News and Updates from the May Ithaca College Board of Trustees Meetings

By David H. Lissy '87 and La Jerne Terry Cornish, May 25, 2022
A message from Board of Trustees Chair David H. Lissy '87 and President La Jerne Terry Cornish.

The Ithaca College Board of Trustees convened on campus Thursday through Saturday, May 19-21, for its spring meetings. In addition to holding regular business sessions, trustees took the opportunity to connect with members of the campus community in a variety of ways. We were delighted to participate in Commencement Weekend activities, and we offer our congratulations to the Class of 2022—now our newest alumni—along with our hopes that staff and faculty will find opportunities for rest and rejuvenation over the summer months. 

Approval of the FY23 Budget

During its meetings, the board fully approved the recommended $203.5 million operating expense budget for fiscal year 2022-23. The operating budget reflects an estimated 4,310 full-time undergraduate students enrolled at Ithaca College for the coming academic year. The operating budget dedicates $115.8 million to unfunded institutional financial aid. This number does not include restricted financial aid, government funds, or donations and solely reflects the college’s direct investment in students. 

The board approved a $19.3 million capital budget, which includes $4.8 million earmarked for deferred maintenance projects and $2.15 million for IT upgrades. The approved capital budget also includes $6.7 million for campus improvements, including the exterior renovation of Dillingham and Alumni Circle renovations, funded out of strategic reserves. While the budget is lean, it reflects careful stewardship of college resources and purposeful investment in key strategic areas during this time of stabilization. Trustees would like to thank the members of the senior leadership team, the Institutional Effectiveness and Budget Committee, and IC staff and faculty for your diligence and creativity as we move forward. 

We are pleased that the approved FY23 budget reflects an overall 4.5% increase in total compensation and benefits. This includes a July 1 base salary increase of 2% for employees meeting expectations and an additional 0.5% pool available for merit, equity, or market adjustments during this upcoming fiscal year. In addition, the TIAA employer contribution match will be increased from 5% to 7% effective July 1. The required employee contribution to receive the 7% match will be reduced from 5% to 3%, allowing employees who choose to do so to increase their pre-tax take-home pay by an additional 2%. The board is sincerely grateful to all employees for your loyalty and dedication to the Ithaca College community and to IC students and recognizes the importance of our compensation package to our faculty and staff. 

Approval of Faculty Promotions and Tenure

The board was proud to honor the excellence and service of Ithaca College faculty by approving the promotions of six faculty members to professor and five to associate professor, along with awarding tenure to an associate professor. We applaud this group of faculty and thank them for their continuing commitment to enriching the education of our students.

Welcoming New Trustees

Three new members were elected to the board. Kenneth Fisher ’80, Parent ’20, and John Neeson ’84 will serve for four years as term trustees, and Alexa Rahman ’24 will serve for two years as the student trustee. Additionally, the board re-elected the following trustees for three-year terms: Rosanna Aybar; Luvelle Brown; David Meberg ’85, Parent ’23; James Nolan ’77, Parent ’01; Kristin Muenzen ’00; and Doug Weisman ’78, Parent ’06. Stepping down following the completion of their current terms are David Bachrach ’70 and student trustee Kalena Yearwood ’23. We thank all of them for their willingness to serve the college in this important role. 

Technology at Ithaca College

Trustees spent much of the day on Friday immersed in learning about how the college is leveraging investments in technology. Chief Information Officer David Weil ’87, MS ’89, provided a glimpse of the past, present, and future of IT@IC. 

He pointed out that in 1983 the college had a total of three computers for student use and a campus network limited to Job Hall and Muller Faculty Center. Today, he leads an organization that maintains more than 4,700 desktop and laptop computers, with over 55 miles of fiber optic cables connecting every building on campus. Another data point he provided that we are sure every member of the IC community can relate to: The college hosted 185,110 Zoom meetings in 2021. 

Following his presentation, three staff and faculty colleagues demonstrated how they are using technology to advance the college’s academic and administrative objectives. 

  • Executive Director of Constituent Engagement Strategy Benjamin Costello ’97 discussed the Student Success Dashboard, which is empowering faculty and staff with actionable information to intervene with the students who need it most at the right time and with the insights necessary for meaningful interactions and student success. 

  • Charles A. Dana Professor of Art History Jennifer Jolly explained how virtual reality is being used to teach students about street art in California. Using Google Street View within a VR headset, students are able to view significant street murals in their actual setting, providing additional insights into the art’s impact on, and reflection of, the environment in which they are located. 

  • Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Colleen Countryman explained how the SCALE-UP classroom leverages classroom technologies and student-centered active learning pedagogical techniques to improve student engagement and retention in physics. 

Trustees, deans, and the senior leadership team then spent a working lunch in conversation with two dozen faculty and staff members who were invited to discuss how technology is being used in teaching and learning. It was a great opportunity for us all to comprehend how our students are benefiting from innovation in their classrooms and labs. 

The board also held several plenary sessions that focused on specific areas of interest, including the current enrollment and financial climate, shared governance, and student health services. As always, we came away with a deeper understanding of both the challenges and opportunities that lie before us. 

Campus Community Engagement

We were excited to return to a tradition that had been put in abeyance as a result of the pandemic, hosting a reception and dinner for two years’ worth of newly tenured and promoted faculty. 

As has been the practice for many years, board chair David Lissy and vice chair James Nolan held an open conversation with members of the campus community following the meetings. More than 70 faculty, staff, and students took part in this session, which was offered via Zoom on Monday, May 23. Topics of discussion included faculty, staff, and student morale, program changes in the School of Music, alumni engagement, financial aid, and budget priorities. 

As we noted earlier, trustees were pleased to be a part of such a celebratory weekend on campus, which included the Graduate Hooding Ceremony, Campus Life Awards, Students of Color Awards, Commencement Eve Concert, and Commencement itself, to name a few. 

We thank you all once again for your dedication to the college and to one another. 


David H. Lissy ’87 
Chair, Board of Trustees 

La Jerne Terry Cornish