October 9, 2009
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU launches budget-planning Web site;
seeks suggestions, community input
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Facing a potential $9 million budget problem in 2010, Slippery Rock University Tuesday launched a Web site documenting budget challenges and encouraging faculty, staff, students and others to share their best thinking about ways the University could increase revenue or cut expenses.
Robert Smith, SRU president, announced the site during a series of budget workshops Charles Curry, vice president for finance and administration, and he conducted over the past two weeks.
"The budget challenge is everyone's challenge - so we need everyone's best thinking to help us meet it head on," Smith said. "Having a Web site provides the opportunity to share information about where our money comes from and where it goes, and to have a continuing conversation about how and where to trim expenses."
Smith said treading water and expecting the status quo were not options. "We are facing a serious budget structural problem. If we expect to emerge from the financial crisis the commonwealth is facing - and I certainly do - then we need to hone our vision, define our future and set a course of action."
"The budgeting process will be driven by four basic principles," Smith said during the campus workshop sessions. These are:
� Students come first. Educating students is our highest priority;
� Consulting with faculty, students and administration on matters of the strategic plan and budget decisions is an integral part of the shared governance of the University;
� Cuts and/or increases will not be made "across the board" but rather strategically to avoid mediocrity; and
� The University cannot be all things to all people. Budget must link to the strategic plan.
Despite impending financial challenges, Smith said the University would continue to invest in quality. "We will commit to a faculty that is full time and professionally credentialed; to enhancing our academic programs to assure accreditation and national recognitions; to upgrading our teaching and learning environment, campus safety and security; and to recruiting, educating and graduating high quality engaged students."
Over the past several years the University has continued to garner national and regional honors for quality.
"Consumer Report magazine named Slippery Rock University as the fifth best value in America based on quality and affordability. Again this year, The Princeton Review named SRU as one of the best universities in the Northeast. We've been recognized as one of the top 20 institutions nationally for our safe campus and have been honored for our service-learning program. Of our 26 academic programs eligible for accreditation, 21 are accredited. More than 91 percent of our tenure and tenure-track faculty have terminal degrees, and for the first time since retention has been tracked at SRU, our freshman to sophomore retention rate passed 80 percent. That's outstanding and puts us in league with private institutions. These are all benchmarks of quality that demonstrate we deliver on our promise to provide each student with a Rock Solid education, and to prepare them to be outstanding citizens. Those are attributes we are going to protect," Smith said.
Curry and Smith expect to do additional budget presentations as the year continues and planning moves into its next stage. "From now through February people will have an opportunity to share their ideas. We're available to make sure everyone understands the process and participates if they so choose," Smith said.
The budget planning Web site may be found at www.sru.edu.
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.