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2010 State of the University Address


Good morning everyone.  Welcome to our 2010-2011 Opening Day Gathering. 

Once again, we have positive news to share regarding rankings made public nationally in recent weeks.  I am pleased to report that Kutztown University is one of 218 colleges that The Princeton Review has chosen for its "Best in the Northeast" section.In addition, K.U. is ranked 117th in the Best Regional universities/North category in the 2011 U.S. News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities.   Thank you all again for your commitment and efforts in helping us obtain these recognitions.

We also had some major changes in our administrative structure in the past year.  All PASSHE institutions were instructed to make a clear division between foundation and state resources.   As a result, the Division of Advancement and the KU Foundation are undergoing significant changes.    The advancement division, which once contained the KU foundation, will now consist of university relations, alumni relations, conference services, KU Presents!, and the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, and will be led by associate vice president John Green.  The KU Foundation will have its own executive director and staff and is an independent 501-c-3 organization.   We are eliminating the position of vice president of university advancement, and Dr. Prudence Precourt, who filled that role, has decided to pursue other interests.   Thank you, Prue, for your guidance, leadership and friendship the last two and half years.

Last year our university faced a significant challenge concerning our budget.  It took many of us most of the year, sharing various ideas, to get to a balanced budget for the 2010-11 academic year.  We had to make sacrifices, and we had to make many tough choices ... but we made them.  As difficult as it was for everyone involved and as hard as the decisions were, I am proud of our university community for taking action and moving ahead.  With that being said, our budget challenges are far from over.

I would like to spend the next few minutes sharing our budget situation with you as we enter the new academic year, so that we all understand what we are facing.

Last year's Educational and General (E&G) budget was $116.2 million.  Expenses ranged from 75.8 percent for salary and benefits to 1.5 percent for student aid.

The E&G Budget projection for the current academic year indicated a gap of $4.2 million from expenses growing faster than revenue, due to flat state funding.

After careful and extensive planning, we balanced the budget by eliminating 39 filled, vacant and temporary positions, terminating select outsourced contracts and reducing services and supplies.

In spite of the budget reductions, the 2010-11 budget increased four percent over the prior year to $121 million, solely due to increased tuition revenue.  The expenses by category have changed very little from the prior year.

As we move into the new year, we will be looking ahead and planning for the budget for 2011-12 and beyond.  As we do this, we must consider the following:

*There will be no significant enrollment changes.
*There is a potential decrease in state appropriation.
*The current year is the final allocation of federal stimulus money for higher education.
*This is the final year for all collective bargaining agreements and the new contracts will shape future budgets.
*And we are facing continued uncertainty of the impact in retirement contributions, healthcare costs and utility rates.

In addition, the effect of potential state funding cuts is essential to budget strategy efforts, both in developing PASSHE's budget request for submission to the commonwealth, and in defending its funding requirements throughout the 2011-12 budget cycle. 
With that being said, we are preparing for several scenarios for 2011-12.  Based on various outcomes, we could be facing a shortfall of $5.6 million, down about $1 million from which we projected a year ago.  Or we could be facing the worst case scenario of an $11.4 million shortfall.
Again, any reduction strategies we implement for the years ahead will be carefully considered.  And we will continue to update the entire campus in detail and will work closely with key constituents as we move forward.
Our university community continues to excel despite the challenges we face.   I want to briefly touch on some key highlights from last year for each of our divisions at this time.

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

Highlights included a vote by the faculty to approve a new General Education model.

In addition, our administration and APSCUF-KU agreed on the replacement of the home-developed instrument that has been used here for the student rating and instruction. The new instrument was developed by the IDEA Center.

Along with the 13 other PASSHE institutions, we moved to a new common Learning Management System, Desire to Learn, or D2L, which was used this past summer for the first time.

We are also moving to a new enterprise resource planning system. The first of three "rollouts" took place earlier this summer.  The second rollout will take place before the middle of September, and will consist of a new Web portal system for the recruiting and admissions of students.
I am happy to report the accreditation plan for the College of Business was submitted in March and has been formally accepted and approved by AACSB.

It is also noteworthy to mention that we had an increase in faculty scholarly publications and grants (23% in proposals; 17% in extramurally-funded grants; 26% in scholarly publications; 150% in published books).

Switching to ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE, Jerry Silberman, Vice President

Kutztown University partnered with Millersville and East Stroudsburg universities to revitalize the campus of the Marine Science Consortium in Wallops Island, VA.  The consortium serves thousands of students each year, exposing them to hands- on instruction relating to the pristine coastal ecosystems of the Eastern Shore.  In addition, partnerships with NASA enable students to gain practical experience and instruction in the physical sciences.  The $14 million revitalization project includes a new learning center, residence halls, and staff housing.  These sorely needed facility upgrades will support the learning environment providing for a unique, high-quality instructional experience.

The first floor of Beck Residence Hall was renovated this past year to serve as a new Student Health Center.  This facility, paid entirely from student health center fees, offers our students a professional, distinctive health care facility to complement our high-performing, accredited health care operation. 

You will also notice changes in our food service offerings this year as we welcome Aramark as our official food service provider.   I encourage you to dine at the new Burger Studio or Chick-Fil-A in the Cub Café in the McFarland Student Union Building, or to take advantage of one our many other dining options across campus.

