Recession Response
From President Fox

To:                   The St. Lawrence Community

From:               William L. Fox, President

Date:                February 26, 2010

Subject:           Workforce Assessment Process

In my February 20 campus memo, after the conclusion of the Board meeting, I cited several next steps in our strategic thinking process.  My note today is to elaborate on the workforce assessment that we will conduct this spring.

As you know from your reading of the Recession Response Planning Task Group report, we must reduce the 2010-2011 personnel budget, through “careful examination of the staffing structures at the University.”  Thus, we have now prepared Phase I of this important and necessary process.

Using examples from other colleges, but mainly a result of the culture of involvement here at St. Lawrence, and with full support of the Board of Trustees, we have outlined an internal  process to assess all administrative and hourly positions (excluding full-time teaching positions) at St. Lawrence University for their efficiency and support of the mission and current organization. This assessment will focus on positions and functions.

As we develop departmental budgets for 2010-11, directors, academic department chairs and managers who supervise staff will:

*consider the original purpose and current functions of each department

*define the skills and capabilities needed for those functions

*imagine ways we might gain efficiencies by adopting new collaborations, by using technologies, eliminating functions that are no longer central, and changing the ways we complete our work

Department leaders, in conjunction with their respective senior staff colleagues, will use a common assessment template that asks for careful reflection on these topics.  We expect such assessments to be done thoroughly and with dispatch, as reports will be due by April 1.  We’ll also be asking supervisors to talk with staff about known plans for retirement. The senior staff and I will review all reports and then work to develop our staffing plan for 2010-2011 that will be incorporated into the budget for approval by the Board of Trustees in May.

Let me offer a few additional words about the work that is taking place on a separate, but parallel, track—work that will form the foundation of our plans for St. Lawrence’s secure and very promising future.

Phase 2 of financial equilibrium planning will begin this summer.  Phase 2 will be a review of the optimal organizational structure of the University that will include such aspects as academic program, year-round activities, early retirement planning, recommendations of the market research project, and balanced operating budgets for each year of the next decade.  To inform Phase 2, these next steps are taking place:

*Trustees, with members of the University Advancement staff, will focus on a plan to bring the campaign Momentum St. Lawrence to a successful conclusion

*With the report of Hardwick Day/Strategic Research Partners, we will know by early June much more about the perceptions and aspirations of our admissions market, and will be able to develop our new enrollment plan for the coming years

*Dean Valerie Lehr and the Faculty Council have formed subcommittees this semester within our governance tradition to begin a review of some academic program areas. This is the beginning of a discussion that will continue in the year ahead

We sponsored two forums in early February to exchange ideas and hear your thoughts.  We wish to continue this campus conversation with further opportunity for dialog.

I will have Open Office Hours for anyone to stop by Vilas 111 and talk. No need to call in advance, but each visit will be limited to 10-15 minutes as a courtesy to others.

Thursday, March 4, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Friday, March 5, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

We also will have campus forums in later March. If you’d like to mark your calendars, the schedule is:

Monday, March 22
11 a.m.-12 noon          Exempt Administrative Staff  (Eben Holden)

Tuesday, March 23

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.           Dining Services Staff  (Winston Room, Sullivan Student Center)
4:30 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.    Faculty (Eben Holden)

Wednesday, March 24
7:30 a.m.- 8:30 a.m.     Facilities Operations Staff (Eben Holden)
4:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.    CSEA Staff (Eben Holden)

Thank you for the good will and good faith that I believe will make this phenomenal place even stronger.