Bookmark and Share

2009 State of the University Address


Good morning everyone.  Welcome to our 2009-2010 Opening Day Gathering.  As you may have noticed, our format this morning is slightly altered from the breakfasts in previous years in an effort to reduce expenses.  However, I can assure you that the information we share this morning will be as beneficial as in the past.   I would like to start by welcoming all the new faces joining us for the first time.  Would all new faculty and staff please stand up so we can welcome you to our KU family?

On the way in this morning, you should have received a copy of the President's Report.  This publication is being produced for the first time and will be distributed to a VIP list in the coming days. 

This list includes legislators, PASSHE officials, high school guidance counselors, community colleges, key donors and local business leaders.  We felt it important to share our mission and success with these individuals to help make a case for public higher education during these trying economic times.  

A quick glance at the book will show you how the successes of KU students, faculty and activities make an impact on our region and commonwealth.   I hope you will proudly share your copy with everyone you can.

An initiative complementing our President's Report is the unveiling today of KU Pride on-line.   It will be our Web portal for our friends and key supporters to share the many successes of our KU family. You can visit today at the Web site listed on the screen.

I would also encourage you to visit our Strategic Plan Web site which includes our core values and strategic plan through 2014.   This important information is the result of the hard work of many.   Please review it and become familiar with it, as it will be our key to moving successfully into the next decade and beyond.  I would like to again thank Dr. Dan Benson and the Strategic Planning and Resources Committee for their hard work in developing this important document.

I am happy to share with you some positive news we received just over a week ago.  The 2009 U.S. News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities were made public on August 20.   Kutztown University is once again ranked in the third tier.   Thank you all for your commitment and efforts in helping us return to that status.

I want to extend my appreciation once again to our Facilities Department.   The opening of F. Eugene Dixon Hall and the refurbishment of Sharadin Arts Building in the past year transformed our beautiful campus even more.    You will also notice the beautification project along Kutztown Road through campus.   This project was funded through past capital savings in an effort to make our campus increasingly attractive to current and prospective students.

Through the cooperative work of many units, we have also made substantial strides with our green initiatives; allowing us to save funds long term while protecting our environment.

We had some major changes in our administrative structure in the past year.  The College of Graduate Studies was discontinued, with all functions of the office and our graduate programs moving under admissions and the four colleges.
In addition, we merged information technology under academic affairs as we focus on tasks in the strategic plan. Rich Zera, who served as vice president of information technology for more than 11 years retired earlier this month, and although he is no longer here, I want to thank him for all he did for us.

An individual that deserves a very special recognition is Barbara Taliaferro, our associate vice president for human diversity and inclusion.  After twenty years of leading the way, BT will be retiring at the end of this semester.   We will have a special celebration for her during the semester, but I would like to ask her to stand.  Please join me in thanking BT for her outstanding service.       

At Kutztown, we are truly fortunate to have a dedicated and enthusiastic council of trustees.  These individuals spend countless hours working on our behalf, here on campus as well as in our region and in Harrisburg. 

Their work guides and supports our university.  I would like to recognize the trustees that are here with us, and ask them to please stand as I call their names. 

  • Dianne Lutz
  • Rich Orwig
  • Guido Pichini
  • Kim Snyder
  • Ramona Turpin
  • Jack Wabby
  • Eva Wasko, our new student trustee

I would also like to recognize our trustees not in attendance today.

Dr. Charles Blocksidge, who was recently appointed
Ronald Frey
Jacob Sayshen
Roger Schmidt
Thanks for your guidance and counsel!

I would now like to ask Dr. Maria Sanelli, president of University Senate to come forward for comments.

(Comments from Dr. Maria Sanelli, president of University Senate)

Kutztown University is proud of the positive relationships that have been established with the various bargaining units on campus. I have invited their respective presidents to make some brief comments.
First, I would like to introduce Dr. Paul Quinn, president of APSCUF.

(Comments from Dr. Paul Quinn, president of APSCUF)

Thank you, Paul. Representing SCUPA, please welcome Petritsa Chatzitziva.

(Comments from Petritsa Chatzitziva, representing SCUPA)

Thank you, Petritsa. 

