NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As the new President of Southern Connecticut State University, Joe Bertolino has wasted no time getting to work and getting to know his students.

“I fell in love with the place almost instantly,” said Bertolino.

It’s a striking New Haven campus, and his first order of business is to make sure people know it.

“I think southern Connecticut is a gem a lot of people rather don’t know about, don’t know a lot about or just take for granted,” said Bertolino.

The school faces challenges.

For the last decade enrollment at Southern has declined.

“All colleges, throughout the country, particularly in the Northeast and new England – as enrollment declines competition for those students’ increases,” said Bertolino.

This year the new class of 1400 students has hit its target, plus retention is up.

To push the school forward, Bertolino is setting out to make Southern Connecticut State University more accessible, especially for part time students.

Students that just can’t find the time because they are working. The solution to that is more flexible scheduling, more online programming more weekend and evening etc,” said Bertolino.

Highlighting curriculum current to workforce needs, especially in the Nutmeg state.

Pushing forward affordable education in fields like biotechnology, through a new, state of the art science center.

It’s also well known for its school of education, which is the largest producer of teachers/administrators in the state.

“I think people would be surprised. We have one of the best nursing programs in the country…top ten,” said Bertolino.

“My job as president is to ensure we raise the profile that people know we are here, provide opportunities for the next phase of their life,” said Bertolino.