Education Executive - Summer 2012 - (Page 50)
COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
Coastal Carolina University delivers quality education based on the needs of its students on a campus with a true sense of community.
hen the economy is struggling, the value of a good education is never higher. Keeping that value high in the face of rising enrollment and rising costs isn’t easy for any institution, but Coastal Carolina University nevertheless has managed to do so. The university, based in Conway, S.C., was named one of the best colleges in the United States in 2012 by U.S. News and World Report, and in 2011 the university was recognized again by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Best Colleges.
There’s no magic formula or easy fix for maintaining a high level of achievement in such a challenging environment, but President Dr. David DeCenzo says the best way to start is by remembering whom the university serves. “I think if you look at the common thread through all the work I’ve done in and out of academia, the common thread is the student and it’s recognizing that we are here for them,” he says. As an experienced educator and administrator long before he became president of Coastal Carolina University in 2007, DeCenzo says he bases all of his decisions on what will be best for the students overall. Through this grounding, Coastal Carolina University has been able to make significant improvements in the last few years, even as state support dwindles due to the economy. The university’s focus on student satisfaction will continue to be the foundation for its success as it works to deal with the growth it is experiencing, as well.
When it comes to working with the university’s staff and faculty, DeCenzo says his leadership style is based in empathy and empowerment. “You cannot be a leader unless you understand what it is to be a follower, and I think a great deal of leadership is serving others,” he says. “It’s setting the direction, surrounding yourself with good people and then getting out of their way.” “Every employee has a goal; they have personal goals that they are trying to achieve,” he says. “What am I doing to help them achieve their goals in a way that transcends them? People have to trust that they can count on you for consistency, they can count on you for setting the overarching direction, and at the same time count on you to work with them one-on-one when needed.”
Listening to Students
DeCenzo has experience as a professor at the University of Baltimore and Towson University in Baltimore. However, between those two institutions, he spent time as a training and employee development specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland. DeCenzo says the perspective he gained in the private sector has allowed him to apply a customer service focus to student relations at Coastal Carolina University. The administration is actively involved in soliciting and gathering feedback from students, DeCenzo says. Armed with this knowledge, the university makes decisions about majors and other strategic initiatives.
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DeCenzo is quick to point out that the reasons for Coastal Carolina University’s success go beyond his individual efforts. “There are outstanding educational opportunities on this campus, and our school is being recognized for the quality of the education that is taking place,” he says. In addition to the high-quality faculty and staff on campus, Coastal Carolina University also benefits from a unique location on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean that provide educational opportunities not found at many other institutions.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Executive - Summer 2012
Education Executive - Summer 2012
Can't Live Without It
Broadening the Student Experience
Upgrading Facilities on Tight Budgets
Haylor, Freyer & Coon ◆ N.Y.
Anne Arundel Community College ◆ MD
Humber College ◆ Ont.
Grove City College ◆ PA
Broome Community College ◆ N.Y.
Coastal Carolina University ◆ S.C.
Cuyahoga Community College ◆ Ohio
Ottawa University ◆ Kan.
Brazosport College ◆ Texas
Idaho State University ◆ Idaho
Hillsborough Community College ◆ Fla.
Post University ◆ Conn.
Union College ◆ N.Y.
University of New Mexico ◆ N.M.
Naperville School District 203 ◆ Ill.
Santa Barbara Unified School District ◆ Calif.
Acadia Parish School Board ◆ LA
Mounds View Public Schools ◆ Minn.
Central Community School District ◆ LA
Chelmsford Public Schools ◆ Mass.
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District ◆ Mass.
86elmira City Schools ◆ N.Y.
Glendora Usd ◆ Calif.
Harnett County Schools ◆ N.C.
Holmes County School District ◆ Miss.
Jefferson Parish Public School System ◆ LA
Harlandale Independent School District ◆ Texas
Kyrene School District ◆ Ariz.
Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools #00 ◆ Ariz.
Kenosha Unified School District ◆ Wis.
Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District ◆ Texas
Maryland School for the Deaf ◆ MD
Mclean County District Unit No. 5 ◆ Ill.
Williamson County Schools ◆ Tenn.
Mesa Public Schools ◆ Ariz.
Palmdale School District ◆ Calif.
Plain Local School District ◆ Ohio
St. Martin Parish Schools ◆ LA
Oak Harbor School District ◆ Wash.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools ◆ MD
Vancouver Island University ◆ B.C.
Brandon School Division ◆ MB
Dalhousie University ◆ N.S.
Peace River School Division ◆ AB
University of Sudbury ◆ Ont.
Sandy Spring Friends School
The Pomfret School ◆ Conn.
Riverside Military Academy ◆ GA
The Thacher School ◆ Calif.
Education Executive - Summer 2012