Manhattanville Puts Focus on the Future

December 08, 2022
Manhattanville students walking on campus during fall


PURCHASE, NY (December 8, 2022) - With a clear focus on the future, Manhattanville College today announced a series of steps that will reshape its academic programs to align with the interests and goals of today’s students while remaining true to its founding principles and spirit.

The college, which traces its roots to 1841 as a Catholic academy for girls in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and was chartered as a college in 1917, is adding new offerings to attract students and eliminating some programs with chronically low enrollment to continue to thrive and secure its long-term future.

“We must continue to respond and adapt to changing needs and demands of our students,” said Interim President Louise Feroe, Ph.D. “Manhattanville has evolved throughout its long history and learned important lessons over the past few years about the changing landscape of higher education accelerated by the pandemic. As a result, we have emerged ready for the next step in our evolution aiming at our mission of educating students to be ethical and socially responsible leaders in a global society. We must continue be relevant to our smart, savvy students as we prepare them to enter a world that is radically different from the world we knew. We need to equip them for the world as they find it now,” she said. “Change is inevitable, and while not often easy, the path we are forging for the future – one that translates the liberal arts for the 21st century -- will ensure that Manhattanville flourishes and is here for future generations.”

She outlined a plan endorsed by the college’s Board of Trustees for improving efficiency and effectiveness at Manhattanville.

The focal points are:

· Aligning faculty resources with student needs.

· Aligning staff functions to maximize effectiveness.

· Freezing undergraduate majors with very low student enrollment.

· Not reappointing some tenured faculty.

· Creating new, administrative positions for which non-reappointed faculty may apply.

· And creating several new interdisciplinary major programs that will help students confront and solve the issues of tomorrow: e.g. climate change.

“The overall impact of rapid and ongoing changes in the demographic, academic and cultural landscape poses challenges to all institutions of higher learning. Ignoring or denying them is not an option,” Feroe said. “Manhattanville is continuously monitoring, evaluating, and seeking to understand and adjust the academic curriculum and overall campus life to the needs of today’s students. Reforming critical functions of the college is required to sustain Manhattanville’s viability for the future. We will continue to work to address key areas, functions, and processes to enhance the student experience. This will result in both academic and administrative staff changes. I suspect this pattern of continuous review and adjustment will define all of higher education in this country going forward.”

New programs and offerings at Manhattanville include:

Opening of School of Nursing and Health Sciences

In 2020 Manhattanville opened a School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The new school admitted more than 70 nursing students during its first year and continues to grow. Since its opening, Manhattanville has added a Family Nurse Practitioner program and acquired Concordia College’s Radiologic Technologies program. The school offers two undergraduate degrees in nursing: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for traditional 4-year and transfer students, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for second-degree students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. The school of nursing has recently added graduate programs for those seeking to become Family Nurse Practitioners and nurse leaders and a Pharm Tech program.

Feroe noted that “the School of Nursing and Health Science will continue to be an area of growth for Manhattanville. The nursing field continues to expand at an accelerated rate, with the federal government projecting 17% annual growth through 2028. Employment data projections also show strong growth potential for Radiologic Technologists with 30,000 new jobs expected by 2026.”

Online learning

Online learning has quickly grown at colleges and universities nationwide. The college recently launched robust and competitive online programs with the assistance of Academic Partnerships LLC, a company specializing in technology for online learning. Online learning attracts students who would not otherwise attend Manhattanville, although it does not provide revenue streams comparable to those of in-person students.

Center for Design Thinking

Manhattanville is one of the few liberal arts colleges to offer an undergraduate Certificate in Design Thinking, giving students a leg up with employers looking for critical thinking skills. A systematic approach to solving problems, Design Thinking has gained popularity in recent years among business leaders and others because of its emphasis on innovative solutions to complex issues.

Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution

In 2021 Manhattanville’s application to become a Hispanic Serving Institution was approved by the U.S. Department of Education. This designation allows the College to seek federal funding to provide more resources and support for Hispanic students.

Manhattanville has been recognized by “U.S. News and World Report” for Ethnic Diversity. And for two years in a row, the U.S. News and World Report has ranked Manhattanville the number one private, non-profit institution in New York among Top Performers of Social Mobility in Regional Universities

North. For the sixth consecutive year, Manhattanville has been named to the Colleges of Distinction list which recognizes colleges that excel in key areas including student engagement, great teaching, vibrant communities, and successful outcomes. This year, the college is among those that earned the Equity and Inclusion badge from Colleges of Distinction, while continuing to be recognized for excellence with business, education, and career development badges.

Literacy Partnership with Windward School

Earlier this year, the School of Education signed an agreement with the Windward School, one of the top-rated schools for children with language-based learning disabilities. Beginning next fall, Manhattanville will offer Windward’s teachers an exclusive master’s degree program which will serve to attract additional enrollment to the School of Education and enhance its reputation. The college is now working jointly with Windward on offering a certificate for educators who work with students with dyslexia.

In conclusion:

Manhattanville is committed to program and curriculum adjustments and the future

Meeting the challenges confronting all of us, including higher education, requires allocating resources in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible, Feroe explained, noting that “our streamlining along with new initiatives will ensure our future and continue Manhattanville’s mission of educating socially responsible leaders in a global community.”

She concluded: “This time will be seen as an inflection point for Manhattanville. The world and Manhattanville have been profoundly affected by the pandemic. The experience at the college remains vibrant. It is a special place that provides a strong sense of community. Maintaining that community is key to the very effective education Manhattanville offers all our students and will not change as curricular emphases shift with the shifting needs of our students.”

The Interim President succeeded Michael Geisler, who retired on June 30. She noted that the search for a new president will begin in January.