It is also a tradition at our opening day festivities to acknowledge the accomplishments of one of our outstanding faculty members through the presentation of the Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.  

Before we announce this year's winner, I would like to acknowledge the previous faculty award recipients. Many of them are here today, and I will ask them to stand when I call their name.  Please hold your applause until all names are read:
Prof. Patrick Duddy, Biology (retired)
Prof. Jack Schellenberg, Physical Science (retired)
Prof. John Landis, Communication Design (retired)
Prof. Ed Evans, Math/CIS (retired)
Prof. Allida McKinley, History (retired)
Prof. James Ogden, Marketing
Prof. David Peterson, Audio-visual Communications (retired)
Prof. John Loomis, Physical Science (retired)
Prof. Kathleen Dolgos, Secondary Education
Prof. Tom Schantz, Art Education and Crafts (retired)
Prof. Arifeen Daneshyar, Economics
Prof. Robert Ziegenfus, Geography
Prof. Michael Gabriel, History
Prof. Elaine Reed, English
Prof. Dave Wagaman, accounting and finance.

Thank you, again, for setting an example for us all.  I would like to ask Kutztown University Director of Alumni Relations Glenn Godshall to join me at this time to present the 2009 Wiesenberger award and a check for $2,000 to:

Dr. Will Rapp, professor of music
Will, congratulations and please come forward. 

The budget has been, and continues to be, a major topic of conversation this year.   I would like to spend some time reviewing the budget process at KU, so everyone has a better understanding as we move into the new academic year.

The image on the screen depicts our total operating budget in thousands of dollars for last academic year.    You can see that most of the money we receive goes to support our Educational and General, or E&G budget, which is depicted in blue.   We do not have a lot of flexibility as to where we can spend the E&G money, since most of it is tied up in salaries and benefits and other non-discretionary commitments

Next you can see the sources of revenue for our E&G Budget.   Education & General budget includes revenues related directly to performing the core activity of providing instruction. 

Close to 61% of E&G revenue comes from the students and 38% comes from the state.  Tuition accounted for a total of $61.2 million last year.  State Appropriation accounts for $39.8 million.

Education & General budget includes all expenses incurred for the day-to-day, core, operational activities of the university.  Over 80 percent of these expenses are for non discretionary items such as personnel expenses, utilities, and debt payments.  This slide shows the expenditures by classifications.  You can see that ¾ of the E&G budget goes toward salaries and benefits for our faculty and staff.  13.9 percent of funds go toward services and supplies.

Here we see the expenditures by division.   60.8 percent of the budget is designated to academic affairs. 

Breaking academic affairs down by category reveals that the highest funding is designated to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is our largest college, and academic services such as admissions, the registrar, financial aid, and the career development office. 

Specific expenses in academic affairs reveal that the majority of funds are designated toward salaries.

The money we spend on capital projects cannot be used to support operations.   If we do not spend it on the buildings, we have to return the funds.   This chart reveals our top capital projects for last academic year, and the next two years.   Funding for these upcoming projects will be provided by the state and matching private funds that we need to raise.  Use of these funds is restricted to capital projects and cannot be used for operating expenses.  

You will notice that we were able to move the Lytle Hall building replacement ahead of schedule.  Planning for this project will now begin in 2010. 

As I have stated during recent budget updates to the campus community, we do expect financial challenges for the coming year.  Even with funding at the level of last academic year, we will be facing a significant gap.  Again, any reduction strategies we implement will be carefully considered.  And I want to reiterate that we will work hard to minimize the impact of the budget on our academic core.   We are hoping to know more as soon as the state budget is finalized.   Hopefully very soon.

Let's now turn our attention to the top accomplishments and initiatives by our five divisions.

Let us start with ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, led by Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, provost and vice-president.

First and foremost, we are proud to announce that we had 50 tenure-track hires last year, five new tenure-track positions, 32 replacements/resignations, and 13 conversions.

We also have good news to share about our 2009 fall enrollment.   We had 9,543 students apply, which is a slight increase over last year.  66 percent of those applicants were offered admission and 2,034 freshmen have registered for classes.  We are expecting a total of 2,000 freshmen and 740 transfers this semester.  85 percent are from in-state, 58 percent are female, and 13.4 percent are students of color.     

