Minnesota State University Moorhead
Presidentís University Welcome
August 17, 2009
President Edna Mora
Why MSUM is a Special Place
Update on Last Yearís Goals
Goals for the Coming Year
Why Minnesota State University Moorhead is a
It has been just a year now since last yearís opening
remarks, and what a year it has been! We have been through budget cuts
and the Red River flood. Through all of our challenges, I have become
ever more convinced that MSUM is, indeed, a very special place. We have
been a well kept secret, and we are in the process of changing that
status. Here are some reasons why we should all be very proud.
With the addition of Martin Grindeland,
weíve had eight faculty members named as Carnegie
Foundation Minnesota State Professors of the Year. This
feat puts us among the top 15 universities in the
country and the clear leader in our region. And, these
individuals are just the tip of the iceberg. As I have
previously noted, we have amazing bench strength in the
excellence of our faculty.
Our students have continued to excel
in national and regional competitions. For example,
Once again our
students placed extraordinarily well at
the Society of Professional Journalists
Mark of Excellence Awards with one
national winner and five finalists. The
only universities with more awards that
MSUM were Arizona State, University of
Maryland Ė College Park, and University
of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
This past year, two
MSUM students were among 278 students in
the nation to win prestigious Goldwater
scholarships, bringing us to 9 winners
in 8 years.
On campus, our students also excel.
Last Spring, a new
record of 585 students participated in
the eleventh annual Student Academic
Our Theatre department
presented another stellar season of the
Straw Hat players.
Our student athletes,
with their overall GPA of above 3.0,
placed 67th out of 290 schools in the
Learfield Directors Cup Standings, which
are based on academic performance.
Thanks to the hard work of our staff
and volunteers, our successful Dragons After Dark
program received an award for Innovation in Student
Affairs programming from the Chancellorís Office.
Retiring Dean Ron Jeppson was
recognized by the Chancellorís Office as the Outstanding
Academic and Student Affairs Administrator for the
And then there was the flood. The
university community came together to help save the
region. Students, staff, and faculty worked well above
the call of duty to get the job done and to show the
nation that we are a caring community.
I could go on for hours. However, I refer you to our
Points of Pride Web site at
http://web.mnstate.edu/pointsofpride/ . I believe that our new
mission statement says it all:
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.
Throughout the country, public higher education faces
some of the most difficult times in recent history. The global recession
and state revenue shortfalls have caused massive budget cuts and
layoffs. It is highly unlikely that we will see a return to the levels
of state support we enjoyed in previous decades. As we start our year,
we provide a brief overview of our situation for the current and the
The 2010 Biennium (7/09 Ė 6/11)
We closed a very significant budget gap by working together. We managed
to close it without layoffs and with the loss of very few academic
programs. Hereís a summary of our budget challenge for the 2010 biennium
and our solution.
Our budget gap coming into the
biennium eventually settled at $9.07M (~14%) Throughout
the Spring, economic forecasts worsened; the governor
and legislature adjusted their positions; contracts were
settled with little or no increase; and our actual
credit production figures solidified. During this time,
our estimates of the gap ranged from about ~$8M to
$9.7M. Of the final $9,076M, $4,95M resulted from our
structural deficit and the remainder from the
recession-caused state revenue shortfall. (See
for a description of the source of our structural
We solved the gap through a
combination of actions that were aided by bargaining
unit settlements that saved $1.2M. The rest of the cuts
were covered by the hiring freeze we implemented almost
a year ago, early separation incentives, decreased
operating costs, tighter fiscal controls, increased
program efficiencies, and increased revenue.
Faculty, staff, and students from
throughout the campus worked to contain costs and find
savings, thus saving jobs.
More detail on closing the 2010 gap
can be found in the July Town Meeting postings at (http://web.mnstate.edu/president/Speeches/budget_and_planning_presentations/7_28_2009_townhallmeeting.htm
The 2012 Biennium (7/11 Ė 6/13)
Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods. At the present time, the
is forecasting a revenue shortfall of over $7B coming into the 2012
biennium. This will mean a cut in state appropriations for the Minnesota
State Colleges and Universities System and, therefore, Minnesota State
University Moorhead. The Chancellorís Office has advised campuses to
begin planning for a cut in the 2012 biennium, and to anticipate a
possible unallotment during the coming year. Based on our percentage of
the system and past formulas, our early estimate is a campus cut of
approximately $4M per year. We will continue to refine this estimate
over the coming years.
As we mentioned in the July 28th town meeting, we are implementing a
multi-faceted strategy to increase revenue, decrease base budget costs,
and maintain or increase quality of service.
Given our $4M estimate, initially, we expect to address the cut through:
$2M increase in tuition revenue (6%
increase in enrollment),
$1M base budget cut, primarily from
early separation incentives, and
$.5M from increase summer session
$.5M of reserve each year as a bridge,
if the economic forecast suggests recovery.
We expect this plan to evolve over the coming years.
More specifics will be provided in the last section of this presentation
on our goals for the coming year.
I have absolutely no doubt that this fine and caring
community will work together to surmount the current budget challenges.
We will enter the next biennium with a new fiscal model that promotes
both prosperity and long-term fiscal stability.
Update on Last Yearís Goals
Last year, on the occasion of the opening address, I
set out four goals to focus my activity for the year. As the budget
challenge became apparent, I added that as a goal. I have provided
quarterly updates on the web on each of these goals. Here, I will
provide a very brief summary.
