Theme 1: LEARN

We will make bold innovations in relationship-driven learning and mentoring; launch a distinctive school of engineering, add nursing programs and advance students’ data competency.

Promoting data competency

Underscoring Elon’s commitment to ensuring all students are prepared to access, analyze and manipulate complex data, the university launched the Data Nexus initiative as part of a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan developed during its most recent accreditation process. Data Nexus will serve as a coordinating hub for data competency initiatives throughout the plan and beyond. Faculty and departments will design courses and academic experiences to enhance student learning of foundational data literacy skills as well as more advanced data competency working with quantitative and qualitative data.

Advancing relationship-based mentoring

The Mentoring Initiatives Design Team continued its work to develop, foster and elevate strategic partnerships and programs across the institution related to relationship-based mentoring. Its ultimate goal is to provide all members of the university community with sustainable and equitably accessible skills and opportunities to build multiple meaningful relationships during their time at Elon. The team implemented several pilot programs in fall 2023, focused on peer advising, meaningful relationship building for graduate students, first-year student outcomes, peer mentorship development and enhancing an existing program for historically underrepresented minority students.

Conducting NIH research

Three Elon seniors from the Class of 2024 — Christopher D’Inzeo, Samuel Ramirez and Genesis Tolbert — were awarded scholarships from the National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholar Program. The program provides up to $20,000 per academic year in tuition, educational expenses and living expenses, and scholars spend 10 weeks during the summer following each year of academic support working in an NIH research laboratory. After graduation, scholars will spend one year for every year of support as a full-time employee conducting research at the NIH.

Securing Fulbright Awards

Three members of the Class of 2023 and two members of the Class of 2022 were selected to teach English or conduct research abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Elon has been repeatedly recognized for the number of its alumni who participate in the Fulbright Program as teachers and researchers and has been named a top producer of Fulbright students in six separate years. Those receiving awards this year are:

  • JoyceLyn Bentley ’22, teaching English in Botswana.
  • Madeline Fayne ’23, teaching English in France.
  • Emily Katz ’22, teaching English in Spain.
  • Louisa Malchodi ’23, teaching English in Taiwan.
  • Natalie Triche ’23, conducting research in Morocco.

Enhancing STEM education

The university invested in renovations to two of its academic buildings to enhance student learning in those spaces. A former warehouse space in the Gerald L. Francis Center was overhauled to include two floors of skills labs, classrooms and student studies for the undergraduate and graduate programs within the School of Health Sciences. Additionally, teaching and research labs for chemistry, biology and environmental science were upgraded in McMichael Science Center.

Theme 2: THRIVE

We will build a healthier and more diverse, equitable and inclusive community, where all students, faculty and staff experience belonging and well-being.

Enriching living and learning on campus

Several new construction projects are focused on community connectedness and well-being on Elon’s vibrant residential campus:

  • Work is underway for the new HealthEU Center, which will serve as a hub for innovation, collaboration, physical activity, academic instruction, research and well-being. Scheduled to open in 2026, this three-story building is roughly 140,000 square feet and will include offices and space for academic departments; classrooms, labs and spaces for interdisciplinary research; an expanded counseling services clinic; new campus recreation and fitness facilities; a healthy café and demonstration kitchen; an aquatics center; and more.
  • A three-story, 45,000-square-foot East Neighborhood Commons will provide residential, office and gathering space to the university’s newest residential neighborhood. Once completed in fall 2024, the building will include 90 residential rooms for undergraduate students, apartments for faculty and staff in residence, residence life offices, a large multi-purpose space and student engagement areas.
  • A team of student builders broke ground on the first of 12 sustainable houses in the EcoVillage living learning community. With a first phase of six houses opening in fall 2024, the site at Loy Farm’s eastern edge eventually will include housing for 24 students, a commons building and outdoor gathering spaces. Students in the living learning community will be involved with planting and harvesting crops and maintaining the farm as well as the residential area.

Broadening multifaith engagement

Elon adopted a new Multifaith Strategic Plan that builds upon a strong foundation of multifaith education at the university by broadening and deepening opportunities for students, faculty and staff to expand their understanding of different religions, values, belief systems and ways of life. The plan details specific objectives and initiatives for the university to undertake that are designed to increase diversity within the university community, make Elon a more equitable and inclusive campus and community, introduce new opportunities for multifaith engagement, and demonstrate the importance of multifaith learning.

Supporting inclusive excellence

Naeemah Clark, a professor of cinema and television arts and the J. Earl Danieley Distinguished Professor, became Elon’s first associate provost for academic inclusive excellence in August. Clark’s work supporting inclusive excellence and intersectional identities already has been a defining feature of her two decades in higher education. In this role, she promotes inclusive excellence in academic spaces; supports the recruitment, hiring and retention of a diverse faculty and staff; and guides additional campus initiatives and programs.

Highlighting the Black experience

The Black Lumen Project released the inaugural Black Experience at Elon Report, a spotlight on the contributions and achievements of Black students, faculty and staff at Elon and an overview of a wide range of programs around inclusive excellence that are underway on campus. The Black Lumen Project is an initiative to enhance the Black experience at Elon in the pursuit of equity and to move the university further in its commitment to inclusive excellence. Read the report here

Championing faculty and staff

From left: Distinguished University Professorship recipient Ann Cahill, Distinguished Emerging Scholar in Religious Studies Sheila Otieno, Japheth E. Rawls Professorship for Undergraduate Research in Science recipient Chris Richardson, Distinguished University Professorship recipient Mary Jo Festle and Trustee Chair for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recipient Kristina Meinking.