The entering class has average SAT score of 1,448, including reading.  The average ACT score is 20, and the average high school GPA is 3.03. 

101 of 148 newly-accepted fall graduate students are registered.   This will bring our total enrollment to approximately 10,700 students.

We are also making strides in the area of DISTANCE EDUCATION, as a faculty-led task force continues to build an infrastructure that will sustain and support online programs.  We created the Department of Learning Technologies to support online programs and technology in the classroom, and we hired Bo Zigner as Instructional Designer to help faculty who want to teach online.  Bo offers one-on-one sessions, training in technology, and support in areas where ADA compliance is necessary.

 In addition we joined Quality Matters, a well-known organization within online education that offers training to promote quality and standards of delivery for online courses.   And we have already received Middle States approval for online delivery of the master's degree in library science and the bachelor of science degree in nursing.

In the area of INTRA- AND EXTRA-MURAL FUNDING, I am pleased to report the Professional Development Committee provided $94,000 in funding to 155 applicants.  84 percent of funded applications were for faculty travel to present their scholarly work.

Funds available to the Research Committee increased approximately 235 percent, from $21,000 to $50,000, with 16 faculty receiving awards, while the Assessment Grant Program funded five internal proposals, totaling $13,857. 

Externally-sponsored grants and contracts totaled $2.9 million.  67 proposals were submitted and 66 grants and/or contracts were awarded.  Department grants of $10,000 or more totaled $3.2 million. 

The division also went through some renovations.   This was highlighted by the $31.5 million renovation and expansion of the Sharadin Arts Building, which was completed in January.  This brought all of the visual arts programs in the college of visual and performing arts together into their final locations in the building.  If you have not had a chance to do so, I encourage you to walk through Sharadin and see the changes.   It is quite a boost for our nationally-recognized academic programs that reside there. 
Last, but certainly not least, are the many accomplishments of our students and faculty.  

You can get a sample of these by thumbing through the President's Report or visiting our KU Pride Webpage.  We are certainly proud of all of these accomplishments, as they truly depict the Kutztown University mission.

Switching to ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE, Jerry Silberman, Vice President

We continued to improve our campus through construction and renovations.  In addition to the opening of F. Eugene Dixon Hall, our newest residence facility, and the completion of the Sharadin renovations, we converted student housing in Old Main A wing for faculty offices, renovated Boxwood House to accommodate admissions office personnel and are renovating Education House to accommodate advancement division personnel. 

We also demolished the smokestack, which had loomed over University Field on South Campus for much of the past century. 

We continued to make strides on our goal of being an effective environmental steward by implementing energy efficient lighting, 100 percent recycled toilet paper, solar powered 'big belly' trash compactors, and the expansion of bio-diesel utilization.   These efforts will provide substantial savings in the long term while enhancing green initiatives. 

We implemented a new policy for university record retention and public access to records, and provided online pay statement access through Employee Self Serve on the Human Resources Web site. 
Looking ahead, our capital improvements include the conversion of the first floor of Beck residence Hall to become our new Health and Wellness Center.  We will also begin the design work for the Schaeffer Auditorium capital project.  This project will give one of our historic gems, which has had little attention since its opening in 1938, a much-needed upgrade.  

We will continue to move forward with the demolition of the old heat plant, and will move the garage and grounds shop to the maintenance facility on the edge of campus.  This will allow us to further beautify the area central to student life and recreation on south campus.  Once again, this project was funded through past capital savings in an effort to make our campus increasingly attractive to current and prospective students.

We will be moving into Phase Two of the Campus Energy Savings Project, including chiller replacement and metering of utilities.  And we will be installing voice capable emergency messaging systems in the majority of our major facilities. 

We will be re-issuing student identification cards this year to protect identity theft, replacing the old social security number ID system with student ID numbers.

And, we will be partnering with several sister institutions to revitalize our shared facility in Wallops Island, Va.  This resource is used for our Marine Science Consortium, and provides our science students with a unique field study opportunity.

