|Jordan updates faculty and staff on budget at town hall meeting|
Feb 16, 2009
Metro State is taking the single-largest percentage
budget reduction out of all the public higher education institutions in
Colorado, according to President Stephen Jordan.
Before getting down to the nuts and bolts of his plan to reduce the
2009-10 fiscal year budget by $5 million, Jordan opened today’s town
hall meeting with several charts that illustrate what he calls the
“inequitable funding” of Metro State.
That inequity boils down to the fact that Metro State educates
one-fifth of all the resident undergraduates in the state¯3,000 more
than either Colorado State University or the University of Colorado
Boulder¯yet receives $31 million less in general fund dollars than the
other regional comprehensive institutions with the same missions
(CSU-Pueblo, Fort Lewis, Adams, Western and Mesa State Colleges)
combined. Exacerbating the situation, Metro State, with nearly double
the number of Pell Grant recipients as CU and CSU, is educating more
low-income and first-generation college students who are more likely to
need significant student support services.
“.. if we were a public school, we’d have a great legal case for
equal protection of our students…they’re clearly receiving less
support,” Jordan said.
Jordan has taken advantage of the economic downturn to present these
facts to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) and Gov.
Bill Ritter, hoping that in the future this inequity will be rectified.
“Truthfully, [the commissioners] jaws dropped when they saw these
charts,” Jordan said. He admits, however, that he does not expect
anything to change in time to affect the 9.98 percent reduction facing
Metro State¯the largest percentage reduction out of all the state
colleges and universities.
Nevertheless, Jordan reported
that existing cost-containment measures will allow Metro State to meet
its $2.9 million budget reduction for FY (fiscal year) 2008-09 and set
a foundation for the $5 million base reduction in FY 2009-10.
He said that layoffs or furloughs are not part of the reduction,
adding that retaining faculty and staff has been the theme behind all
discussions he has had with the five vice presidents. He was quick to
add, however, that until the state economic forecast comes out in
March, he will not know if even greater cuts will be required. “Even
after the appropriations are done in April, in the middle of next year,
there could be supplemental cuts. We don’t know what the future holds.”
In the meantime, Jordan announced a three-tier plan for the FY
2009-10 reductions. Each vice presidential division and the president’s
office was assigned a proportional target amount for Tier 1 reductions.
- President’s Office – $130, 704
- Academic Affairs – $3,091,012
- Student Services – $350,586
- Admin and Finance – $177,073
- Institutional Advancement – $179,588
- Information Technology – $239,008
Another $793,149 will be reduced from the library, AHEC and designated categories.
Most of the reductions will come from cuts in operating budgets and
restructuring of positions. The largest reduction in Academic Affairs
will be made by reducing the value put aside for fully funded vacant
faculty positions. “The bad news is that there will be less dollars for
salary and benefits to compete in the marketplace. Nevertheless,
Academic Affairs can meet its target without a single person losing a
position on the faculty side.”
The above Tier 1 recommendations will be presented to the Trustees
Finance Committee on March 10 and then to the full board at the April 1
meeting. Tier 2 recommendations are available for the trustees to
consider as additional or alternate options. Tier 3 is those
recommendations that could also be considered by the board, but are
identified for a worst-case scenario.
Jordan also reiterated the initiatives that are priorities:
- Designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution
- Becoming an urban land-grant institution
- Continuing to increase full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty
- The Student Success building and Hotel Learning Center in the planned Metro State Neighborhood
- The major-gifts campaign to be launched once the economy begins to recover
- Professional development of faculty and staff
- Master’s programs
Regarding increasing tenured and tenure-track faculty, Jordan said,
“We cannot let what happened in 2001 happen again, when we quit hiring
full-time faculty.” He intends to replace any faculty who leave and
hire additional new faculty incrementally, slowing down the original
process for growing the faculty.
One idea to help rectify the budget situation
for all of the state’s public higher-education institutions is a bill
Jordan expects will be introduced later this month by Senate President
Peter Groff that will allow the institutions’ governing boards to set
tuition. “There would be a five-year plan on how we’d propose to raise
tuition and it would be part of our performance contract [with the
CCHE], so there would be accountability,” Jordan explained.
Another idea, which Jordan emphasized is only is the research phase,
is for Metro State to cap enrollment. “We have to look at the
possibility of constraining enrollment until state policymakers see the
consequences of not funding us equitably,” Jordan said. “If we continue
to accept students while cutting the budget, legislators will say
‘What’s the problem?’ There have to be some consequences along the way.”
Answers to anticipated questions
WhileJordan said he is certain “to the 99th
degree” that there will not be any salary increases, he says that the
College will continue to deal with the salary equity issues for faculty
and administrators in order to make sure employees don’t fall far
behind the peer averages.
Regarding the stimulus bill that President Barack Obama will sign in
Denver on Tuesday, Jordan said that there is funding that lumps
together K-12 and higher education and it is left to the states to
decide how it will be disbursed. “We don’t have any idea how the
governor and legislature will approach this,” he said.
Questions from the audience
Following his 45-minute
presentation, Jordan took several questions from the audience. To
affiliate faculty member Howard Flomberg’s question whether affiliates
will end up carrying an inequitable portion of the budget reductions,
Jordan said “the answer is no.”
Nancy Shanks, chair of the Health Professions
Department, asked about the Pay for Performance funds and suggested
that the money be used to retain full-time tenured and tenure-track
faculty, instead of giving bonuses. Jordan said that the base dollars
for P4P funding are in Tier 3, and added that there could be one-time
purposes considered for next fiscal year.
To Classified Staff Council Vice President Brett Haselton’s concern
that while the number of administrators and students keeps rising, the
number of classified staff keeps decreasing, Jordan said that he’s
trying to keep the right mix of the staff. “However, we are an academic
institution and I will continue to try to re-grow the faculty until we
improve retention and graduation.”
Chemistry Professor Wilt Flemon asked what faculty and staff could
do to help. Jordan suggested that anyone wishing to express an opinion
on the funding situation at Metro State should contact their
Jordan also pledged to keep the College community informed of
developments on a regular basis and “if I’m not getting enough
communication out, remind me.”
Toward that end, Jordan said the meeting, including the power point presentation, are available on his home page at http://www.mscd.edu/president/speeches.shtml.
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