TO: Campus Community
FR: Interim President Mike Lee
Dear Campus Community,
I hope you are all settling smoothly into the rhythm of campus life. As I mentioned previously, my top priority remains addressing our enrollment and budget declines, so that the campus can begin moving as efficaciously as possible toward long-term stability. This is not a simple process, nor is it one that any one person or division can solve independently. Instead, it is a process that demands collaboration and deserves transparency and inclusivity across campus and beyond.
Indeed, we have been in consistent contact with the Chancellor’s Office (CO), which has been providing solid guidance and support for SSU. As part of these discussions, the CO has asked us to provide a plan to balance the budget that addresses our substantial shortfall of almost $14 million. We are aiming to submit this plan to the systemwide office by mid-November, which gives us adequate but not a luxurious amount of time to complete the work necessary to submit a coherent and manageable plan to the Chancellor.
Discussions can occur at the department and unit levels across the campus and will be encouraged by our Vice Presidents. Conversations can also happen at the school or division level, and we will involve our Academic Senate and its committees, our Staff Council, and Associated Students. The President’s Budget Advisory Committee (PBAC), which has done outstanding work over the past few years in leading critical conversations and providing input to the administration, will provide analysis and feedback. In addition, I have recently established the President’s Senior Leadership Council (PSLC), which will provide consultation on programs, policies, practices, and procedures. This new leadership council will also advise me on key academic, administrative, and programmatic initiatives. The PSLC includes members of the Academic Senate, Associated Students, Staff Council, Cabinet, Deans, Associate and Assistant Vice Presidents, the Chief of Police, and the Athletic Director. Both groups, PBAC and PSLC, will be looking at a variety of scenarios and options that will allow us to reconcile our shortfalls with as little disruption as possible.
Among the CO requests we are looking to meet is the creation of a multi year budget plan that eliminates deficit spending by 2024-2025. We will also be developing and sharing a plan for enrollment growth that meets the FTES target of 8,435 over the next five years. As part of these plans, we will share our approaches and the specific steps we are taking to meet these goals, as well as providing periodic updates on our progress.
I plan to sit down with various campus groups, as mentioned above, and the campus at large. These conversations may also include a conferral process with our collective bargaining representatives, should any potential campus measure call for one. Although we will be moving with focus and deliberation, I want to ensure that the process is as inclusive and transparent as possible.
As part of this broad consultative process, we have scheduled a campus open forum on November 3, 2022. Please mark your calendars and be on the lookout for additional information regarding venue and other event details.
Thank you, again, for your dedication to Sonoma State and your investment in our collective success. Onward….together!
Mike Lee, Ph.D.