Next, let's take a look at the division of STUDENT SERVICES AND CAMPUS LIFE, Dr. Chick Woodard, vice president. 

We are proud to announce that 3,300 KU students participated in community service projects in 2008-2009, completing 42,000 hours of community service to the borough, township, surrounding communities, nation, and the world.

131 (25%) of our student-athletes were recognized this year as Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Scholar-Athletes for maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.25 during the 2007-2008 academic year.  This was a record number for Golden Bear Athletics, while many of teams continued to reach new heights on the playing venues.

Our Health Promotion Services received recognition for its outstanding efforts in the areas of tobacco and alcohol prevention. The unit received the Educational Excellence Award presented by the Caron Treatment Center, an internationally recognized non-profit treatment provider.

Public Safety & Police Services, in collaboration with Kutztown Borough officials, expanded the shuttle bus service to move students around campus and within the local community. A new route was established which includes service to the east side of the borough during normal hours of operation, while new late night shuttle service ran until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings to promote safe passage between the campus and town. More than 12,000 riders utilized the late night shuttle bus service during this first full year of operation.

Pandemic Flu planning continued in Health and Wellness Services, with the Assessment Team working to integrate their response plan into the overall university emergency plan.  You should have received an e-mail from my office, and faculty should have received an additional e-mail late last week regarding pandemic planning.

We will now move on to the division of UNIVERSITY ADVANCEMENT, led by Dr. Prue Precourt, vice president

In recognition of the need for the university to garner increased public recognition, private financial support and effective communication tools, all aspects of the University Advancement Division were studied by two independent teams of external professionals during 2008-2009 to determine the best way to organize itself.
The evaluating teams recommended restructuring the division to institute best practices and bring new expertise to campus including marketing and major gift fundraising.

The restructuring included hiring an Associate Vice President for University Advancement and Marketing to assist with division management duties.  John Green has filled that position, coming on board in June.  Although we will monitor the rapidly changing economic situation, the intended results in 2009-2010 should include more gift income addressing key strategic campus needs; more alumni outreach locally, regionally, and nationally; increased positive image for KU with key internal and external publics. Improved communication tools, especially the KU Web site and new technology.  

We have already contracted a firm to assess and redesign our Web site, allowing us to better use this critical tool for marketing and communications purposes. 

This process, the first we have done in more than a decade, will take place over the next three semesters and will involve many campus constituents.

Some advancement division highlights from the past year included the attraction of larger, high-profile conferences by our conference services offices; the hiring of a new director, Andrew Cassano, to oversee our performing artists series, a pledged income increase of more than 10 percent to the annual fund over 2007-2008; an upgrade to the Tower alumni magazine, and the development of the KU Information Channel, our new electronic message board carried on our local cable outlets.

Next, is our division of HUMAN DIVERSITY and Inclusion, Barbara Taliaferro, associate vice president

The division continues to serve the university and community through its dedication, commitment and leadership.

Highlights and accomplishments begin with The Women's Center where we bid farewell and extend congratulations to Dr. Elaine Walls Reed for exemplary service as director of the center and the Women's Studies academic minor.  Dr. Reed has returned to the English Department as a full-time faculty member and will be missed.  Dr. Claire Van Ens joins the division as Dr. Reed's successor.  The center enjoyed a celebration of its 20th anniversary with a program and banquet featuring Dr. Lydia Rule and her National and International display and illustration of Goddess Flags. 

This fall, one of the many programs planned is a Women In Leadership Speaker Series starting September 16th and continuing through November 11th.  Please mark your calendars.

The Multicultural Services Center continues to remain a hub of university programs and activities designed to support student and employee retention, multicultural awareness, civic engagement, and community outreach.  Highlights for 2008-2009 included a standing room only program in Schaffer Auditorium featuring the Emmy and Stellar Award Gospel Winning recording artist Kirk Franklin.  An added program bonus included Franklin singing, leading, and directing the KU Voices of Praise with the visiting Coatesville School District choir joining him on stage for a spiritual program celebration. 

The Granted Access Program, a new initiative between the center and the Reading School District, brought 35, 10th, 11th and 12th graders to campus weekly.  The program matched each student with enrolled students.  They attended classes, visited residence halls, participated in campus wide programs and engaged in positive hands-on college experiences.