The university implemented electronic student refunds for the first time in the Fall 2009 semester.  The long lines in the administration building are now a thing of the past as students receive a text message advising them of their refund.  Students are able to access their funds through on-campus ATMs or through deposit to their own bank account.

And, our university was awarded the 'Green Star' honor award from the Professional Grounds Management Society in the 2009 fall semester, which honors those institutions with the most picturesque campuses in the nation.

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

The division successfully expanded from 16 to 19 departments and programs, gaining Multicultural Services, the Women's Center and the GLBTQ Center.   While many of the original divisional units already collaborated heavily with these administrative areas during their time in Human Diversity, the merger brought added continuity to campus programming, support services, and resources that improved programs for all of our students.  By the end of the spring semester, the transition appeared seamless to those who were unaware of the recent merger.

While the budget crunch did affect many programs university-wide, it did not significantly affect students' participation in community-based projects. As evidence, consider that 4,290 students (a 24% increase) contributed 43,649 hours of service (a 42% increase) to the borough, township, surrounding communities, nation, and the world. The Community Outreach Center (COC) itself assisted 1,995 students to complete 13,818 hours of volunteerism in the same time period, with beneficiaries including local food banks, community agencies, educational organizations benefitting youth, and the citizens of other countries, to name a few.

Intercollegiate Athletic Services thrived in many ways in 2009-10:
19 of the 21 intercollegiate varsity sport teams participated in some type of postseason competition.

Seven student-athletes earned All-America status, while Stephen Dennis was named men's basketball national player of the year for Division II.

110 student-athletes were recognized as PSAC Scholar-Athletes for maintaining a 3.25 GPA, with 52 Golden Bears being recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Director's of Athletics (NACDA) as academic achievement award winners for achieving at least a 3.5 GPA.

Golden Bear Athletics earned its highest final ranking in school history in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings sponsored by NACDA. The Golden Bear athletics program ended the 2009-10 season ranked 16th nationally in the competition, which is based on cumulative team performance at the national level.

We will now move on to the division of UNIVERSITY ADVANCEMENT, led by John Green, associate vice president

I already mentioned the restructuring of our relationship with the University Foundation and that the division is now headed by John Green, associate vice president, who is the newest member of University cabinet.

Highlights over the past 12 months in advancement selectively include:
A complete reorganization of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center - including

*a re-commitment from the university for resources; and
*a grant acceptance that has allowed for the contracting of a company to develop a master plan that will guide the growth and development of the center into an accredited museum, a historically accurate working farm, and a unique classroom experience for the university.

Much more to come on this exciting project.

Also, last year we mentioned that work would begin on the much-needed improvements to our university website.  Well, the university relations web team is deep in the process of bringing a new website to fruition.  User research has been completed, structural enhancements have been identified and are underway and the design phase is about to begin.  It is our goal to unveil the new site at this meeting next year.  We look forward to involving all segments of the campus community in the redesign process.
In the area of marketing, there have been dozens of on-going efforts.  Newly developed teams of people are working on defining target audiences, developing programs, and measuring responses for initiatives designed to help many areas of the university grow.

Our final division is SOCIAL EQUITY, Jesus Pena, associate vice president
Highlights included the preparation of the university's annual Affirmative Action Plan to identify and address any underutilization of minorities and women in our workforce in an effort to achieve a more diverse faculty and staff.

The office monitored over 250 faculty and management searches to ensure an equitable process, while striving to hire the best qualified and diverse candidates.

The office helped promote and ensure a learning and working environment free of any unjust treatment through thorough investigations; by providing training to faculty, staff, and students in the areas of sexual harassment education and equal employment opportunities; and collaborating with other university units.

Finally, the Disability Services Office became a part of Social Equity in January.  The office currently serves approximately 600 students with a wide variety of disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations to help these students succeed in all facets of university life.

Now that you have been brought up to speed on the key happenings in each area of our university, I want to share the three initiatives cabinet will focus on in the year ahead.  Please know these initiatives are a part of our overall strategic plan, and will not be possible without help from all of you.   I want to take advantage of this opportunity to ask you to consider your role in helping to accomplish our targets in the year ahead.
First: In support of our mission and consistent with Middle States accreditation guidelines, faculty and staff will begin the new general education model implementation process.  This model was developed by the task force in spring 2009 and approved by APSCUF, Senate and UCC in spring 2010.  All incoming students in fall 2011 will use the new general education curriculum.
Secondly: As an accredited institution in the Middle States region, Kutztown University is expected to demonstrate evidence of continuous assessment of student learning outcomes and institutional effectiveness, and evidence that budgeting, planning, and resource allocation are used effectively in decision making processes -- processes that support institutional programs and structures that enhance student learning and success.

And third: We want to improve the overall communication on campus.  This will begin with the President's office and will include regular communications reaching the entire university community.

Each one of the three initiatives will be spearheaded by a member of cabinet, who will be assisted by other cabinet members.

We look forward to keeping you abreast of these projects, and involving many of you in our efforts, as we strive for continuous improvement.
In closing, I want to thank you for coming this morning and thank you in advance for your outstanding work in the year ahead.   I am confident, that together, we will overcome all challenges, and surpass all expectations.   Thank you for your attention this morning.   Have a great first day and a fabulous year.