Archive Notes - July 2007
Anne and I were so very pleased to take part in our second Reunion Weekend. More than 620 alumni and friends attended throughout the weekend, surpassing last year’s record attendance. The reunion classes raised more than $1.68 million for their alma mater. It is always heartening to meet our amazing alumni, hear their stories and share their love for this institution that continues to mean so much to them.
I’m enormously pleased to report that SUNY Potsdam closed its 2006-2007 fiscal year with its best fundraising year in the College’s 191-year history with nearly $3.3 million raised. In addition, the national publication “Voluntary Support of Education” has reported that Potsdam ranks 14th in the nation among all reporting master’s degree granting institutions for alumni participation.
We should also be proud that the College’s endowment is the second largest in our SUNY peer group and larger than that of SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Oswego combined. Potsdam ranks number one in its SUNY peer group for the number of realized bequests, and ranks second in the entire SUNY system – a total of 64 campuses – in the number of realized bequests.
This kind of success can only come to fruition when an institution is fortunate enough to have the sincere commitment of its alumni, faculty, staff and community friends in supporting its critical needs. I’d like to thank all those who had a hand in making this such a stellar year on so many levels.
As I reported in March, the Administrative Cabinet studied and modified the Strategic Goals established last summer. In April the Cabinet considered budget requests from the various divisions of campus, in light of the goals. Our funding decisions, however, remained tentative until we knew with a greater degree of certainty what our 2007-2008 budget would be. Now, in late June, the full Leadership Council met for two days with representatives of the Faculty Senate to deal with many issues, one of which was to review and evaluate the strategic goals. Those discussions resulted in a slight modification of the goals and confirmed the budget priorities established earlier. As such, the Cabinet has finalized a funding plan for 2007-2008
Funded initiatives include some items that require recurring, on-going funding, while others can be satisfied with one-time-only expenditures. The following items were funded:
- Faculty salary increases
- Replacement furniture and accessories for classrooms, labs, and studios
- Overhaul of the campus web site
- CTS programmers to implement degree audit and other integral programs
- Operating budget for graduate student recruitment and marketing
- Admissions expenses (recruitment travel, campus hosting, postage, telephone, etc)
- Cost Increases in expendables for Physical Plant (toilet paper, paper towels, salt, sand, etc.)
- Activities programming in Student Union
- Career Placement Assistant Director
- NCATE accreditation visit (one time only)
The campus budget, while again beginning in the black this year, does not provide much room for new initiatives. Those that were funded rose to the top of the list because each had an impact on several of our strategic priorities. For example, new classroom furniture positively impacts the student experiences, can assist us in recruiting and retaining students, improves faculty worklife by providing a more pleasant atmosphere in which to work, and because it may improve recruitment and retention of students can provide us with yet more resources. A very few items, such as the costs associated with our NCATE accreditation, were mandatory.
In our deliberations, faculty salary and teaching workload were among our highest priorities. The Workload Task Force has made its first report. A final plan for reducing workload has not been developed. Once that occurs, we will allocate funds as available to support the eventual plan.
As the academic year begins and we have a clearer idea of where our enrollments will stabilize, we will better be able to project the final budget of the year. We will also, then, begin the process of looking to the next budget cycle and those initiatives that can assist us to further our strategic goals.