Goal 1: Listen, Learn, and Build Relationships
We have established a tradition of
town meetings and regular meetings with bargaining unit
I meet with service clubs and other
community groups as requested, and have done a good
number of such meetings.
Throughout the year, I attended the
Diversity Committee of the Minnesota State Colleges and
Universities Presidentsí Leadership Council. During the
coming year, I will co-chair that Committee with Dr.
Whitney Harris. This appointment will also require my
attendance at the Board of Trustees meetings each month.
I have met individually with
legislators and community leaders, and have met with
groups of alumni and students.
I was only able to meet with some of
the departments before the budget challenge intensified.
I plan to pick up with those meetings this semester and
hopefully to establish a regular schedule of
departmental and unit meetings.
Goal 2: Build Shared Vision and Focused Identity
Goal 3: Enhance Enrollment and Student Success,
We engaged the Noel-Levitz consulting firm for a
focused review on enrollment management. Their report recommended a
number of improvements that are currently underway.
To focus on enrollment, we have secured one time funding from the
Chancellorís Office for the following positions: an additional Twin
Cities recruiter, a director of marketing, a web communications
strategist, and additional FTE for data management for enrollment
management. These positions are part of a plan to increase enrollment 2%
by this time next year. The increased tuition revenue will enable base
budgeting of the new positions no later than 2011 and will provide
increasing additional revenue beyond that for future years.
To focus on recruitment and retention, we initiated four new first
year living learning communities with the following foci: Education,
Visual Arts, Biosciences, and Dragon Core.
The Academic Resource Office has continued to develop its focus on
The Residential Life master planning consultants completed their work
and presented it to the Cabinet and a representative from the
Chancellorís Office. The work included an analysis of how the projects
would be supported within the revenue fund, through a combination of
bonding, fees, and public private partnerships. The plan will be
presented to the Student Senate and other interested groups in the Fall
and will then proceed to implementation.
We have continued work with Metro Alliance partners and with the
Chancellorís Office to open new opportunities for completion programs in
the Twin Cities.
Goal 4: Improve Fund and Friend Raising
During the past year, we developed a new strategic plan for the Alumni
Foundation along with a new strategic communications plan. Both plans
and VP Justesenís May 09 report to the Alumni Foundation board are on
the Web. (See
During Fiscal Year 2009, donors provided $578,858, which was 6.5% more
in annual and endowed scholarships than in the previous year.
Fundraising for the Wellness Center continued.
The D-1 Hockey exploration process has yielded considerable media
coverage as well as the very real potential for significant donor
investment during the coming months.
Goal 5: Navigate Budget Challenges
Indeed, it has been a very busy year, and I thank all of you for your
hard work as we navigated the challenges of the budget and the flood.
Goals for the Coming Year
For the coming year, in addition to our work on the
campus component of the System strategic plan, we are focusing activity
around the following goals and will report progress in quarterly Web
Increase recruitment, retention,
and student success.
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
Develop a plan to
improve graduation rates (4, 5, and 6
year) across colleges.
and retention of underrepresented
Increase the number of
living and learning communities and the
number of students participating in such
Consult with students
and work towards implementation of the
Residential Life Master plan to renew
our facilities and support recruitment
Assure both quality and efficiency
in all areas of the university.
Continue the focus on
assessment of student learning outcomes
across the university.
Continue work on
specialized program accreditation as
Continue focus on cost
recovery ratios in academic departments.
Departmental data has been posted to the
Web and will be updated each year and
reviewed by the Academic Affairs Budget
areas, continue to examine potential for
collaborations, collocations, or
reorganizations in order to promote
efficiencies and achievement of key
goals. In addition, use quality
improvement tools to involve and empower
employees in the effort to continually
improve work processes.
plans for all non-instructional units.
Increase external recognition,
alumni engagement, and fundraising.
Refine and implement a
strategic marketing plan for university,
including improved use of the Web for
external and internal audiences.
Continue visibility in
local community and expand to
Develop programs to
engage new alumni and to increase
regional alumni groups.
of Homecoming as a campus wide event to
celebrate and support the university.
Increase the frequency
of alumni communication, including
special group updates.
Increase the number of
donors by 5% over the baseline of FY08.
Increase the amount of
money for scholarships by 10% over the
Continue development of a stable
fiscal model to take the University into the 2012
biennium and beyond.
Decrease base budget
personnel costs by $1M through
stronger fiscal controls
on hiring that directly
restrict expenditures to
levels consistent with
current and predicted
coupled with replacement
at a lower salary level
would be marked by fewer
overall FTE and/or lower
Continue focus on
efficiency of expenditures (e.g.,
department cost recovery ratios) and
through increased effort and
accountability in marketing, enrollment
management, fundraising, and residential
life with special attention to
increasing new first time freshmen and
Realize the benefits
of the new tuition and fee structure.
in the quality and profitability of the
Increase the reserve
to the maximum allowed by Minnesota
State Colleges and Universities policy
in order to assure a more stable
operating environment during this time
of economic uncertainty.
Complete a New Strategic Plan for
Building on the new
vision and mission statements, complete
and begin implementation of a new
strategic plan for the University that
aligns with the System strategic plan.
Develop an annual
report process of the plan, complete
with key performance indicators, which
will be monitored by the University
Planning and Budget Council. It is
intended that an annual report on the
plan along with any necessary changes in
goals or strategies will be posted each
year to the Web and reported to the
Develop a campus
master plan that follows the strategic
plan and vision and integrates the
Residence Life master plan.