President Goldfarb Fall 2003 Welcome Letter
August 13, 2003
Dear Campus Community,
I want to take this opportunity to welcome new and returning students, faculty and staff to Western Illinois University. While these are challenging times, we will continue to focus on our instructional mission, complete our strategic plan, expand opportunities in the Quad Cities and support our outstanding faculty and staff.
Let me again thank each of you for your understanding and patience during this past fiscal year. Westerns loyal and dedicated faculty, staff, administration and student body exhibited a willingness to make and accept difficult budget decisions, improve efficiencies and make our instructional mission our top priority.
We begin the fiscal year with a total University operating budget of $94,075,100. This is more than $1.2 million less than the $95,319,000 operational budget we had for the year ending June 30 and $1.5 million less than our FY02 total of $95,639,800. Our operational budgets reflect both a decline in state support as well as increases in University income funds.
We are fortunate to have additional income fund support due to growing enrollment, even as we continue our innovative, well-managed Cost Guarantee program which freezes tuition, fees and room and board rates for incoming students. When the governor signed the recent truth in tuition legislation he specifically mentioned Western. Our Cost Guarantee has been recognized in the New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. We need to remember that we were first in the state to create this remarkable guarantee and we remain unique by also guaranteeing fees as well as room and board.
In my second year I am joined by Provost Joseph Rallo, who began his duties July 1. We look forward to working with the University community to complete our strategic plan and start the process of implementing future academic initiatives. We will soon begin national searches for an associate provost to oversee the Quad Cities and continuing education as well as academic deans to lead the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts and Communication and Education and Human Services.
Our campus theme, Now is the Time Social Justice, will be incorporated into a variety of programs, including classroom discussions, public forums and reading groups throughout the academic year. In this fashion we urge the campus to join us in a community dialogue that enhances our students education inside and outside of the classroom.
Dealing with the continuing budget crisis will be a major administrative priority in this coming fiscal year. While Western has an outstanding record of allocating resources toward our teaching, research, and public service missions, we will continue to meet state-requested administrative cost adjustments by shifting resources to those University priorities. To meet state goals while maintaining instructional priorities we required local and bond funds at Western to provide five percent of their FY04 revenue toward a University administrative cost reallocation of more than $1.3 million. The vice presidents, deans and directors will continue their reallocation efforts by moving an additional $1.89 million from general revenue to meet our budget shortfall. (This reduction will be just slightly more than what was returned to the base after the FY03 rescission.)
These reallocations will enable the University to address salary needs for our outstanding faculty and staff. We are in the process of implementing a plan to provide a 2.5 percent salary increase in FY04 pending agreements with all of our collective bargaining units at the University. I am pleased that even in the midst of such dire budget circumstances we are able to provide salary increases; and at the same time, we will continue to guard against layoffs of currently employed personnel.
The new year also provides expanded opportunities for the University. The gift of 20 acres of land, along with the former tech center facility, from Deere and Company for the development of a WIU-Quad Cities riverfront campus also resulted in an award of $200,000 in state funds to begin formulating plans. The $4 million in planning funds for the Performing Arts Center project on our campus in Macomb was reappropriated for FY04, and we will work with state officials to have an architect named and funds released to start planning for construction. We also look forward to finalizing a strategic plan for the University, including recommendations for improved technology usage and the continued enhancement of the Universitys image through campuswide integrated marketing.
The first year for Elaine and me at Western has been exciting, challenging and rewarding. Please know that I appreciate all of the support I have received and how much I look forward to our future at Western Illinois University. This is a remarkable public university with outstanding faculty, staff and students. We are honored to be part of the community.