Slippery Rock University Trustees approve tentative FY 2015-16 budget


council of trustees

Sen. Mary Jo White, Slippery Rock University council of trustees chair, presents a commendation to David Valentine, SRU professor of computer science, for his contributions to the University. The commendation thanked him for his dedicated service as the institution’s interim dean of the College of Business. Valentine is returning to the classroom following the appointment of Lawrence Shao as the dean. Valentine was the 2015 recipient of the President Award for Teaching.

Sept. 4, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Despite a 66-day (and counting) budget stalemate at the state level, it was budget business as usual for the Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees Thursday as they approved a tentative budget for Fiscal-Year 2015-16 as part of their quarterly meeting.

Although several elements of the budget are still unknown, Council Chair Sen. Mary Jo White said, "We understand this budget will be subject to modification as we get more specific information, but we are required to submit a budget to the State System at this time."

The tentative budget, said, Molly Mercer, assistant vice president for finance, includes revenues of $125,879,486 compared to FY 14-15, and expenses of $125,879,486 compared to $119,330,73 to last year. The revenue picture is highlighted by an increase of .5 percent in fall enrollment, a 3.5 percent tuition, technology and academic fee increase of $2.8 million approved by the State System of Higher Education's board of governors; and a projected 3 percent, or $1.8 million, anticipated increase in state appropriation, Mercer said.

"The state appropriation component will be reconsidered when the state budget is passed," Mercer said.

Expense drivers in the tentative FY 15-16 budget include an FTE increase for new faculty and replacements for certain positions vacated in FY15; pension increases ranging from 20.75 to 24.80 percent; and health care increases of 12.67 percent, Mercer said.

In other action, the COT authorized the University to forward a request for three new academic programs to the State System of Higher Education's board of governors for action. If approved, the programs, a bachelor of science in homeland security, a bachelor of science in corporate security, and a master's of public health would begin fall 2016. (Click here for related story.)

"These three programs are part of our on-going action plan to develop and deliver market driven academic programs that meet the commonwealth's needs," said Cheryl Norton, SRU president. "In each case, these programs have been vetted by faculty based upon the following criteria: is there a market need; is there student demand; are jobs available; and can we provide the program at a competitive price?"

"We will not bring forward any program that does not meet these criteria, demonstrate the potential for student success and address regional needs and/or workforce development," she said.

bill mccarrier


Council trustee Commissioner Bill McCarrier said he was proud, "that Slippery Rock University continues to develop programs needed by society."

The BOG will take action on the programs at its Oct. 7-8 meetings.

Council also approved University contracts, fixed assets, services and supply purchase orders, and reaffirmed the University's order of succession.

"BOG policy requires that our COT annually approve and submit an order of succession, that is, who will act on my behalf in my absence or if I'm temporarily unable to fulfill the position of president," Norton said. SRU's succession moves from Norton, to Philip Way, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, and then, Amir Mohammadi, vice president for finance, administration and advancement services.

The president's quarterly report to the COT described how SRU's summer was defined by construction, planting, resurfacing, giving new directions, and she joked; rain, rain and more rain.

The president referenced numerous developments including: creating new chemistry labs in ATSH; renovating the Archives and second floor of Bailey; building a new collaborative classroom in Eisenberg, renovating a child-care classroom in McKay and classrooms in Spotts; and undertaking a major redo of Morrow Field House.

She also touched on the approval new majors, a bevy of accolades the University garnered over the summer and the launch of the University's new website.

Norton shared with council the University's Action Plan, which she had presented to the State System's board of governors in July. The plan lays out SRU's strengths and challenges, and describes a pathway for academic program development. To watch a video of the Action Plan presentation, click here.

Renee Decker, government contract specialist in the Center for Economic and Community Development, presented an overview of how the Center interacts with businesses and organizations to help them secure government grants.

As part of their standard business activities, the COT received reports from each of its standing committees as well as informational items dealing with facilities and planning projects, personnel items and divisional reports.

The COT's next meeting is Dec. 2-3.

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