About the President
Points of Pride
A Special Place
Dille Fund for Excellence
President's Remarks & Updates
Vision Task Force
University Reaccreditation 2007
Office of the President
203 Owens Hall
1104 Seventh Ave. S.
Moorhead, MN 56563
Presidentís Update to the
MSUM Alumni Foundation
May 14, 2009
Highlights of the Last Year
The 2009 flood added an interesting dimension to my first year as
president. Actually, I consider myself privileged to have seen the best
in human nature. The generosity and commitment of this community were
truly exceptional. The volunteer center at Nemzek registered over 25,000
volunteers. The call center handled evacuation and damage calls for the
city and county on a 24/7 basis. Fortunately, the campus was safe.
However, some of our students, faculty, and staff had damage to their
homes and apartments. Repairs and recovery are underway.
Mission and Vision
During the past year, we have developed and refined a new vision and
mission for the university. I thank Ev Quigley for a great job
representing the Alumni Foundation Board on this body. The task force
spent much of the year developing drafts and receiving feedback the
campus community and other groups. Following are the final versions,
which will be presented next week to the Board of Trustees for approval.
New Vision Statement
University Moorhead will be a welcoming educational community that
offers rigorous courses of study and places high expectations upon its
students. Our strong commitment to faculty-mentored undergraduate
research and intellectual growth will provide students with continual
opportunities for personal and professional achievement. MSUM will
continue to foster an environment that encourages students to become
versatile, thoughtful, innovative, and engaged leaders who contribute to
their professions and their communities.
diversity and mutual respect and will strive to instill these ideals
throughout the institution. MSUM honors its heritage as a respected,
student-focused, public university and will continue to enhance our
studentís lives at the same time that it contributes to the community
and the region. MSUM will offer graduate and professional programs that
contribute to the state and region through increased collaboration with
local and state business, industry, and human services to assure optimal
preparation of graduates.
University Moorhead will build upon a solid foundation of high quality
teaching and learning as it commits to a future as the premiere liberal
arts and sciences-based university in the region.
details of our vision:
development and growth of critical academic programs,
including those that have established regional
graduate and professional programs that contribute to
the state and region through increased collaboration
with local and state business, industry, and human
services to assure optimal preparation of graduates to
meet state and regional needs.
programs with community and technical colleges as well
as professional development programs that serve the
needs of area employers and enable workers to continue
interdisciplinary and cutting-edge programs that
capitalize on strengths and opportunities.
and alternate course delivery options, together with
enhanced opportunities for late day and weekend
comprehensive, evolving, and innovative curricular
designs that prepare students for emerging technologies,
increasing global connections, and complex ethical,
social, civic, and environmental responsibilities.
year and multi-year academic living and learning
emphasis on undergraduate research and creative activity
in a faculty-mentored environment.
development of a strong athletics program that promotes
a balance between academic achievement, athletic
success, and community engagement and service.
with alumni and regional business and community leaders
to enrich curricula through guest lectures, career
explorations, workplace connections, professional
internships, and advisory committees.
student preparation for a diverse and global workplace
through study abroad and diversity programs.
focus on holistic student development through programs
that integrate diversity, student organizations,
intramural activities, engaged responsible living, and
master planning and careful stewardship to improve the
physical and social spaces that will promote learning,
sustainability, and campus ownership by students,
faculty, staff, and the community.
appropriate technologies that improve our systems and
processes as well as support student learning.
and ongoing relationships with alumni and a strong
Alumni Foundation that promote philanthropy to support
transparent fiscal models that promote long term fiscal
stability and reflect our institutionís values.
with the city, surrounding neighborhoods, and private
partners to increase residential alternatives and
promote the desirability of living in the immediate area
and in the region.
provide cultural, educational, intellectual, and
outreach programs and activities that strengthen the
university and contribute to the vitality of the local
New Mission Statement*
Minnesota State University
Moorhead is a caring community promising all students the opportunity to
discover their passions, the rigor to develop intellectually and the
versatility to shape a changing world.
Budget Challenge and Recovery
Unfortunately, much of my first year has been devoted to our budget
challenges. Following is a description of our situation.
The situation in which we find ourselves today is the result of a
perfect storm. The two fronts that united were our own growing campus
structural deficit, currently at $4.95M, and the recession-caused state
revenue shortfall and subsequent appropriation decrease of approximately
Student credit hour generation has
declined each year for the past five years resulting in a decrease in
our percent share of the state appropriation. At the same time our
revenue was further limited by earlier decisions to hold tuition low and
disincentives in our current tuition and fee structure. Meanwhile, fixed
unit costs from compensation and utilities continued to rise during most
of those years, and connections between resource allocation and revenue
generation were too weak to promote fiscal stability. Finally, base
budgets were not sufficiently reduced in keeping with the combination of
declining revenue and increasing fixed expenses, resulting in a
It will take us at least a few years to
recover from the state appropriation front of the storm. Tax revenue
funds state appropriations. Thus, if the economy recovers in Year 1, the
tax revenue rebounds in Year 2, and the appropriation would hopefully
catch up in Year 3. The most recent state economic forecast suggests
both a slow recovery and a potential additional problem for the 2012 Ė
2013 biennium. See
Stabilization and Recovery
Our approach to fiscal stabilization and recovery has been multifaceted.
