May 2011 Update


Earlier this spring, I began a monthly update to the Board of Trustees, with quick facts on the various topics I monitor regularly.  Trustees have appreciated the updates and now that we have some experience with the format, I’d like to send monthly updates to you.  We’ll aim for updates each mid-month. 

RRP2 Forums, Feedback and Next Steps:  We had eight opportunities this spring semester for faculty and staff to meet in ensemble setting to provide feedback to the task group and to me, plus three additional Conversations with the President on open topics. Thelmo and the Alumni Council met to discuss the report, several governance committees focused on the report during regular meetings.  The task group produced an addendum of comments to be shared with the Board and to inform Canaras and the Strategic Mapping Council this summer.

Strategic Mapping Council:  With countless hours between my March 23 memo and now, let me excerpt what I shared in that communication regarding next steps for strategic planning:  The RR-P2 report is as comprehensive and substantive as a National Geographic world atlas. It is nearly encyclopedic in its treatment of issues that have had much study over the years, in the Middle States Accreditation Report, in internal studies, and even a recent market research study. From the atlas, we need to develop a map. 

I will convene a Strategic “Mapping” Council of faculty, staff and trustees who will meet during the summer, creating a succinct, visionary strategic map that will be the topic of campus dialog in September.  The goal is to present a new Strategic Plan (or “map”) to the Board of Trustees at its October 2011 meeting.  With this strategic map, we begin to shape St. Lawrence’s financially secure and dynamically growing future, a shared vision that must be promising, ambitious and reachable. 

I will also note here that this summer, if not sooner, we will begin the preliminary research necessary to the development of a new Campus Master (Facilities) Plan. Once we have a shared endorsement of a Strategic Map, and have done our homework on facilities inventories, the Campus Master (Facilities) Plan will identify future campus and infrastructure priorities to support strategic initiatives. We will, of course, invite broad campus participation in the master planning process as we near this special project’s beginning.

Faculty Council has given me, at my request, names of 15 faculty members to invite to our summer planning retreat.  Administrative staff, hourly staff, students, alumni, community and trustees will comprise the full council, which will work in early August.

The special planning grant from the Mellon Foundation will assist us in this major next step toward a "Sustainable St. Lawrence." The summer retreat for the Strategic Mapping Council will be led by a well-known consultant in institutional planning who has written several publications for and is highly recommended by the national Association of Governing Boards.

Financial Report: Operating revenues are 3.1% ahead of projections and operating expenses are 2.1% behind projections, and the net spread is 5.2% favorable. Thanks to everyone for your role in making the best use of University resources.  Most expense areas continue behind last year. The endowment market value as of 3/31/2011 (the date we use to fix endowment income projections for the following budget year) is $236,026,649.  Total annual return is 18.7%. As of May 9 total gifts for 2010-2011 continue to run slightly behind last year with $12.5 million received.  Cash from current and previous gifts are on track with projections.

Admissions:  As of May 13, we have had 698 total deposits; 667 remain active (31 withdrawals and deferrals to 2012).  We expect 12-15 more deposits for total of 710-715.  Of these, 5 are expected to defer.  We estimate first-year enrollment of 645-657 (plus any transfers required to have FYP).  The mean SAT score for those we expect to enroll is up 10 points. We will welcome 43 Presidential Diversity Scholars next fall, compared with 34 last fall; we expect the strongest HEOP class in 14 years, and we will have the same strong percentage of the class coming from the North Country as last year. Our new financial aid model should help us secure more net revenue, as we wished, while still aiding more students.  A study team is planning for First-Year program, student housing and student services, and another team will review first-year student interests to consider academic staffing.  

Contract negotiations: We begin negotiations with St. Lawrence’s three bargaining units immediately after the May Board meeting.  All agreed to a one-year rollover of their contracts in 2010, so new three-year contracts will take effect July 1, 2011.  

Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid:  Our search committee will bring four strong finalists to campus the week after Commencement.