Archive Notes - May 2007

HIGHS and LOWS

The spring in Potsdam has brought with it some real contrasts. Obviously we have gone from winter storm warnings to 70 degrees and sun in one single week. We have also been touched by the tragedy at Virginia Tech, and then by a death here in our extended campus family. The strength and compassion of our students, faculty, and staff in the face of these adversities has reaffirmed the true values of the Potsdam tradition. We have enjoyed the intellectual excitement of our campus festival, followed by the pomp and circumstance of my inaugural. I simply cannot imagine a place I would rather be.

I would like to thank all the folks who worked to help our campus react and process the crisis at Virginia Tech and recent loss of a former student - Chip Morris, Sue Thomas, Jeff Lazovik, Julie Rapczynski, Gena Nelson, Josh Brown, John Horan, Casey Nelson, Harvey Smith, Deidre Kelly - and the countless staff who help us implement our protocols for responding to such incidents. These folks do amazing work in very troubled times and help our campus acknowledge and heal in authentic and thoughtful ways.

We are nearing the end of the semester and I want to highlight a few things, all of them of importance to the campus and worthy of note.

 

 
  KUDOS

Four of our seniors were recently awarded the very prestigious Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence in Albany, NY, demonstrating outstanding achievement as students in the State University of New York System: Colette Hall, a music education major from Red Hook, NY; Danielle Hall, a psychology and dance major from Springfield Center, NY; Shari Jessie, a psychology and English major from the Bronx, NY; and Rebecca Polmateer, an anthropology and archaeology major from Schuylerville, NY. I am so proud of the achievements of our students and continue to revel in the excellence that they manifest on a daily basis.

I am also pleased to announce that Prof. Liliana Trevizan has been selected as a recipient of the /2007 Research Foundation Research & Scholarship Award/. These awards will be given at a special dinner to be held on May 2, 2007, in Albany. We are so very pleased that the accomplishments of our faculty are recognized by the System Office. I would also like to note that Dr. Trevizan was also the head of the organizing committee for our very successful Campus Festival. My congratulations go out to her, and my deepest thanks to all who worked so hard on the Festival. It was superb.

I also want to extend my personal thanks to everyone who worked on my inaugural. It was a wonderful event and everything that I had hoped for. My hope was that this would be an event that we as a community could enjoy. The participation of so many students, faculty, staff, and friends at the Inaugural Dance was a vivid manifestation of this exciting community.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope everyone joins in celebrating faculty (teaching, non-teaching, librarian, and professional staff) excellence next Friday, May 4, from 3-5 in Thatcher to catch up on the outstanding work of your colleagues and friends.

 

 
  BUDGET REALITIES

As you all know, we are an enrollment driven institution. Recent shortfalls in our enrollment will force us to re-evaluate our budget planning. Now that the spring enrollment numbers have taken their final shape, it has become clear that the College is not going to achieve its overall enrollment target for 06-07. The largest area of discrepancy appears to be in the area of graduate enrollment. The end result is the College has met or slightly exceeded its undergraduate targets but failed to achieve the graduate target. Not withstanding the mix between in-state and out-of-state students, or between full time and part-time students, this enrollment shortfall means that we will not have collected some $750,000 in tuition than we originally projected. We now realize that our year-end financial condition will be weaker than originally planned. Consequently we will need to postpone some of our planned spending and the overall budget will need to be re-examined.

This has some implications for next year as well. Despite growth in our undergraduate enrollment the downward revision of our graduate enrollment goals will result in next year's budget being much tighter than earlier thought. We estimate tuition collections will be concomitantly less than we had earlier anticipated.

  What all this means is that the College still expects to end in the black this year and next. We do not anticipate any budget reductions. Nevertheless, increases beyond those mandated by collective bargaining agreements or the State of New York are far less likely. We will continue to work to allocate resources to areas we have indicated are high priorities but will need to continue to carefully manage all resources and carefully address the enrollment challenge for graduate programs.The College is on sound financial ground. We simply will have less money to allocate to new initiatives or increase to existing programs and offices. The strategic opportunities we hoped to address this year will be more limited in scope.

 

 
  MOVING FORWARD

Looking at the events calendar it would be hard to know that the campus festival has ended. Student art is on display in the Gibson Gallery; the one-act play festival is currently going on; there are numerous benefits being hosted on campus; poetry readings scheduled; our sporting teams are very busy; and, as always, phenomenal music at Crane. Spring has sprung in Potsdam and I am re-energized to face the challenges ahead. Please join me in supporting our students in all the wonderful things they do.