In the following paragraphs, I outline our strategies under the
categories of communication and information gathering, budget reduction,
improved fiscal processes, improved revenue generation, and planning for
Fiscal Year 2012.
Communication and Information
Starting in September, we
began regular meetings with bargaining unit leaders and
a series of regular town meetings to discuss budget
issues with the campus community. These meetings,
normally held at three times during a day, were well
attended and accompanied by a web posting. (http://web.mnstate.edu/president/Speeches/budget_and_planning_presentations/indexnew.htm
We initiated a campus
wide review of all academic, support, and administrative
In addition, we charged
an energy task force and have already implemented some
of their recommendations.
To address part of the
problem, we initiated a review of our tuition and fee
structure through a multi-divisional task force
including representation from the student senate and the
We initiated a hiring
We developed and are in
the process of implementing a plan for retrenchments and
layoffs. The plan uses the federal stimulus for one-time
costs from layoffs and separation incentives, resolves
the structural deficit, and uses information from the
program review process to selectively eliminate or
reduce programs and to remove duplication.
We will start FY 2010
with a balanced base budget rather than deferring cuts
through the use of one time funds. However, stimulus
dollars will be used for one-time costs relating to
layoffs and early separation incentives.
Improved Fiscal Processes
With help from
Chancellorís Office staff we developed a revised tuition
and fee structure that removes some current
disincentives. The proposed structure will convert some
fees to tuition, spread fees over the first 12 credits,
band tuition from 12-19 credits, and charge differential
tuition for some programs. The proposal, which was
supported by the student senate, is scheduled for Board
We restructured our
summer school schedule and process to significantly
We changed our fiscal
processes to institute stronger spending controls, use
more conservative revenue assumptions, and better
connect resource allocation to revenue generation.
Specifically, we will continue to examine academic
programs for their cost recovery ratios; we will use
credit generation and enrollment data as part of the
process of prioritizing resource allocation; and, we
will not hire ongoing positions without firm evidence of
actual, ongoing revenue.
Improved Revenue Generation
To address the enrollment
issue, we enlisted consultants from Noel-Levitz for a
focused review. They identified clear areas of concern
and needed improvement. We are addressing those areas.
We have added additional
oversight to enrollment management.
We are investing in the
following positions specifically related to increasing
enrollment: a marketing director, a webmaster for
marketing, a Twin Cities recruiter, and one FTE for data
management related to enrollment management.
Planning for Fiscal Year 2012
Recent state economic
forecasts suggest the potential for an additional cut in
the state appropriation in fiscal year 2012.
By balancing the base
budget for 2010 and using stimulus funds only for
one-time purposes, we have removed the deficit and
decreased the budget challenges going forward to 2012.
We are planning to
increase enrollment and therefore tuition revenue by 2%
by Fall 2010 and an additional 2-4% by Fall 2011.
We are planning to
maximize the University Reserve by Fall 2011 in order to
provide bridge funding until the economy recovers and
the state appropriation stabilizes.
We plan to continue
strong fiscal processes and controls in order to
anticipate and avoid future deficits.
My Vision for MSUM
During my first few weeks, I created a list of signature themes and
goals for my first few years. These are a longer term version of the
goals I address in my regular quarterly updates on the web (see
The major themes will be Student Success,
Enrollment, and Endowment. The following goals relate to these elements.
MSUM will have a clear,
comprehensive sense of its identity and unique market
niche. This sense will be consistent with the
universityís mission, clear, focused, owned by major
internal and external constituencies, and will serve as
the foundation for external and internal communications.
(Note that this relates to both enrollment and
MSUM will have a strong
advancement operation consistent with both its culture
and the potential of the university. This operation will
significantly increase the endowment from $10M to $20M
within the first 5 years.
We will have an increased
focus on enrollment and students. We must stabilize and
increase our enrollment in the face of increased
competition for students. At the same time, we must
assure that admitted students are provided with the
necessary structure and support for success, as measured
by increased retention and graduation rates.
MSUM will have new,
collaboratively developed strategic and facility master
plans that will provide compasses to guide programs and
facilities into an increasingly technological and
complex future and will secure MSUMís place as a major
economic engine for the region. (This relates to
enrollment, student success, and endowment.)
These themes and goals continue to guide
my actions. I have added one additional goal.
This goal was mentioned in the vision
statement and partially illustrated in the solutions to the budget
Since writing those goals, we have
learned that one key component to our focus on students and enrollment
as well as the focus on a stable fiscal model will be an increase in
state of the art residence halls and living and learning communities.
These facilities are critical if we are to continue our growth in
students from out of the region. Public-private partnerships and
philanthropy will be key to this effort.
*Pending approval by the MnSCU
Board of Trustees, scheduled May 19, 2009