[Photo] IU Seal design imbedded in the floor in the entrance to the IU Southeast Library.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2012
By Chancellor Sandra R. Patterson-Randles
Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to our new and returning students, faculty, and staff. A very special welcome goes out to members of our regional community, including those who serve on our quite active and supportive Board of Advisors. Will our Board of Advisors members please stand to receive our recognition and appreciation for all you do?
This past year was a truly remarkable celebration of all IU Southeast has been in the past, is now in the present, and promises to be in the future. Our 70th anniversary festivities spanned the entire 2011-12 school year and included wonderful events like our 70 Years Opening Celebration during the campus’s Week of Welcome, our special reunion Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner, the “Thing-A-Ma-Dig” tree planting, our Warder Park Anniversary Concert, and – with a look towards the future – our groundbreaking for our sixth residence hall, Timber Lodge. Our 70th anniversary banners flew all over campus, joined with a memorabilia display in the Library, the huge timeline in University Center, and the 70th anniversary logo stenciled on doors in prominent places.
At the Board of Advisors annual dinner meeting in June, I shared with our supporters many details of the past year, and I would like to summarize them for you as well, in order to reiterate IU Southeast’s progress and status. First, in Fall 2011 IU Southeast posted its highest enrollment to date following record highs in the two previous years. In 2011 and 2012 we also realized our largest numbers of graduates (1,138 in 2012). Continuing our excellent accreditation review in recent years for the NCA, CCNE, and NCATE, the AACSB maintained accreditation for our School of Business, along with some very favorable evaluations.
The quality of our programming was not only clear to our accreditors but was also demonstrated by the special awards and recognitions garnered by our students, faculty, and staff. For instance:
Moreover, the super icing on the anniversary cake was for IU Southeast to be named a Top 10 Place to Work in the Large Organization Division for the Greater Louisville Metro Region. This honor was particularly gratifying in that no other higher education institution received a ranking in the three divisions surveyed.
All of these accomplishments and honors are remarkable indeed and betoken a thriving, engaged institution. Such achievement is only brought to fruition by top-notch employees – people who perform daily using our core values as their guide and who have high standards, work hard, act with integrity, have a positive attitude, and take pride in a job well done. I sincerely commend the people of our campus for their unusual dedication to making this University the best it can be in service to our students and our region.
However gratifying this past year was for all of us devoted to IU Southeast’s success, it was also a year of sadness and disappointment as regards people we cherish. The Early 8 Retirement Incentive Plan was announced by IU in Spring 2011 and resulted in 21 faculty and staff members taking advantage of this program. At the end of May our colleague Dr. Ruth Garvey-Nix, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, resigned her leadership position for personal reasons. Moreover, we were grieved by the loss of Chancellor Emeritus Ed Crooks, who led our campus for 19 years, and Board of Advisors members Kevin Hammersmith and Marla Barr. We also remember with fondness students who passed away during the past year:
We will miss every one of these campus community members and will cherish memories of their achievements, unique personalities, and meaningful engagement with IU Southeast.
Regardless of the peaks and valleys experienced during our 70th anniversary year, the efforts of our faculty, staff, students, and community members have kept us in a relatively strong position. However, this school year and those to come in the near future will present us with some significant challenges. First of all, consider our enrollment situation. During the recession we experienced three years of record-breaking enrollment, including our highest enrollment ever last year. Nevertheless, a number of dampening factors have come into play this Summer and Fall to change the situation dramatically:
As you can see, all of these factors have come into play to create a “perfect storm.” Some of these issues we knew about but were unable to gauge their depth (changing demographics, ongoing poor economy, changes in financial aid, higher admission standards). Others we had no control over, much less knowledge that they would occur and impact us to such a large extent (bridges and transportation, major organizations hiring, changes in Indiana state teacher requirements, schools closing with subsequent loss of teaching positions).
The result of all these factors impacting our students is that Fall enrollment is down 4.9% in headcount (352 students) and 5.5% in credit hours. At this point I ask that every campus community member provide our students with the very highest level of teaching and service possible in order to keep them in school and smoothly progressing to a degree, and I encourage our faculty to make full use of the new FLAGS system to help support our students better. We will be focusing our efforts now on our Spring enrollment, and again, I ask for an all-campus effort to bolster our numbers.
Needless to say, our enrollment numbers are impacting our budget for FY13. Originally, credit hours were projected to increase 2.7% over the FY12 actual numbers due to an anticipated rebound from the re-opening of the Sherman Minton Bridge. Obviously, that did not happen, and the decline in Fall credit hours has resulted in an estimated impact of $2.8M on our budget. In our FY13 budget, compensation was the highest campus priority and received the greatest increase in budgetary resources ($1.6M of new money or 4.1% over FY12). The basic salary pool authorized by the IU Trustees was 1.5%, but we strongly advocated for an additional .7% for a total of 2.2%, which we were allowed to add to our salary monies in order to further our ongoing commitment to campus compensation. We also absorbed a $726K increase in employee benefits (7.1%).
