“The imposing edifice of science provides a challenging view of what can be achieved by the accumulation of many small efforts in a steady objective and dedicated search for truth.”
— CHARLES TOWNES, father of the LASER, Nobel Prize-winner in physics and 1935 Furman University graduate
The Furman Advantage is a simple idea: Combine emotional support and engaged learning with outstanding mentoring and excellent academics. Track and connect it all – thoughtfully and purposefully – and students will graduate ready to pursue fulfilling lives.
But explaining this can be difficult. So, I asked our communications team to develop an infographic (page 9). The image is a combination of rings representing the different components of The Furman Advantage — classroom learning, mentoring and advising, engaged learning and career/graduate preparation. At the center – at its core – is “reflection.”
Reflection powers The Furman Advantage, and it drives the change, growth and understanding that our students experience in their four years at Furman.
We launched The Furman Advantage in the fall of 2016 with $47 million from The Duke Endowment. It is our promise to provide every student with an educational experience that will prepare them for meaningful and successful lives and careers.
So, as we look back on this past year, celebrate our accomplishments, and think about the future, we reflect on our calling, with a reminder to always focus on students and the student experience.
The research shows that this approach works. In the national Furman-Gallup study launched nearly two years ago, Furman alumni across generations report having had higher-than-national-average levels of the emotional and engaged learning experiences that make up Gallup’s “Big Six” indicators for well-lived lives.
Moreover, Furman alumni score at least 14 points higher than the national average in each of the five indicators of well-being. On campus, our faculty and staff are in the top 5% of the most engaged employees in higher education and the top 25% across all industries — both off the charts, according to Gallup. Why is this important? Because the No. 1 driver of student engagement is faculty engagement.
The research is also showing us areas where we can improve — and we’re on it. We’re increasing our efforts to build affinity and to prove the value of a Furman degree. We’re also building an ecosystem of career support for students, with such discussions starting when students arrive at Furman and continuing through their four-year pathways.
As you can see in the following pages, we’ve made great strides in a number of areas, including increasing our community connections and diversity and inclusion, all of which are critical to providing the educational experience our students deserve and need to become engaged and responsible citizens.
Please join us in reflecting on our calling and looking ahead to an ambitious future.