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Sept. 27, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU’s performance boosts PASSHE funding

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The Slippery Rock University’s Council of Trustees were told today that SRU would will receive $3.8 million in performance funding from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, an increase of $500,000 compared to budget. The added funding will be used to help offset a portion of the University’s anticipated $5.2 million-budget deficit.

Robert Taylor, newly elected chair of the council and a member of the PASSHE board of governor’s that awards the performance fund, said, “This is quite an accomplishment, and each of you should be proud of this tremendous accomplishment.”

SRU led the 14 state universities by earning 9.75 of the 10 performance points available.

The PASSHE board withholds a percentage of the state appropriation it receives and then, redistributes the money through performance funding.

SRU met all of the mandatory performance indicators, including the number of degrees conferred, closing the achievement gap for Pell Grant students and under represented minority student enrollment, and in annual private fund raising, among others. It also met PASSHE-set goals related to retention, instruction productivity, student engagement and international experience programs.

SRU has traditionally received between $3.2- and $3.4 million in such funding.

The additional funding will help, but not eliminate, SRU’s budget issues, Cheryl Norton, SRU president said. “We are proud to have led the state system in meeting the performance goals and are already well on our way toward next year’s performance indicators.”

The council approved SRU’s 2013-14 Educational and General Fund budget of $114,505,814. To balance the budget against income, the University will use the additional performance funding, $1.08 million in reserves and implement nearly $3.6 million in personnel and non-personnel reductions submitted by each of the divisions. The personnel reductions will be achieved by not filling vacancies and natural attrition.

Taylor called the 2013-14 budget very difficult and a “pain in the budget. But it is a sensible, reasonable budget.”.

“This balanced budget is the result of increased performance funding revenues, strategic reductions in each of the divisions, plus the use of institutional reserves. While these budget reductions were difficult, every effort was made to preserve the core mission and values of the University. I’m confident this budget will allow SRU to continue to provide the Rock Solid educational experience for which the University is known,” Norton said.

Norton said the 2014-15 budget would be much tougher to balance. “We have engaged the leadership in each of the collective bargaining units and have reached out to the entire University community, including students, alumni and friends, to involve them in the process and provide access to all the data and planning assumptions upon which decisions will be made. To facilitate participation, we’ve launched a budget planning website at: where anyone can share suggestions about the budget and read what others are suggesting,” she said.

In routine matters, trustees voted to approve the contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders reports as presented.

Council recognized members whose terms have recently expired by presenting them with resolutions and Rock plaques. Honored were Grace Hawkins, Courtney Baker-Schroat, Joshua Young, Eric Holmes and John Hicks, who had most recently served as council chair.

In a vote to replace Hicks, Taylor, who was serving as vice chair, was elected chair, and Robert Marcus, who had served as secretary, was elected vice chair. The secretary position will remain open until the December session.

Council observed a moment of silence in honor of Van Peterson, a former trustee who recently died, Frank Kohler, a 1985 SRU computer science graduate, who was among those killed in the recent shooting rampage at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard and Zachary Sheridan, a former Rock football captain who was shot and killed in Pittsburgh in August.

John Golden, director of SRU’s Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator and an instructor in SRU’s School of Business, and students involved in the SEA program offered a presentation about the accelerator’s function in helping new entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition.

The group outlined SEA’s goals and areas in which it can aid new businesses, particularly those interested in greening projects and programs.

Trustees were also updated on SRU’s plans for the 2014 academic year, which will mark the University’s 125th anniversary celebration.

As part of her quarterly report to trustees, Norton said, “On a very positive note, we launched the fall semester amid a wave of accolades that validate the quality work we are doing at The Rock and solidify our position as a ‘best choice, first choice institution.’”

She listed accolades that included: being named a Top 100 Regional University in the North by U.S. News and World Report; recognition from for SRU’s return-on-investment; citing SRU’s online special education program as one of the best in the nation; being named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education; being named to the honor roll for exemplary community service by the Corporation for National and Community Service; ranking among the top 100 universities nationally on Sierra Magazine’s annual rankings of the nation’s greenest universities; being named one of the “Best in the Northeast” in The Princeton Review’s annual ratings; being named a “Military Friendly University” by G.I. Jobs magazine; being named a “Top Workplace” by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and being named a College of Distinction by Student Horizons Inc.

“This is an institution that is doing great things and as a public university contributes to the public good,” Norton said.

Norton also listed a number of individual and group student, faculty and staff accomplishments completed since the council’s last session.

Trustees were informed of five retirements, including Thom Cobb, associate professor of dance for 36 who retires next August, and John Bavaro, associate professor of professional studies and interdisciplinary studies, who retires July 1 with 17 years of service.

Staff retirements include, Carolyn Colosimo, administrative assistant in enrollment services, who retires in December with 28 years service; Fred Sankey, utility plant operator 2 in the heating plant, who retires in June with 21 years service; and Linda Burgoon, clerk typist 2 in the Admissions Office, who retires in May with five years service.

Council’s next session will be Dec. 12-13.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.