News and Updates from May's Ithaca College Board of Trustees Meetings

By Dave Lissy and President Shirley M. Collado, May 25, 2021
A Message from Dave Lissy ’87 and President Shirley M. Collado.

Dear Ithaca College Community,

From Wednesday, May 19, through Friday, May 21, members of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees met on campus for our regular May meetings. This was the first time trustees had met on South Hill since October 2019, and the board sincerely enjoyed reconnecting with members of this community and one another during a time of such joy and celebration for our Class of 2021. We offer our congratulations to graduating students, and our sincere appreciation for the engagement of this campus community as the board convened to conduct college business.

Approval of the FY22 Budget 

During its meetings, trustees fully approved the recommended $198.4 million operating expense budget for fiscal year 2021-22. The operating budget reflects an estimated 4,730 undergraduate students enrolled at Ithaca College for the coming academic year. The operating budget dedicates $117.6 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 an $8.86 million capital budget, which includes $2.75 million earmarked for deferred maintenance projects and $1.2 million and $1 million, respectively, for IT upgrades and residence hall upgrades.

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 FY22 budget reflects a resumption of a TIAA employer contribution match of 5 percent. Given the challenges of the past year, the college will not be able to offer salary increment increases for next fiscal year. 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 these two employee benefits to our faculty and staff. Please read more about the college’s strategy to move forward with the Ithaca Forever goal of becoming an employer of choice.

Approval of Faculty Promotions

The board was proud to honor the excellence and service of 11 Ithaca College faculty members during its meetings by approving the promotion of three faculty members to associate professor and eight to professor. The board applauds this group of faculty, and thanks them for their continuing commitment to enriching the college’s academic and professional environment.

Connecting with the Community

Immersion Activities
Board members set aside time during each of our regular meetings for “immersion activities,” programs usually hosted by faculty, staff, and students to showcase innovative work inside and outside of the classroom or to help trustees understand specific programs and areas of the college. 

Last week, trustees had an opportunity to explore the innovative and exciting collaboration between Bomber athletics and students from the sports media major and hear more about the college’s new physician assistant program. Trustees would like to thank Linda Petrosino 77, MS 78, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance; Susan Salahshor, director of our PA program; Tim Carey, associate vice president, Office of Facilities; Susan Bassett ’79, associate vice president and director, Office of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports; Erienne Roberts, associate director, Intercollegiate Athletics; Will Rothermel, associate director, Intercollegiate Athletics; Sean Reilley, associate director, Recreational Sports; Justin Lutes, associate director, Athletics Communications; Dan Swanstrom, head coach, Football; and students Sevrin Lavenstein 21, Sports Media; Peter Raider 23, Sports Media; Lee Folger 21, TV-Radio; and Indira Varma 21, Sports Media, for their expertise, time, and enthusiasm. 

IC Community Open Session with Chair and Vice Chair
On Thursday, Dave Lissy ’87, board chair, and Jim Nolan ’77, vice chair, hosted an open session for the Ithaca College campus community. Offering an open session during each board meeting has been a best practice for the board for the past four years, which paused in 2020 due to COVID restrictions. About 20 faculty, staff, and students attended the session, which was scheduled for an hour and was extended to 90 minutes to make sure all voices were heard.

We understand that the pace and depth of the changes that are occurring at Ithaca College are being felt deeply by this community. Much of the session included frank and impassioned contributions by faculty, staff, and students around topics including: the academic program prioritization process, the college’s organizational structure, morale, and campus climate. The board chair and vice chair were incredibly grateful for the dialogue and viewpoints shared.

Thanks to Chris McNamara ’81, clinical associate professor of physical therapy and chair, Faculty Council, and Deontae Guy ’23, president, Student Governance Council, for moderating and contributing to our discussion, and sincere thanks to the session participants for their honest, thoughtful, and respectful engagement.

Faculty Handbook  

The board approved amendments to the Ithaca College Faculty Handbook, which completes the final step of the process for updating the handbook, after having first been approved by Faculty Council, then Provost Cornish, then President Collado. These amendments streamline and clarify policies critical to faculty, particularly regarding the faculty evaluation process, and have been in development since 2015. The board is incredibly impressed by and grateful for the due diligence of both the Faculty Handbook Amendment Committee and the Faculty Council — members both past and present.
 

New Trustees 

The board approved three new term trustees, whose terms extend from June 30, 2021, through May 31, 2025: Lewis “Lee” Bird III ’86, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the national home décor retailer At Home Group Inc.; Traci W. Hughes ’85, vice president of human resources for the Europe division of Colgate-Palmolive; and James E. Taylor ’00, chief diversity and inclusion officer and chief talent management officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who has served on the board as an alumni trustee since 2017. The board also approved the reelection of six current trustees and the reelection of Dave Lissy ’87 and Jim Nolan ’77, as chair and vice chair, respectively.

On behalf of the board of trustees, we want to thank the members of this community for their dedication to the college, its students, and one another during this tumultuous year. We sincerely hope that faculty, staff, and students enjoy a restorative and restful summer and trustees look forward to rejoining the campus community for our fall meetings, scheduled for Wednesday, October 20, through Friday, October 22, 2021.

Sincerely,

David H. Lissy ’87 
Chair, Board of Trustees

Shirley M. Collado
President, Ithaca College