My View from South Hill
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This is the time of year for New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t want to be left out. I decided to seek inspiration for my own list of commitments in the coming year by looking online to see what other people are resolving. Looks like human nature didn’t change much during 2008 – our resolutions for 2009 still center primarily on developing good habits (like exercising more), and getting rid of bad habits (examples too numerous to mention).
Among all those resolutions, one caught my eye: “I will no longer waste my time re-living the past, but will instead start worrying about the future.” Captures the Zeitgeist of the new year pretty well, don’t you think?
I won’t be adding “Worry about the future” to my own list of resolutions on behalf of Ithaca College. I do, however, want to plan for the future in a way that is informed by the difficult economy of the present. So here are a few of my own resolutions for 2009:
- Ithaca College will increase the cost of tuition in the coming year by a smaller percentage than at any time in the last five years.
- We will increase our financial aid budget by the largest amount in College history.
- We will expand our emergency financial aid fund for those students whose personal or family financial circumstances change in unexpected ways while they are enrolled.
- We will move ahead with our strategic priorities to advance educational excellence, even where those require new funding.
- We will pay for the reduced rate of tuition increase, the increased financial aid, and the excellence initiatives in part by scrutinizing expenditures within the College. We will question whether each category of expenditure directly contributes to the quality of the student educational experience. Where it does not, we will evaluate the continued need for that expenditure.
- We will ask our friends and alumni to help us assemble the resources necessary to keep Ithaca College as accessible as possible to all students of talent.
As we develop our detailed budget at Ithaca College for the coming year, I will be communicating with our students, prospective students, friends and supporters about how we plan to respond to the changed economic environment. Our priorities, though, are already set: to maintain the excellence of the Ithaca College experience and to keep that experience as affordable as possible.
It helps a lot that we are consistently named by US News and World Report as one of the top ten “Great Schools, Great Prices” in our category. But this is no time to rest on our laurels. It is instead a moment in which we must act with unity and clarity of purpose.
Sounds like a better approach than worrying, don’t you think?
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