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Slippery Rock University is committed to fully informing its community regarding budget developments. This site has been created to provide faculty, students, staff and other visitors with timely updates, planning processes, and communication regarding the 2013/14 University budget. Please consult this page regularly for the latest information



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Budget suggestions: September 25, 2013


1. Get rid of the Happy Bus, or only have it run on the weekend or evenings. It is quicker to walk to class. This would save you money, make you greener and help the obesity issue.

2. We appreciate campus police, but there are some expensive cars that they are driving.

3. Both of my parents are alumni and our household receives two mailings because of it. Go through your mailing lists to see how many duplicates and unnecessary things you are sending out.

4. There are a lot of students in the Smith Student Center during the evenings. It might be profitable for the bookstore to be open at least one or two extra hours in the evening.

The president has said that the university structure is looking more like a business or corporation. I agree and think that this is very true. This issue goes far beyond fixing the budget for SRU. This issue needs consideration from all of the state universities, as they are all in similar situations. When corporations’ run businesses they look at each individual facility and determine what their strengths are (i.e. what products run best in which location and are they close to their customers).Once those strengths are identified, the products are run at the facility that can best support the need for their customers and organization.
Pennsylvania needs to look at their state schools in a similar fashion. All of the state schools need to consider what their strengths are. They need to determine what their best programs are and stick to them (i.e. high enrollment, well known programs). Any of the low enrollment programs need to be divided out amongst all of the state schools / facilities. Not every state school needs to offer an education program, theatre program, multiple language programs, business programs, etc. For example, maybe keep one in western PA and keep one in eastern PA.

When a student wants to be a (fill in the blank with any major) students will know their options up front. They could go to school A or B. Determine what works best at each location and work toyour strengths. That is what leaders are supposed to do and that is what organizations need to do to be successful.

I am by no means suggesting we ignore our weaknesses but once you have identified the strengths and weaknesses it is much easier to work with what you have. I also understand what I am suggesting is a huge undertaking but if the state system of higher education wants to survive we need to think big and think outside the box to survive. I know this would be a large undertaking but maybe it is what needs to be done to keep our options open.

Eliminate FYRST Seminar. This is not a required course for the students. Professors who teach this course receive one hour overload. This would be a considerable savings over a five-year period. How many other Universities in the State System have FYRST seminar?

Any thoughts of a capital campaign in the near future? Bloomberg via Wednesday, September 25, 2013 reports the number of so-called mega donations to U.S. colleges is rebounding just as Harvard University begins a $6.5 billion capital campaign, the largest in the history of higher education. There have been 16 gifts this year of at least $50 million, twice as many as for all of last year as donors gain confidence amid improving economic conditions, according to data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Developer Stephen Ross gave $200 million to the University of Michigan while Qualcomm Inc. co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife donated $133 million to Cornell University. Last week, former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt gave $100 million to Georgetown University.

A lot of our Administration focused solely on planning for 2025 and Beyond over the past couple of years. For the most part those same people are managing key areas of this university. It might be time to consider some changes because they should have been planning for 2014, 2015, and 2016. If we don't fix our problems soon and bring in those who can make the necessary changes we won't have to worry about 2025.

Greetings Dr. Norton,
I apologize for writing to you directly but I cannot seem to find the URL where we offer suggestions regarding our university's budget.  I visited thesite previous but cannot track it down. 
I hesitate wading into any discussion involving economics.  I have little to offer unless we're discussing the finances of the Cold War in Central America.  Recently, however, I have seen another institution campaign quite effectively for new students.   Perhaps their model can inform our ownresponse to the current crisis.
I do not watch much television, but recently I have noticed that tiny Southern New Hampshire University has run a remarkable campaign in our area promoting the virtues of their online classes.  Despite their distance, they aremaking effective use of the Pittsburgh student "market" ~ apparently with some success.  From accounts of their efforts, they're reaching across the country for new students to enroll in their online programs, vastly expanding their enrollment and bringing in millions of dollars not previously factored into their budgets. 
Below I'm pasting the URL of a story Businessweek did on SNH's efforts.  If the stories have any validity, this tiny little far-away institution is taking in tens of millions of dollars they'd not previously had access to; they have quite effectively tapped a heretofore untapped market.  In the process they are taking students literally from "right under our nose."
I do not know the extent of our own efforts in this regard, and I apologize for my ignorance on the matter.  I do not intentionally waste your time or mine.  I also do not know whether or not SNH's model has been mentioned elsewhere in our ongoing campus-wide discussion.  However, I do not want to risk this not coming to your attention as CEO of SRU.  If this is "old news," please pardon my note.  I send it along simply in case it is of any use whatsoever.  The raw data from their experience is stark and compelling.

President Norton

September 30, 2013

Last Friday, the Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees officially approved the fiscal year 2013-14 budget.

As I shared with you earlier this year in my State of the University address, we started the fiscal year with a $5.2 million structural budget deficit.  Through the efforts of many people, we were able to present the trustees with a balanced budget.

So, how’d we do it?
       (read more)