Professor of Classical Languages Kristina Meinking was honored as the inaugural Trustee Chair for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Meinking was selected for this recognition based on her commitment to innovative, inclusive and engaged pedagogical strategies across a variety of teaching and mentoring contexts. The endowed chair was established by the Elon University Board of Trustees to recognize an Elon faculty member for excellence in teaching and to provide support for their promotion of undergraduate teaching excellence.

Additionally, four other Elon faculty members received endowed professorships in 2023:

  • Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Sheila Otieno was honored with the Distinguished Emerging Scholar in Religious Studies professorship, which recognizes a junior faculty member who has potential for a distinguished academic career in religious studies.
  • Associate Professor of Astrophysics Chris Richardson was honored with the Japheth E. Rawls Professorship of Undergraduate Research in Science, a rotating two-year professorship that supports the efforts of faculty engagement with students in the scholarship of scientific discovery.
  • Professor of Philosophy and Director of the National and International Fellowships Office Ann Cahill and Maude Sharpe Powell Professor and Professor of History Mary Jo Festle were honored as Distinguished University Professors. The professorship honors a senior faculty member’s teaching, scholarship, leadership and service to the university community.

Professor of Religious Studies Amy Allocco was awarded two major research fellowships — a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship through the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, as well as a senior fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies — that will allow her to conduct an ethnographic study in Tamil Nadu, India.

Professor of Art History Kirstin Ringelberg is the recipient of a Clark Art Institute fellowship to complete their manuscript about art genres and genders in 19th and 20th century France. Ringelberg is the institute’s 2023-24 Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation Fellow and is in residence in Williamston, Massachusetts, at the Clark campus, an art museum and center for research and higher education in the visual arts. It is one of only a handful of fellowships dedicated to art history.

Jonathan A. McElderry, dean of student inclusive excellence and assistant professor, has been elected to serve as the 86th President of ACPA – College Student Educators International, becoming the first Elon staff member to lead the national association of student affairs professionals. McElderry will serve as president-elect in 2024 and begin his one-year term as president in March 2025.

Theme 3: CONNECT

We will develop lifelong alumni personal and professional learning and networks; will partner with our local communities to enhance education, health and economic development; and will win athletics conference championships and lead our conference in academic performance.

Investing in the teacher pipeline

Recent graduates Matt Trez, Matt LaFuria and Zoë Rein became the first cohort in Teach for Alamance, a program established in 2023 by the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education at Elon University to recruit and retain top talent to local public schools. In exchange for a two-year commitment to teach in the Alamance-Burlington School System, new Elon graduates receive a full scholarship to the university’s Master of Education in Innovation program, as well as an annual stipend to help with living expenses.

Expanding Elon’s national footprint

Elon launched its newest national campus program in Charlotte in September, joining existing centers in Los Angeles; New York; Washington, D.C.; and Greensboro, North Carolina. Elon Charlotte houses The Sport Experience cohort, an immersive semester in the city geared toward sport management students, and the new Elon Law Flex Program, designed to allow working professionals to complete their law degree in four years. Classes for the Elon Law Flex Program will begin in fall 2024 as the only in-person law program offered in Charlotte. Elon’s national locations each act as a hub of activities that include expanded academic programs and offerings and new opportunities for current students through internships and Elon’s Study USA program. The centers also provide professional development and networking opportunities for alumni; admissions information for prospective families; and lifelong learning, professional education and cultural opportunities for their communities.

Cementing a legacy of excellence

The Elon women’s cross country team won its fifth consecutive Coastal Athletic Association Championship in October, with five runners placing among the top 12 finishers. Elon has won every CAA Women’s Cross Country title since first taking the title in 2019. In fact, Elon’s program (including women’s cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field) has now won the last nine CAA championship meets.

Supporting the local community

The university continues to grow its Campus Alamance program, attracting 41 student interns in summer 2023. Facilitated by Elon’s nationally recognized Student Professional Development Center and the Kernodle Center for Civic Life, this paid, eight-week internship program, offered at no expense to the employers, partners businesses, nonprofit organizations and government entities in Alamance County with talented Elon University interns for a mutually beneficial experience.

Theme 4: RISE

We will position the university globally, expanding our admissions footprint, raising resources to support increased access and financial aid, and sharply defining international reputation and value.

New academic programs

Elon continued to expand its roster of majors and interdisciplinary minors, providing students with even more opportunities to cultivate sought-after skills through experiential learning and a rich arts and sciences foundation. Highlights include new majors in financial technology and classical studies, a mechanical engineering concentration, and minors in health communications, expressive arts, food studies, sustainable enterprises, and global film and cultures.

Achieving success on and off the field

Under the guidance of Athletics Director Jenn Strawley, who took the reins Aug. 1, Elon athletics excelled nationally in the NCAA’s 2022-23 Graduation Success Rate, highlighted by an overall single-year GSR of 96%, which is the eighth year in a row Elon has been either first or second in the Coastal Athletic Association. In addition, 10 Elon athletics programs earned a perfect 100% score: men’s basketball, men’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s soccer, women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, women’s tennis and volleyball. Elon is one of five schools in the CAA in which every athletic program achieved a GSR of 80% or higher.

Expanding student recruitment

Elon continues to see strong growth in admissions, receiving a record 18,788 applications for the Class of 2027. A total of 1,677 first-year students enrolled, with an average GPA of 4.09. Twenty percent of first-year students identified as students of color, an increase over previous years. Elon continues to attract students from a broad geographic footprint, with the Class of 2027 coming from 44 states and Washington, D.C., and 14 other countries.