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:
 
Strategic Planning
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.
 
Enrollment/Recruitment/Retention
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
President