Ithaca College has been focused on important and meaningful work over the last few months with students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and parents. Various initiatives and committees, such as the Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives and Shared Governance Task Force, have been created in order to strengthen the Ithaca College community by making it more inclusive and welcoming. Completing the work of these highest priorities will be an important part of our collective efforts over the next several months and beyond.
As these efforts have gotten under way, we have continued to maintain our focus on the longstanding goals that will move Ithaca College forward. As part of a broader commitment to keep the IC community informed about key issues and initiatives, below are specific areas on which the college leadership will focus through spring 2017, when a new president will assume leadership
As President Rochon and the college’s leadership continue to make progress in these areas, the campus community will be updated on key achievements and points of progress.
CONTINUE TO RAISE OUR EDUCATIONAL STANDING
IC’s vision of becoming the standard of excellence for residential comprehensive colleges requires us always to focus first and foremost on the richness of the student educational experience. We are moving forward with the development and implementation of exemplar projects in which a co-curricular component is embedded in a credit-bearing course. An example of this would be a course in event planning in which students gain experience planning and executing actual events through our conference and event services department.
In addition, we will continue to revise and enhance the first-year residential experience and the use of ePortfolios to document our students’ learning. Lastly, we will deploy a co-curricular transcript opportunity in fall 2016 that enables students to document their accomplishments in student events, programs, and organizations. We believe that this project, spearheaded by the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement within the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, will motivate students to engage more fully and enable them to reflect more purposefully on the lessons from their co-curricular activities.
Engagement and mutual support among all constituencies—including alumni, students, faculty, and staff—represent a critical piece of Ithaca College’s fabric. When members of the IC community are given opportunities to use their talents, passions, and skills in helping others, it is a rewarding and long-lasting experience for all involved. We know that greater engagement will result in greater lifelong value for alumni and students alike. As leaders of the college, we are responsible for providing as many opportunities for participation as possible. Over the last few years, we have increased the number and variety of ways that our alumni, parents, friends, students, faculty, and staff can volunteer on behalf of the college, share their skills and knowledge with one another, and find personally meaningful ways to give back. The number of volunteers active in the life of the college and sharing their time and talent with one another was 1,800 in fiscal year 2013. We are on track to to reach 3,850 volunteers by May 2017.
FURTHER IMPROVE THE COLLEGE’S FINANCIAL HEALTH AND STUDENT ACCESS
An underlying focus of all our work is to ensure the financial strength and well-being of the college. This will require a multifaceted approach that takes into account both our revenues and expenses. First, in order to increase student access to the IC experience, we must consistently make increases to the financial aid budget, which will allow us to reduce the average gap faced by students seeking financial aid. Second, we will continue with our strategic sourcing efforts to take advantage of better purchasing practices that will result in lower costs where achievable. Third, we will continue to develop analyses of expenditures by natural account classifications to understand areas where we can be more efficient and cost effective.
Additionally, as we make progress in securing IC’s financial future, it is important the college follows a comprehensive financial plan, one that includes an investigation of programs and initiatives that will generate sources of revenues other than our traditional tuition, fees, room, and board. Using the campus during the summer months, developing an urban campus, and creating financially self-supporting housing options are all possibilities for us to consider.