Dear Campus Colleagues:
In early February, the President’s Council and I solicited your ideas on how the University might respond to an anticipated decline in our enrollments resulting from changes to the LDS Church missionary age requirements. To date more than 430 submissions have been received. Some of the ideas submitted were innovative, others strategic. I wish to thank all of you who provided input and took the time to give careful thought as to how we might improve our focus of limited resources to the best strategic advantage. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.
To aid in evaluating the list of suggestions, a Budget Task Force was convened and charged with evaluating the suggestions. Membership on this task force included:
Steve Barney, Faculty Senate President
Ron Cardon, Staff Association President
Ryan Horlacher, Student Body President
Bryant Flake, Budget Director
Brad Cook, Provost
Dorian Page, Vice President for Finance
Donna Eddleman, Vice President for Student Services
I want to publicly thank the Task Force for their analysis, advice and frank evaluation of the suggestions provided. The Task Force classified your submissions using three categories: (1) Should be implemented; (2) Possible, but needs further review; (3) Not possible, in the context of the University’s core functions and strategic priorities. We have had much success of late in both differentiating ourselves among USHE institutions and retaining and graduating more students. These priorities must and will remain our chief focus despite the anticipated fiscal challenges.
The resulting list was provided to the President's Council for analysis and final decisions. We have spent hours as a Council going over possibilities and considering which strategies should be implemented.
While the decision-making process will be on-going, I want to share with you some of the progress the President's Council has made to date. The Task Force and I met with members of the SUU Board of Trustees this morning to explain how we arrived at some of our recommended solutions, while also considering what other options we might have moving forward.
The varied suggestions align with seven core themes, listed here in priority order. Priority order is based on the frequency of responses, with the first item listed being the most common theme throughout all suggestions.
• Reduce administrative costs/eliminate administrative positions
• Recruit and accommodate non-traditional/out-of-state students/increase online instruction
• Reduce funding for Athletics
• Reduce contracts; modify benefits
• Recruit more non-resident and international students
• Consolidate services and increase efficiencies
• Reduce the cost and/or funding of campus events and student activities
Within each theme are ideas that either increase revenue or reduce costs. Let me share with you some of what the President’s Council has agreed upon within each of those two areas.
However, it is important to note that what we will not be implementing the following suggestions:
• employee furloughs
• employee salary reductions (unless voluntary through contract reductions),
• a second-tier tuition increase
Revenue Generating opportunities include:
• The strengthening of online graduate enrollments
• The implementation of an online General Studies degree
• The development of a more focused approach to marketing our online programs
• The expansion of summer enrollment offerings
• The strengthening of recruitment efforts in foreign countries (Korea/China primarily)
• The implementation of a “faculty calling” initiative to aid in student “yield” efforts
• The expansion of the University’s non-resident target market
• The implementation of a “Strategic Admit” strategy within recruitment
• The expansion of our community education offerings
• The implementation of a Professional Pilot AAS degree
• The establishment of a Pre-med institute
• The development of improved efficiencies and effectiveness within the Grants Office
• The continued cultivation of donors to aid in our strategic efforts to grow the institution and graduate more students
• The improved utilization of University real estate assets.
Reduction-In-Cost initiatives will include the following:
• A reduction in professional staff positions
• A reduction in the number of Vice Presidents
• A consolidation of some administrative personnel within departments
• A consolidation of personnel within athletics
• The modification of the athletics marketing plan and associated commitments
• The granting of early retirements when appropriate
• The acceptance of voluntary contract reductions
• A recalibration of use and the associated value of cell-phone stipends across campus
• A modification of the tuition waiver benefit (with a grandfather clause for all current employees)
• The assessment of a consistent and minimal parking fee for faculty, staff and students to cover parking lot lease costs, striping and repair.
• The implementation of a one-stop shop for enrollment management services coupled with a streamlined transcript request process
• The consolidation of Student Involvement and Leadership and Leavitt Center for Politics
• The consolidation of campus tutoring and mentoring services
• The development of a Speaker’s Bureau to consolidate resources, increase
efficiencies, and better coordinate the various lecture series across campus.
• The additional refinement of the EDGE program to identify organizational efficiencies
• The development of a more intentional programming model to eliminate redundancy, to organize campus events more effectively and to better align programs and activities with academic initiatives.
• The suspension of the Waukeenyans Dance Team
• A reduction, across campus, in “Current Expense’ and ‘Hourly Wage” budgets
Neither of these lists is exhaustive and both deserve further discussion. That is why I encourage all of you to take part in a campus-wide conversation scheduled for March 18, 2013, at 4 p.m. in the Great Hall. Along with the President's Council and Task Force members, I will be happy to walk through the decisions that have been made and discuss those still being considered.
Budget reductions are never easy. This process has undoubtedly challenged our thinking and unfortunately created some anxiety across campus. Nonetheless, what lies before us is an opportunity to create a better and stronger personalized, value-added University experience of choice for Utah’s citizens and beyond.
I look forward to the opportunities which are ahead and welcome further campus dialogue on how best to respond to these challenges. Thank you for your continued service to SUU and to our students.