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Dr. Dick Andzenge’s monthly column focuses on SCSU’s program reviews and the University’s enrollment difficulties:

For the second time in about five years, St. Cloud State University is going through a campus-wide program review aimed at addressing a looming budget shortfall and long-term enrollment decline.

When the first reorganization happened in 2010, it wasn’t done in a time of crisis in that it happened when FYE enrollment was at its peak and the dorms were close to filled. It’s different this time around in that enrollment has dropped 21.8%, several dorms are mothballed, the dorm occupancy rate has dropped significantly and St. Cloud State is running a major deficit, with more deficits heading their way.

Suffice it to say that there’s a greater sense of urgency with this reorganization.

The university also hired a consulting firm to assist in evaluating the campus climate to best serve the students and the university community. The initiative was called “Great Place to Work.”

Actually, the firm’s name is the Great Place to Work Institute. SCSU paid the Great Place to Work Institute $50,000 for the Institute to conduct a survey and to use the GPTWI logo on SCSU’s stationery. The GPTWI Trust Index, the survey conducted by the Institute, showed that morale at SCSU was low because people didn’t trust the administration.

Dr. Andzenge’s observation is right:

I feel a sense of panic is going on at the university, as too many initiatives are being introduced at the same time with the danger that we will never know the benefits or consequences and possible harm of any of them.

There’s no question that professors and staff are panicking in light of the impending staffing cuts. These cuts could’ve been avoided had President Potter hadn’t spent money irresponsibly.

It’s disgraceful that LFR has been a lone voice in the wilderness highlighting the Potter administration’s foolish spending decisions. I’m tired of writing about the money SCSU has lost through its lease with the Wedum Foundation or the money they spent on 3 police officers to patrol off campus. That’s cost SCSU $8,500,000 over the last 5 years.

Eliminating the aviation program came as a surprise and was resisted by many at the university and in the community. It is still unclear whether it was really a benefit to the university and to the people of Minnesota.

Actually, if the aviation program had expanded to include drones, it’s pretty certain that the program would’ve grown significantly. Universities that’ve opened drone programs have seen a significant influx of students in those programs, mostly because hire rates have been close to 100% at a relatively high starting salary.

Dr. Andzenge is right that eliminating aviation “came as a surprise.” What he hasn’t said is that President Potter’s decision to close the program has hurt SCSU’s financial position because aviation has the potential to raise revenue while growing SCSU’s enrollment.

It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I’d expect even a MnSCU university president to figure that out.

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