President's Campus Communication 12/11/08

Dear Campus Community Members,

While much has changed in the world around us this semester, your efforts have kept UNC moving in a positive direction. There are many accomplishments to be proud of this semester. For example, we have announced more than $10 million in grants awarded to our faculty from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, Colorado Department of Higher Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our chapter of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi, received the society’s 2008 award for most outstanding chapter. And our School of Teacher Education hosted nine faculty from Siberia’s Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University as part of the inaugural International Teacher Education Conference: Colorado-Siberia.

I am both proud and encouraged to see how our entire campus has stepped up to turn around our enrollment. We are reaching out to more high schools, we have developed undergraduate and graduate scholarships for target audiences, and we are expanding online course offerings, among other efforts. Already more students are visiting UNC, and I am confident we will see positive results from our collective effort.

We are taking the national economic downturn and Colorado’s uncertain financial outlook seriously, but we are not going to panic. We learned a great deal in addressing state funding cuts five years ago; and we further developed our ability to make adjustments with last year’s decline in tuition revenue. We have learned to deal with financial uncertainty by being intentional, not reactive. This means we must continue to be prudent in our spending, but we are not going to stop making investments. We cannot cut our way to greatness. We will continue moving forward by investing in the things that are most important to us—student recruitment and success, and academic quality and prestige.

Meanwhile at the state level, we are going to be making the emphatic point that micromanagement of tuition and fees is not necessary or helpful. State funding is extremely important to us, but it is only one component of our revenue. Given appropriate flexibility, we will implement a pricing strategy that not only helps us meet our obligation as a public institution to serve the students of our changing state, but also provides incentives for talented students to attend UNC.

As a campus, we have done significant work over the past two years to define institutional priorities, build greater flexibility into our budget process, and address recruitment and retention more strategically. I believe the value of this work will become more apparent than ever in the months ahead. No matter what happens with the state budget, we will continue moving forward.

 

I will continue to update you as we receive more information about the financial outlook for the coming year. I wish you a safe holiday and look forward to working together spring semester.

Best,

Kay Norton