thinks we may exceed a five percent increase, which would be 250-300 students more.”
We decided to get specific and ask how student enrollment, especially freshman enrollment, would benefit NSU in the upcoming school year.
“This school is designed to have between six and seven thousand students. That’s the way the budget was designed, that’s the way the facilities are designed. So, we’ve really been under-utilizing our capacity for the last four years. I’m excited to get back above the six thousand level because I think the students that are here will really see a difference. It allows us to provide more student activities; there are certain things that are calculated to be done with student fees. The more students we have, the more we can spread the wealth, the more things we can do to enhance the experience here at Norfolk State.”
Almost every year, for the past few, Norfolk raises tuition to meet its financial obligations; however, the Governor and the General Assembly have come to realize we are a “Limited Resource” institution according to President Moore. The Commonwealth of Virginia has acknowledged that we are a smaller institution, so no budget cuts were proposed this year from either political party. Although this is great news, President Moore is still cautious about the future and will have further discussions on what NSU needs financially over the course of the next two years.
“The Governor did not propose a cut, even though revenues were short, nor did the General Assembly. So, we were one of only two, maybe three, institutions that had no reductions to the budget at all. On behalf of all the students, faculty, and everyone I am very, very grateful for that. If you saw in the paper (the Virginian-Pilot), I think it was last week, maybe ten days ago, the Governor announced that the state had closed the year with $132 million dollars more than it thought. Now that sounds like a lot of money, but we have a multiple billions dollar state budget. So, it’s a lot of money, if they send it all to Norfolk State; it’s not a lot of money to carry (the entire state) forward. I’m still concerned about the future. We actually meet Monday, July 24, to present what we believe we need over this year and the next two years.”
Since 2014, Norfolk State has been diligently working on the Brown Hall replacement building. However, President Moore said it has not been named yet and says we will find out in September if the Board of Visitors transfers the name over to the new building. Moore gave the Spartan Echo further details about the replacement building, including when the opening ceremony will be held.
“I am told that we will officially open the building, or at least most of it, on August 18. I’ve been through the building twice and it has marvelous features of a new and larger theater, training rooms for theater productions, it actually has an outdoor classroom on the upper floor of it. It is approximately 174,000 square feet and should be a really nice start of the new academic year.”
Other changes that may be noticeable on campus are the renovations done to both dining facilities, the Student Union, and resident halls, which President Moore is expecting to be full.
As we see many outside changes occurring, such as the new replacement building for Brown Hall, many internal changes are happening as well. Norfolk State has made many changes in its roster of faculty, which require full-time faculty to possess a terminal degree. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires that 25% of all courses in a major be taught by someone with a terminal degree. President Moore exceeds this by stating his goal is to have more than 50% of academic programs be taught by personnel with terminal degrees. The Provost’s Office, however, is aiming for 100% of full-time faculty to possess a terminal degree, as stated by Dr. Stacy Franklin Jones in the university administration’s May closing conference with faculty.
When asked if his employment goals will change the environment of the classroom, President Moore said “I don’t expect it to. I think we’re being very careful in hiring. It may require a little more effort on part of the students, but we think that’s important, too, that students are perceived to be getting a degree that’s equal to all others. I know it is, but we also have to have others to agree that it is.”
One of the biggest changes that may come to Norfolk State is the launching of its new brand, relaunching of the school’s website, and the creation of a mobile friendly NSU app. The new logo will debut the first week of August. President Moore emphasizes that it marks a new beginning for Norfolk State.
“Every institution changes its logo over time. If you notice, in most of my speeches, I call it the new Norfolk State. So, what we want to do is really show that it’s a new and different array of courses, new and different buildings, and it’s a very new Norfolk State.”
As for the website and app, President Moore emphasizes that the main goal is for students to have more control over their classes and curriculum.
Lastly, President Moore ended the interview with his own personal thoughts of what he expects to see from Norfolk State this year and heavy praise of Norfolk State’s athletic program. Moore dove into how he is especially excited for the volleyball, men and women cross country, and football events. Our football season starts off with an exciting rivalry game between Norfolk State and Virginia State. Several other games follow on the schedule that include William & Mary, Florida A & M, Hampton, and a special homecoming game against Savannah State.
“NSU students are our clients and all of you are why we are here to do what we do. We want your future to be seen by all. While matriculating here, we will make every effort to ensure a safe environment for your learning and growth. We do this, as our mission statement reads, to empower you to turn your aspirations into realities and achieve your fullest potential as well-rounded, resourceful, citizens and leaders for the 21st century. We see the future in you!”
Video production by Lateef Gibson, Norfolk State University Media Services.