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February Update

  • Sunday, Feb 1, 2015

Seminar spirit

Thanks also to those of you who attended January Seminar. Strong attendance and deep engagement were evident to me in those sessions I attended, and I’ve heard from many of you that those same characteristics marked all of the sessions. Special thanks to Dean Pribbenow and Linda Wilder for their efforts to orchestrate this important start to the semester! If you are like me, those days are a great way to start ramping up our energy before students return to campus for the start of the semester.

A few follow-ups:

  • My opening remarks are available at the College Assembly sharepoint site or by clicking here: President Flanagan State of the College remarks.
  • The notes from the breakout sessions regarding inclusion that followed the Business Meeting on Wednesday morning are also available at the College Assembly site. President’s Council reviewed them at our 1/28 meeting, and you can expect to hear more about next steps soon.
  • Some asked about the status of gender neutral/privacy restrooms. Late in the fall semester, I asked for an inventory of restrooms already in existence that are suitable; almost every building on campus has one or more restrooms that are suitable for use by anyone. A guide and description of those facilities will be available soon. Special thanks to the Facilities team for their work on this project.

Spring Enrollment

As Christine Benedict foreshadowed during the January Seminar business meeting, spring enrollment is short of what we anticipated. Full-time undergraduates, part-time undergraduates, and accelerated enrollments are all short of our budget target; these are partially offset by higher than budgeted enrollment in graduate programs and professional development. This serves as an important reminder that we must continue to be good stewards of our financial resources and seek areas for enrollment and revenue growth. We will revisit our 2015-16 enrollment projections in light of this latest news, which may have an impact on the 2015-16 operating budget.

2016-16 operating budget process

The Planning & Budget Committee is meeting approximately every 10 days to work through the process of reconciling the 2015-16 operating budget. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to present to the Board a balanced budget that advances the College. Members of this committee (including six faculty, two staff and a student elected by their peers in addition to the vice-presidents) have been very helpful in identifying the appropriate steps we should pursue.

I have shared with the committee three major lenses through which I view proposals, whether for additional resources or to reduce allocations:

  • How does this have an impact on the quality of teaching and learning (both in and out of the classroom)?
  • How does this affect our ability to articulate and deliver a positive impact to our local community?
  • How does this affect our financial health in the long-run?

I am grateful for the diligent work of this group, as well as the work of the Deans’ Council and Presidents’ Council (who also provide advice to me in this process), and all of those budget managers and other members of the campus community who have advanced ideas for consideration.

Vice Presidents

As I shared with you last week, we will be launching a search for a new Vice President for Student Development following Maggie Balistreri-Clarke’s retirement this spring. I am currently working to finalize a search firm, and will be appointing a search committee with representation of faculty, staff, students, and Trustees in the next few weeks.

On another front, I am hopeful to have an announcement about our next Vice President for Institutional Advancement within the next few weeks. I am grateful for the continued fine work of the Advancement Staff, the search committee, and all of you who participated in this process.

DREAM Week

I had the opportunity to attend a few DREAM week events. The roundtable discussion conducted in my conference room on Thursday, January 22 was a particularly powerful experience marked by the candor, compassion, and community that we are called to as engaged learners. My only regret about that particular session is that it could be conducted in that (relatively small) space! I also enjoyed the Scholarship Dinner, which featured our own Dr. Chuck Taylor as a keynote speaker. I look forward to building on the momentum from DREAM week as we continue the work required of us, individually and collectively, to become an even more inclusive learning community. Special thanks to the DREAM Week planning committee, chaired by Glenna Scholle Malone, for their fine work!

What’s next?

As I mentioned in December, I’m in Washington, D.C. January 29-February 4—first at the annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), then at the annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). Since the Packers lost—and given the manner with which they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory—I won’t be tempted to miss any sessions to watch the Super Bowl.

When I get back, I’ll be spending time on many of the topics raised above: reconciling the 2015-16 operating budget, working through vice presidential search and transition, and preparing for the March Board meeting (and the committee meetings leading up to that meeting). In addition, I’ll be scheduling opportunities to meet with students in a variety of formats suggested by Student Government Association. Cristie Jacobs is also identifying dates and times for informal gatherings with the President’s Council—probably about one a month, in different buildings on campus—beginning in February.

In the meantime, best wishes for a successful start to the semester and 2015!