Recession Response - Phase 2 Task Group Report

To:                   The St. Lawrence Community
From:              William L. Fox, President
Date:               March 23, 2011
Subject:          Recession Response-Phase 2 Task Group Report

At the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester, I shared with you the goals and objectives of the Recession Response-Phase 2 task group (“RR-P2”), slightly different from the prior year’s task group with its acute focus on realigning revenues and expenses in the university’s operating budget.  This academic year, a dozen representative members of our faculty and staff accepted the challenging assignment to lead a community study of the university’s optimal structure, organization, and programs in the context of the emerging economic “new norm.” I asked the task group to produce a report that would center on making the quality and reputation of St. Lawrence’s numerous programs financially sustainable.  The task group’s tireless efforts, co-led by Karl Schonberg and Anne Sibley, over the past six months deserve our highest regard and deepest appreciation. 

The task group understood from its first meeting that we are at a turning point, a place of transition that has recognized institutional values of thrift as the rhythm of our present routine while also adopting comparable values of innovation as the source energy of our future.  Their report understands St. Lawrence’s distinctive culture, combines a plethora of excellent ideas from all members of the Laurentian community, and leaves in place an excellent framework for strategic thinking and mapping in the months ahead.

This report is a set of ideas that will be discussed in many venues across the campus in the weeks ahead.  We hope it will serve as a starting point for a variety of conversations from casual “table-talk” to town-hall discussions, with numerous opportunities for all in our community to participate in this dialogue, if they wish to do so.  

This memo outlines the process and schedule of eliciting responses.   After our discussion period, the task group will then assemble comments into an appendix to the report, a section informed by your voices of experience and insight. Trustees expect to spend time in May and at their annual planning retreat in June discussing the report and the additional campus feedback. 
What happens after that? 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. 

As we are working, 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.

Response Gathering
We have organized a communication and feedback process to assure inclusion, to engage campus community members and to pave the way for the development of the Strategic Plan. 

*The RR-P2 report is accessible on-line to members of the campus community with SLU credentials. (You can access it from campus or using VPN from off campus.) Print copies are on reserve in ODY and accessible with SLU ID. In addition to campus forums described below, we have a created a Web feedback form for comments by those who do not wish to attend an event.  Your comments will be assembled and shared with the RR-P2 committee and senior staff members.

All-campus forums led by RR-P2 Chairs Karl Schonberg and Anne Sibley.

Initial Report Presentation:

The RR-P2 Task Group will provide a brief overview of its report and respond to questions and comments.

Tuesday, March 29, 11:40-12:40, Hepburn 218 
Wednesday, March 30, 4:30-5:30, Hepburn 218

Follow-up Discussion Sessions:  

Members of the RR-P2 Task Group will talk with all interested faculty and staff about their comments, questions, and additional ideas.

Friday, April 1, 2:00-3:00, Sykes Common Room
Monday April 4, 9:00-10:00, Sykes Common Room
Thursday, April 7, 4:30-5:30, Sykes Common Room

Campus Conversations with the President: 

Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 a.m.                      All Non-exempt Staff   Eben Holden
Tuesday, April 19, 12 noon                            Faculty                          Sykes Common Room
Wednesday, April 27, 12:30 p.m.                  Administrators            Sykes Common Room

Dedicated discussions at regularly scheduled meetings of the on-campus Budget and Finance Committee, Institutional Strategy and Assessment Committee,  Academic Affairs Committee, and Faculty Council.

Dedicated discussion at a regularly scheduled meeting of Academic Department Chairs 

Dedicated discussion with members of the Thelomathesian Society and at regular meeting with College Assistants (CAs).

We also may schedule smaller group meetings around specific topics.  

Thank you for all your vital interest and thoughts in this planning process.

References: 
Recession Response Phase 2 Report