Engineering school and new residence hall among goals in university’s strategic plan, Struppa says

The strategic plan states that Chapman will dedicate $202 million for 1,303 additional beds in new student residence projects, including the new residence halls across from Dodge. Graphic provided by Chapman University.

The Fowler School of Engineering and new residence hall will be completed by the fall of 2019 at which a new computer engineering program will become available, President Daniele Struppa announced in his third annual State of the University Address on Friday.

“The Fowler School of Engineering is going to be different than anything you’ve ever seen in the world of academia,” Struppa said, showcasing the architectural design and blueprints of the new infrastructure.

Struppa talked about the 2018-2023 strategic plan in the Musco Center for the arts on Friday. In the next five years, Chapman plans to expand endowment, invest in engineering majors, and finish building student housing, he said.  

The university’s current five-year plan, “Engineering the Future” prioritizes completion of the Fowler School of Engineering, which will open in fall 2019.

The engineering wing of the Keck building is going to be completely open space,” Struppa said.  “There will be no faculty offices, which is a unique feature that distinguishes the building apart from other buildings on-campus. Students can use this space to sit together, form discussions, and do homework,” Struppa said.

Chapman will also be implementing three new engineering programs as part of the strategic plan to expand the school’s research agenda: a minor and B.S in Computer Engineering (fall 2019), B.S in Electrical Engineering (fall 2020), and M.S in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (fall 2022).

Struppa also evinced pleasure at what he said was an increasing diversity of student backgrounds among the student population. According to statistics provided by the university, the largest increase by race/ethnicity was in the Asian and Hispanic/Latino populations, and 42 percent of the student population identifies as a race/ethnicity other than white. Struppa said he expected an increase in first generation students at Chapman University .

“First generation students increased from 19.8 percent of the total population in Fall ‘17 to 20.4 percent this academic year,” said Struppa..

The university has already taken measures to optimize the campus footprint, which is another goal in the 2018 strategic plan. Chapman plans to house 50 percent of its undergraduate students in on-campus housing by the end of this year. The opening of Chapman Grand in the fall of 2018 and the Villa Orchard Park Residence halls being built across from the Dodge College of Media Arts will help to meet that goal, the president said.  The remodeling and expansion of existing campus buildings, new dining and recreation facilities, and the opening of a Brain Institute at the Rinker Health Sciences campus in Irvine, are also underway, he said.

“The new dorms will be extremely beneficial for Dodge students, making it more convenient and time-efficient for them to get to class,” Struppa said.

Projects such as the building of the Fowler School of Engineering and new residence halls require funding from student tuition or endowments from donors. Consequently, the university has adopted a fundraising campaign as its last goal in the strategic plan. That, he said, is going well, with a new $10 million endowment received recently from an anonymous donor.  

The Fowler School of Engineering will open in the fall of 2019. Graphic provided by Chapman University.

“In 2018, Chapman received an endowment of $9,682,000, which is really impressive,” said Struppa, noting the university has almost $400 million in its overall endowment.

According to Chapman University’s website, the comprehensive campaign is a seven to ten year goal of raising $500 million to “expand the endowment, support capital, and academic program enhancements, and increase scholarship support for students,” that should be reached by 2023. The university has set a goal to have a $38 million endowment by 2029.

Tiffany Chen

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