Dear Members of the Saint Mary's College Community,
In the weeks since our February community budget meeting, the Budget Committee and Cabinet have been working to further refine the College's budget plan for 2009-2010. The suggestions received at the community meeting have been grouped into categories and are posted on the Budget Committee web page. Although some comments have already been addressed, the site continues to provide an opportunity for community members to post additional input and suggestions. I want to thank all in our community who have shared their insights and suggestions so far and urge all to continue to forward their thoughts to Budget or Cabinet members.
The Budget Committee and Cabinet also continue to monitor strategic financial indicators such as enrollment, admission and financial aid data, and endowment status. We seem to receive almost daily reminders of the dynamism of our economic environment through gyrations in markets, state budget uncertainties or announcements of new levels of financial adjustments by other esteemed institutions of higher education. While our own budget situation has not materially changed since the Board approved our 2009-2010 assumptions, one budget factor that has received a great deal of attention since that time is the need to provide some funds during the coming year for faculty and staff who are promoted. The integrity of our system of academic promotion and advancement depends upon faculty being able to move up its steps. Similarly, the usefulness of the position source document process, which was initiated by the Strategic Plan, and the appropriate recognition of other earned promotions identified a need for some similar funding for staff members. I am pleased to report that the Cabinet has identified the funds for these initiatives and shared our revised plan with our Board of Trustees.
The most difficult and at times painful work of the past few weeks has been identifying the reductions in the faculty and staff salary pools ($750,000 and $1.5M respectively) called for by our 2009-2010 plan. Reducing or ending the employment of valued members of our community literally puts a human face on the economic challenges we confront. While Cabinet members were asked to identify savings in their area, the adopted reductions were ultimately guided by the College's strategic priorities. These savings will be accomplished through the following steps:
- Nineteen of 61 adjunct faculty positions have been eliminated to date. Some of the individuals impacted will continue teaching at the College as lecturers. No tenure track faculty positions have been eliminated.
- Thirteen currently vacant staff positions have been eliminated.
- Twelve current staff members' positions have been eliminated and will leave College employment between April 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009.
- Twenty-seven staff members' positions will have reductions in hours worked.
- Two departments, Architectural Services and CLAM, will be closed as of April 1, 2009.
The decisions about affected adjunct faculty and staff were made in the most consistent and compassionate way possible, given our budget realities. All of our faculty and staff have a deep investment in and commitment to our mission that cannot be quantified, all have earned the respect of peers, and all have contributed to the reputation of the College.
All affected individuals have been notified. Staff whose positions have been eliminated and whose employment with the College is ended will be offered separation packages similar to those offered to employees affected by the closure of SEED. These staff will also be given thorough consideration for other open positions at Saint Mary's. Individual departments will work with affected employees to determine the best way to honor and recognize their service to Saint Mary's as they end their employment at the College. The College Bulletin will also report the names of departing employees as their end of employment dates occur.
I want to personally thank all of the affected employees for their service to the College and to its mission. Your efforts are and have been greatly appreciated.
The economic challenges we face as a College community become all too real when we are required to make difficult and unwanted choices; nevertheless, I believe that guided by our mission of providing the highest quality education to students, especially the poor, we will emerge an even stronger and more resilient institution.
In St. LaSalle,
Brother Ronald Gallagher, FSC