January 3, 2018
Welcome back! I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable holiday break.
The upcoming spring semester promises to be a busy time for our University with many
important initiatives and opportunities. Below are more details for a few of these:
To date, much has been done to "set the table" for an update to our strategic plan.
A report card
on the progress made with our prior plan, Vision 2017, was previously compiled and
shared with the campus community. The environmental scanning process, an important
precursor to a strategic plan update, is well under way with multiple highly successful
and informative faculty/staff focus groups having been held in the fall. In the next
few weeks, additional input will be sought from other stakeholders, including students,
alumni and community members. All of this information and more will be channeled to
the University Planning Council which will carry out the planning process later this
spring, creating Vision 2025.
Our present financial model is more enrollment driven than ever, and new personnel
in the Admissions/Enrollment Management areas continue to make progress in revitalizing
our student recruitment efforts. Likewise, new energy and vitality in support of
student success, within both the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs divisions, are
yielding impressive results. Additionally, significant progress is being made in growing
and revitalizing the Honors Program, and new focus on our graduate programs, including
organization and leadership, holds much potential.
UL System Initiatives
As one of nine institutions in the University of Louisiana System, Southeastern will
play an important role in helping implement our System's new strategic framework
, including significantly increasing educational attainment in our state. Southeastern
also is proud to host the first Universities of Louisiana Inaugural Conference
early in February.
Budget and Legislative Session
Recent budget stability at the state level contributed significantly toward much appreciated
and needed stability in the University's fiscal condition, allowing for the implementation
of meaningful pay raises for faculty and staff. Although the state ended last fiscal
year with a modest budget surplus, and recently upgraded revenue forecasts for the
remainder of the current fiscal year, the expiration of temporary tax measures next
fiscal year carries the potential to wreak havoc with the state budgeting and legislative
process this spring. Since 2018 is an even-numbered year, the Legislature is precluded
by the Constitution from considering tax measures in the regular session. As a result,
avoiding significant budget shortfalls next fiscal year will necessitate one or more
special legislative sessions this spring.
Campus Facility Improvements
Following the excitement surrounding the completion and opening of the new Computer
Science and Technology building this fall, great progress is being made on the new
student residential facilities under construction on campus. The project, including
significant parking upgrades, is anticipated to be completed and in use next fall
semester. Finally, as a result of sizable donations made possible through partnerships
with private industry, announcements about additional campus facility improvements
are anticipated soon.
Clearly there are many exciting things going on, and these are just a few of the significant
activities that will involve and affect our institution this semester. As always,
I will endeavor to keep the campus apprised of additional developments as these and
other activities unfold.
I am truly blessed in having the opportunity to work alongside so many talented and
dedicated colleagues, and I hope each of you have an enjoyable and productive semester.
John L. Crain