Minnesota State University Moorhead
President’s Annual University Welcome
August 17, 2010
President Edna Mora Szymanski
Because the provost search failed, the
deans, Ginny Bair, and I are all taking on additional
work during the coming year. In addition, we have the
assistance of Bemidji Emeritus President, Jon Quistgaard,
who is working with the deans on some special projects.
The Provost search will get underway
immediately. This year, Dr. Quistgaard will co-chair the
committee with VP Justesen, and we are using a search
The University College has been
launched with Denise Gorsline as dean. As you may
recall, although the duties are new, this position
replaces a previous position of Associate Vice President
of Academic Affairs and Dean of General Education, which
will not be refilled.
Jan Mahoney, the current Vice
President of Finance and Operations at St. Paul College
and former Interim President and CFO at Alexandria
Technical College will join us on October 4 as VP for
Finance and Administration. Jean Hollaar will continue
in the interim position until Jan starts. In October,
Jean will move into the position of Associate Vice
President of Finance and Administration, which includes
her previous duties of University Planning and Budget
Officer as well as oversight of the Business Office.
Thus, this is an upgrade of her former position rather
than a new administrative position. We will not backfill
her former position.
Karen Mehnert-Meland has returned to
her position as Director of Student Union and Activities
but will retain special assignment working with LEAN,
university scheduling, and a few other areas. We thank
her for her service during the Spring and summer.
The HR search is underway with Warren
Wiese as chair.
Joan Justesen hopes to return to
retirement this Spring. Therefore, the search for VP for
development is underway with VP Solinger chairing. We
are using a search firm.
Brief Update on Goals from Last Year
Last year, I set out goals at this time. One of those goals was the
development of a new strategic plan. Since the plan was developed, I
have been using it for my quarterly web updates. An annual report on
accomplishments according to the strategic plan will be presented to the
University Planning and Budget Committee in early October and placed on
the web with the quarterly updates. This year, I provide a brief update
of highlights according to the goals I set out in August. In future
years, the update will be according to the strategic plan.
Goal: Increase recruitment, retention, and student success.
Enrollment is up! Final data will not
be available until next month. However, at this time
overall enrollment is 4.4% over this time last year and
3.7% over this time in Fall of 2008. Domestic new
entering freshmen increased 17% over last year and 7%
over 2008. Domestic new entering transfers increased 2%
over Fall 2009 and 5% over Fall 2008. New graduate
students increased 28% over Fall of 2009 and 88% over
Fall of 2008. Returning students are up 1%, and FTE is
up 4.6%. A lower returner increase is expected because
two low freshman classes (06 and 09) are still in the
pipeline. We are well on our way towards a cumulative
increase of 6% in overall enrollment over Fall 09 by
In order to increase the recruitment
and retention of underrepresented students, we are in
the process of hiring a recruiter to work with the
Offices of Multicultural Affairs and Admissions using
MnSCU access and opportunity grant funding. In addition,
we offered a summer bridge program, opened the American
Indian Resource and Research Center, and opened a new
learning community. Later in the year, we will report
data on recruitment and retention for this year.
Living learning communities, which
help both recruitment and retention, have increased.
Last year we had 4 Living Learning Communities with
approximately 85 students. This year we have 10 with 280
students, plus the Discovery Community, which is
non-residential with approximately 20 students for a
total of 300 students.
Goal: Assure both quality and efficiency
in all areas of the university.
Work on recognition of academic
program quality continues. The School of Business was
accredited by AACSB; the Construction Management Program
received its re-accreditation; and the campus is
scheduled for a December visit by the Higher Learning
Commission regarding online programs.
At a late Spring meeting of the
Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Committee, we learned
that departments and programs with low cost recovery
ratios had made significant improvements. Cost recovery
rates for all departments are available on the web.
Considerable progress has been made in
decreasing base budget costs and increasing efficiencies
through structural reorganizations and LEAN business
Goal: Increase external recognition,
alumni engagement, and fundraising.
We have completed market and brand
research and are underway with refinement of our brand
and visual identity along with a major launch of a newly
designed website in the Spring.
Our new efforts to engage recent
alumni are taking off. We now have a millennial alumni
advisory board and have had eight millennial alumni
events within the last year, including two in the Twin
Cities. In addition, we have started a program for new
entering freshmen and new graduates to build
relationships and maintain connections to MSUM.
The Alumni Foundation has had its best
year ever! Through the generosity of our donors, they
brought in cash receipts of $2,266,210, 55% over last
year. Unfortunately, due to recession related decreases
in the endowment, the money provided to the campus did
not increase. It is hoped that that will change next
Goal: Continue development of a stable
fiscal model to take the University into the 2012 biennium and beyond.
Base budget personnel costs have
decreased by approximately $1M since this time last
Energy costs decreased by $395,000 or
17% since the last fiscal year.
Summer session net revenue was
approximately $1.3M this year.
Given these developments and our
increased enrollment, we are on track in accomplishing
the plan we made last year to address the decreased
state appropriation in the 2012 biennium.
