President's Campus Communication 10/14/09

Dear Colleagues,


As I mentioned in the State of the University Address, I am hosting a series of campus strategy sessions to discuss how to connect our existing planning efforts in order to articulate an ongoing university plan.

It’s important that all of our planning efforts be inclusive and transparent. At the same time, a great deal of work is already complete or under way, and we don’t want to over-engineer the next steps. So the goal of these strategy sessions will be to design a planning effort that will refine our priorities, connect our current efforts, encourage collaboration, and avoid the creation of unnecessary committees or duplication of efforts.

As I described in the State of the University Address, I believe there are some key activities that will help us take control of our own future:

·        Expanding our academic programs and enrollment to fulfill our public mission in fiscally responsible and sustainable ways, which will include growth beyond traditional on-campus programs, the effective use of existing capacity, and strategic investment in program expansion;

·        Enhancing a research agenda that engages and enriches our faculty and students and the community around us;

·        Building a respectful and inclusive campus environment; and

·        Connecting with the community around our campus in ways that benefit both the University and the community.

I want to make sure the strategy sessions address these four areas, but I don’t intend by listing them to limit our discussions. The strategy sessions will be informal conversations about the future-oriented plans and projects that participants are working on, including approximate timelines, milestones, links to other plans and projects, and any obstacles they have encountered or anticipate. The idea is for all of us to learn as much as we can about what’s being done and what needs to be done before determining the details of a process.

As a starting point, I would like to meet with the Faculty Senate, Professional Administrative Staff Council (PASC), State Personnel Employees Executive Council (SPEEC), Student Senate, Recruitment and Retention Committee, Equity and Diversity Council, Research Advisory Council, Work Environment Task Force, University Compensation Committee, Integrated Marketing Group, Intercollegiate Athletics staff, academic deans, and assistant vice presidents. No doubt, we will identify the need for additional meetings once we get started. There is a significant amount of work happening outside of these groups that we need to connect with our planning efforts. We will schedule additional strategy sessions to discuss recurring themes and topics that emerge during the initial conversations.

Meanwhile we also need to get the FY10-11 budget in order, so I will be meeting with the governance group leaders, deans, vice presidents, and assistant vice presidents as I did during the FY09-10 budget process. As you know, rather than having a formal budget process for FY10-11, we will use the FY09-10 budget framework and put our energy into planning and setting aside $4.6 million as the first installment of our $14-million cliff reserve. As I described in my last note, we believe we can generate approximately $3.6 million for the cliff reserve with continued revenue growth from increases in enrollment and tuition, which means we need to reduce FY10-11 expenditures by approximately $1 million. Given that we have more than $6 million in vacant positions each year, I am encouraging the vice presidents to work with you to identify the bulk of the $1 million through salary savings.

My Executive Assistant Elaine Quam will be contacting the leaders of the groups I mentioned to begin scheduling meetings, and I will continue to provide updates as we progress.