Instructional fees for Summer 2013 are budgeted to decrease $442K or 10.4% due to the IU 25% discount initiative. The modest increase in student fees, combined with the static and previously reduced operating appropriation from the state, limited the amount of base budget funding available for new requests. We did, however, increase student financial aid from $933K to $1M, an increase of 7.2%, in order to support student persistence and retention initiatives. We then reallocated base budget dollars from supplies and general expense as well as campus-funded R&R to higher priority areas. Our FY13 planned use of reserves was budgeted at $438K, the lowest level we have seen in many years. This included $192K for compensation related to ERIP and the Talisma implementation, $131K for capital projects, $65K for general expenses, and $50K for financial items like bad debts. Spending efficiencies, reallocations, and positions on hold have totaled about $2M of the $2.8M we need to pull out of our budget. I ask that all members of our campus community think seriously about ways to reduce our spending. In order to make up the remaining amount we need to eliminate from this year’s budget, each unit needs to consider about a 4.5% reduction in non-compensation expenditures. I am confident that with your continued dedication to quality at IU Southeast and ability to set academic priorities, we will be able to effectively rebalance our budget.
One area of development that has the potential to impact our budget in a very positive way is online and hybrid course programming. IU has embarked on a significant online education initiative that includes undergraduate degree programs, graduate and professional degree programs, high-enrollment undergraduate classes, and exploration of experimental modes of education. For a solid future in line with IU priorities, IU Southeast needs to develop such offerings and play a significant role in IU’s creation of online programming. In the next few weeks I will be forming a task force to do short-term and long-term planning and to help define an institutional strategy and appropriate support for this initiative.
Another challenge the campus must face during this school year is renewal of the tuition reciprocity agreement with Kentucky. As the only mid-sized, comprehensive public university in the southeast quadrant of Indiana and the Greater Louisville region, we have a significant role to play in raising educational attainment for our region. About 30% of the IU Southeast student body comes from Kentucky, and we are pleased to provide these students with a high-quality learning environment characterized by small classes and personal attention. However, a serious area of concern is that Indiana’s performance funding model is focused on residential students and does not favor IU Southeast’s student body profile, particularly in the area of degree completion monies. In response to this reality we must revisit our enrollment management strategies and find ways to better attract Indiana students while still serving our Kentucky neighbors for the benefit of both states.
Finally, IU Southeast is in the midst of some significant leadership transitions. In order to signal our increased attention to recruitment, retention, and persistence to graduation, I have modified Dr. Garvey-Nix’s position responsibilities and changed the title to Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. I have formed a search committee, and the job will be advertised soon. In the meantime, Anne Skuce is to be congratulated for doing a fine job as interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
In addition, with mixed feelings I must announce the retirement of our valued colleague Dr. Gil Atnip, who plans to leave IU Southeast at the end of this month. We will sincerely miss his keen insights, thorough knowledge of IU, and his wealth of experience gleaned from 37 years of devoted service to this campus and IU as a whole. We wish him the very best that life and good golf can offer.
I have asked Dr. Curt Peters, former dean of Arts & Letters, to serve as an interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs until the position can be filled. Beginning September 17 he will work on a part-time basis during the Fall semester and transition to full-time in the Spring. Please give him a warm welcome back to IU Southeast. I am in the process of forming a search committee and will update the campus as our progress warrants.
As you undoubtedly know, IU continues to support a mandatory retirement policy for administrators who reach 65 years of age. Under this current policy I would have been required to step down as Chancellor on June 30, 2013; however, my tenure at IU Southeast has been extended an additional year until June 30, 2014. I will use the next two years to fill the vacant vice chancellor positions and leave IU Southeast in the best shape possible.
The excitement of new faces on campus is matched this year by some remarkable progress. First, I am so pleased to announce that in the last month our Development team has secured two major gifts – one for $1.5M and another for $2.5M. While I cannot share specific details at this point, I can say that these generous gifts bring us within $500K of our campaign goal of $11M, years before its conclusion. I extend deepest appreciation to our donors, and congratulations to our advancement professionals, Jerry Wayne, Melissa Weissinger, and Kirk Randolph for a job well done.
Second, this year we can look forward to enjoying some outstanding new facilities. Our Graduate Center in Jeffersonville has moved to Water Tower Square through the excellent work of Vice Chancellor Dana Wavle and his team. It is a true showplace, and from I65 you can proudly see the IU Southeast sign on the side of the building. After securing some environmental approvals, we will soon see foundation work for our sixth residence hall, Timber Lodge. Moreover, we are continuing our pursuit of the Education/ Purdue Technology Building and a new, permanent amphitheater structure.
In spite of the many challenges that face IU Southeast and, indeed, higher education as a whole, I believe our campus can look forward to a bright future. Every member of our campus community and our supporters across the region can take pride in the high-quality education we offer, our beautiful and safe campus, our affordability, the excellence of our citizen graduates, and our outstanding service to Indiana and the Greater Louisville area. I extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to all faculty and staff who go the extra mile to make IU Southeast the exceptional university that it is. Over the past 10 years it has been my pleasure to serve with you, and I look forward to continued success for IU Southeast.