Dec 19, 2006
Dear HSU Community Member: As you know, I recently invited Manuel A. Esteban, our former Provost and the President Emeritus of CSU Chico, to spend a few days on our campus to advise us about the budget reductions we must make in order to bring our expenditures into line with our revenue for the 2007/2008 fiscal year that begins July 1, 2007.
Dr. Esteban sent me a report that is available to you online at http://www.humboldt.edu/~hsupres/. I urge you to study his recommendations carefully. This web site also contains a link to a confidential survey where you can enter your ideas on how to reduce our expenditures.
Earlier this semester I made a presentation on the budget situation and also distributed a list of pertinent questions and answers. I encourage you to review those documents as well so that we can proceed with a shared understanding of the important issues and challenges facing HSU. You can access those documents along with other information and communication about the budget at http://www.humboldt.edu/~budget/Pages/News.htm. Additional budget information is available on the University Budget Office’s web site at http://www.humboldt.edu/~budget/home.htm.
In addition to the steps outlined in the Q and A and other documents, I have asked the vice presidents to look very carefully at any future hires including faculty, staff and administrators. Also, I have asked them to review any nonessential travel requests. I anticipate that we will keep these requests in place until the beginning of the new fiscal year in July.
Such requests will be re-examined when we have determined how we are going to achieve a balance between our expenditures and our revenue for next year and into the future.
I also have asked the University Budget Committee to consider proposals for budget reductions and reallocations from the vice presidents and my office and to make recommendations to the University Executive Committee and me by March 20th. We also intend to consult widely with various constituencies on campus in the latter half of February before recommendations are made to the University Executive Committee. It is our intent to make our decisions about the 2007/08 budget available to the campus on April 2nd.
This spring semester we will face many difficult decisions. We have a collaborative and open process in place that will help render these decisions. Humboldt State University has the opportunity to become better prepared to face the financial challenges of the future. I believe that through this process we can also make what we offer to our students more relevant and of higher quality.
While the budget realignment draws much of our attention, let us not lose sight of the many encouraging signs of momentum. Our marketing and recruitment efforts to attract more students to HSU are beginning to work.
This year’s freshman class was the largest in HSU’s history, and freshman applications for next year are up nearly 14 percent compared to last year at the same time. This is nearly twice the increase that the CSU as a whole is experiencing. Despite a downturn in transfer student applications for the CSU, HSU’s transfer applications are holding steady. For the spring semester, the average student load is up to 14.5 credits compared to 14.23 credits at this time last year. While we will not meet our enrollment target for this year (7,014 FTES), these efforts have moved us closer to our target than we have been in the past.
The positive signs are not limited to enrollment. The number of alumni who have made a gift to the University has increased dramatically. Through mid-December, 1,977 alumni have made contributions this fiscal year, compared to 1,976 for the entire fiscal period last year. Assets under management by the HSU Advancement Foundation are now more than $20 million compared to slightly more than $13 million when the Advancement Foundation was officially started in March 2005. Faculty continue to excel in teaching and research with numbers of HSU scholars receiving awards and professional accolades. Thanks to designated bond, government, and gift funding, HSU will complete construction of the new behavioral and social sciences building in the spring; HSU’s new 16,000 square foot Boating Instruction and Safety Center will soon be completed; the new renovations to Science Building B have received positive reviews; construction is well underway on the new physical education building; and the new campus gates and kiosks have improved the way newcomers are welcomed to the campus. It would be nice if some of these designated capital funds could be used to help with our operational deficit, but the laws guiding the use of such funds prohibit us from doing so.
Thank you for taking time to read Dr. Esteban’s report. It contains many good suggestions and much wisdom. I am also grateful for your input and for what you do for our students, the university and the community. I wish you a very happy and productive new year.
Rollin C. Richmond