Goal: Complete a New Strategic Plan for
The strategic plan is completed and in
implementation. The plan can be found at
with quarterly progress updates at
The campus master plan has been
completed and will be submitted to the Board of Trustees
in the Fall. The residential life master plan is in
implementation with major renovations completed this
An integrated planning and reporting
calendar has been developed to align process on campus
and with the system. The University Planning and Budget
Committee will review plans and reports.
As we have discussed at previous town meetings, we are now in the
post-recession “new normal”. Over the two years I have been at this
wonderful university, both our budget and the larger national economic
situation have changed. Therefore, at this time, I would like to offer a
very brief budget context, examining our recent past, present, and
This time last year, I reported that
the budget gap we solved coming into the 2010 biennium
was approximately 14%. Please note that this is
approximately the same size gap that resulted in the
Working together, we were able to
solve it with increased revenue and decreased expenses
through hiring freezes, early separation incentives,
When we discussed planning for the
2012 budget cut, we believed that the economy would
bounce back after the 2012 biennium.
As we discussed in the July town meeting,
For next year, FY 11, our total
general fund budget is projected to be $64.7M with
$25.7M coming from the state allocation and the
remaining from tuition. The percentage covered by the
state is 40%, down from 48% in FY 2009.
It is virtually certain that we will
have a significant cut in our state appropriation coming
into the 2012 biennium. We are projecting a range of
$3.5M to $7M depending on how much of the deficit is
addressed by budget cuts and how much is addressed by
We can handle the lower end of the
range without layoffs. However, if the cut goes to the
upper end of the range, we will need to eliminate some
of our temporary positions. Given the budget
uncertainty, we have used temporary positions to serve
as a buffer protecting our long-term employees from
At this time, the general belief is
that the Minnesota economy will be much slower in
recovery than was first expected. We expect a continued
decrease of state appropriations for at least the coming
10 years, although the decreases after 2012 are likely
to be more gradual.
Tuition increases cannot fully
substitute for loss of appropriation without
compromising access and affordability. Further, it is
expected that the Trustees will continue to regulate the
rate of increase.
We are working on plans for fiscal
sustainability, which include exploring additional
revenue to supplant declining appropriations without
diluting our brand or straying from our mission.
Plans for the Coming Year
Following are some highlights of goals for the coming year, organized
according to our new strategic plan. We are currently refining our
annual action plan to reflect the new System action plan as well as our
current challenges. That plan will be discussed with the University
Planning and Budget Committee in the near future. Where appropriate, we
have noted the correspondence with the new System action plan.
Initiative 1: Offer competitive, high quality, rigorous
academic programs and services that provide students the versatility to
shape a changing world and support the state and regional economies.
Continue the focus on discussion of
student learning expectations, assessment of student
learning outcomes and competencies, and resultant
program improvements. Communicate these results across
the University and to the community.
Achieve accreditation from the Higher
Learning Commission for online offerings.
Increase the number of online and
hybrid courses. (MnSCU goal 2.3)
Continue the strong focus on and
support for faculty mentoring and engaged learning
(e.g., student academic research conference, student
participation in regional and national competitions).
Continue work with faculty and staff
to review and, as necessary, reconfigure programs and
curricula in order to meet current and future
educational needs. (MnSCU goal 4.2)
Initiative 2: Increase enrollment and
student success, including underrepresented students. The number of
enrolled students should reach 8,000 within the next five years with
continued improvements in student success indicators.
Increase enrollment and related
tuition revenue by 6% by Fall 2011 from the base of Fall
2008 through a combination of increased new freshmen,
increased transfers, and improved retention.
Improve retention and graduation rates
(4, 5, and 6 year) across colleges and for the campus as
Provide programming and facilities to
enhance student recruitment and retention as well as
improve campus services and efficiency. For example,
significant developments are underway with intramural
sports, the academic student support hub in Flora Frick,
and Wellness Center.
Increase transfer success for
qualified students by improving compliance with the
MnSCU transfer curriculum. (MnSCU goal 1.4)
Implement new strategic plan in
Athletics to improve program quality and leverage
resources for scholarships.
Initiative 3: Strengthen our relationships
with key stakeholders, including alumni, other donors, neighborhood
groups, and the business community.
Continue to Build MSUM's market
position, identity, and brand to leverage its
Continue to develop programs to engage
new alumni and increase regional and programmatic alumni
Develop student/alumni mentorship and
Increase cash and pledges by 25%.\
Increase the number of donors by 5%
over the baseline of FY10.
Increase the amount of money for
scholarships by 5% over FY10.
Initiative 4: Continue to develop
infrastructures that are sustainable through difficult economic times as
well as consistent with the caring community that is MSUM.
Decrease base budget and increase
revenue in preparation for the decrease in state
appropriation for the next biennium with the aim of
continuing to avoid layoffs where possible while
maintaining programs, quality, and accountability.
Develop a plan for long term fiscal
sustainability in the face of continued decrease of
Continue focus on efficiency of
expenditures (e.g., department cost recovery ratios) and
Continue improvements in energy
efficiency using new system benchmarking tools to
Continue to improve the quality and
profitability of the summer session with a goal of
increasing net revenue by at least 25%.
Provide programming and facilities to
enhance student recruitment and retention as well as
improve campus services and efficiency.
Continue to implement and assess
internal controls for business practices to ensure
accountability and alignment with Board policies and