Access remains a campus value and part of the university mission, vision and strategic plan.  Proposed programs this year include a workshop and series of discussions to address issues of disparate treatment, privilege, discrimination and racism.  

Last year, the disability office staff served approximately 500 students and 25 employees with disabilities.  Most of the services were providing individual accommodations required by law, based on the identified disability.  The office also provided textbooks in alternate format, letters of accommodations to each professor and class notes.  The requests, services and number of students continue to grow each year. 

In fall 2009, 154 new transfer and freshmen students join the ranks of the returning students.  Faculty please note letters of accommodations will be ready September 10th  --- all 1,850 of them! 

The fall 2009 on-line faculty professional development course "Do It Prof" begins October 5th.  The work requires approximately eight to 10 hours of participation over 8 to 10 weeks.  The course content includes ADA rights and responsibilities, universal design of instruction, adaptive technology, and distance learning discussion to name a few.  This program is co-sponsored with the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching. 

The GLBTQ Resource Center has moved across the hall to Old Main Room #4. Allies, advocates visitors, supporters, and friends, frequent the center on an on-going basis.  Data collection shows the center traffic has more than tripled since last year.  Several outstanding programs are planned for the year ahead.    

Our final division is SOCIAL EQUITY, Jesus Pena, director

This past year, Social Equity prepared the university's annual Affirmative Action Plan to identify and address any underutilization of minorities and women in our workforce to achieve a more diverse faculty and staff.  

The office monitored over 300 faculty and management searches to ensure an equitable search process, while striving to hire the best qualified and diverse faculty and staff.  

Social Equity investigated complaints of harassment/discrimination in our efforts to provide a learning and working environment free of any unjust treatment.  In addition, faculty, staff, and student training was offered in the areas of sexual harassment and equal employment/educational opportunities.

The office awarded two Social Equity Grants to members of our faculty for the presentation of diversity-related programs.  Finally, the division collaborated with other university units to contribute to a campus climate that welcomes and embraces diversity.

Let's have a round of applause for all of the accomplishments by our divisions this year (pause).

Now that you have been brought up to speed on the key happenings in each area of our university, I want to close our program today with a short story.  This is a true story, and provides a valuable lesson on surviving tough economic times.

There was once a little college with about 800 students and 40 faculty and staff. The college had been through a decade of prosperity and growth, including gaining a new name, and expanding from two to four year status. 
Then, suddenly, the country was hit with a major recession, and the college was in for some trying times.

To quiet its critics and prove its value during these tough times, the college's board voted to boost the quality of students by requiring graduation in the upper half of a high school class for entry without examination.

The college also cooperated with the governor's request for various budget cuts.  This and other efforts were not enough to stave off more drastic action.  The increasing needs for expanded direct welfare and relief, induced the governor to cut state funding for the college and its sister institutions by more than 20 percent.   Salary increments were omitted, the enrollment of students was reduced and contingent fees were introduced.  The new fees further depressed enrollment.  

On the bright side, the campus had a farm that was very prosperous.  The "piggery" and the "hennery" enabled the reduced number of students to eat reasonably well.  

The fight back would be tough.  The farm would discontinue operations and the state threatened to reduce its institutions of higher education, of which this particular college was a part, from 14 to 10.

The college I am referring to: Kutztown State Teachers' College.
The time.  The great depression of 1929.

We all know that this story has a happy ending.   Amos C. Rothermel, our college president at the time, worked with a dedicated group of faculty, staff, students and council of trustee members to fight through the downturn, and spur our university on to what it has become today.

This story also reminds us of the value of what we offer --- education and opportunity.  For 144 years, Kutztown University has weathered many storms, and the demand for our services in 2009 is as strong as ever.

This does not mean we will not have challenges in the year to come --- we certainly will.  But if we pull together and concentrate on our mission and goals, I have no doubt that we will continue to achieve great success, and that 80 years from now, our successors will share similar success stories about us.

Thank you for coming this morning and thank you in advance for the outstanding effort, commitment and results in the year ahead.  Have a great day and an outstanding year.