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Contributed by Thomas Rochon on 08/23/2012
Ithaca College has long been recognized for offering students an exceptional educational experience at a reasonable cost. For example, US News and World Report has repeatedly named Ithaca College a regional top ten on their list of “Great Schools at a Great Price.” Supporting those accolades are an institutional tradition and culture that carefully balance investment in educational quality with wise stewardship of student tuition dollars.
Over the past several years, we have worked collaboratively to develop, refine, and articulate our roadmap for achieving new heights of educational quality. The resulting IC 20/20 document provides Ithaca College a plan for achieving its fullest educational potential. It is exciting to see the initial elements of this plan take shape. The IC faculty has approved a new integrative core curriculum, we have launched a center in the heart of New York City as well as an Office of Civic Engagement, and our plans for the new student advising and achievement center are moving forward, to name just a few accomplishments of the last year.
As excited as I am about the implementation of IC 20/20, I am also reminded that our commitment to educational value must address not only quality but also efficiency and effectiveness in delivering the IC educational experience. The continued national economic unease has served to decrease family income and assets while ushering in a new era of sensitivity about the cost of college and the extent of student debt. We have always been good stewards of student tuition dollars, but we must challenge ourselves even more to be leaders of affordability.
We will in the year ahead develop a plan to reduce cost, identify opportunities for additional revenue, improve service, and promote efficiencies across the College. We will partner with consultants from Huron Education to assess our administrative and academic support functions. Huron will help us examine our organization in light of best practices and benchmark information. The consultants will work closely with a steering committee chaired by Carl Sgrecci and including Diane Gayeski, Marisa Kelly, Mark Coldren, and Eric Maguire. However, many of our administrators will be asked to gather data, meet with the consultants, and otherwise inform their work.
The first task of the Huron team will be to listen and learn about Ithaca College. Their team will include two full-time, on site project managers as well as a project director who will spend much time on our campus. We will also be working with two senior directors in their firm and a variety of subject matter experts as needed. The review that we are undertaking will examine every aspect of our institution, and will be organized under the following topics: procurement and strategic sourcing, institutional advancement, human resources, auxiliary services, organizational structure and business processes, financial services, enrollment management, information technology, facilities services, and space management.
We anticipate that this review will extend in two phases throughout the fall semester, with a set of recommendations due in December. Senior leaders at the College will review and select among these recommendations to create a plan for greater operational effectiveness and improved student affordability that we will implement in the years ahead.
We will also review our academic programs with the same goals of reducing cost, identifying opportunities for improved revenue, improving service and promoting efficiency. Huron Education will not be involved in those reviews, which will be conducted according to college policies and accreditation guidelines. Provost Kelly will initiate review of at least seven academic departments or programs this fall. The expectation is that every program will be reviewed at least once every seven years.
We will keep you informed about our progress on this work throughout the year ahead by means of periodic updates. You may at any time visit a project website (www.ithaca.edu/EAreview) for current information.
Let me offer my thanks in advance for your part in this important work. I have no doubt that Ithaca College will emerge from this review a more focused and better organized institution, improving our effectiveness and assuring greater student affordability and access for years to come.