August 13, 2012
For the first time in five years Winston-Salem State University is beginning a new academic year with no reduction in state funding. Yet, we continue to be affected by the loss of $31 million in State appropriations during the previous four years. Additionally, economic recovery in the State of North Carolina continues to be slow, and in all likelihood it will take several, if not more, years for the University to regain the momentum that was lost when funding was reduced.
This summer the North Carolina General Assembly did make several positive adjustments to the 2012-13 budget for the UNC system, including a $25 million allocation to offset a portion of the reductions in need-based financial aid. While this relief was certainly welcomed, we must remember that the funding will need to support 17 campuses. The budget also included a 1.2 percent pay increase for SPA, EPA faculty and EPA non-faculty employees who were employed at the University as of July 1. Additionally, full-time, leave-earning state employees will receive five additional days of annual leave that can be used during this fiscal year.
Even with these small, positive changes, WSSU and the other campuses in the system continue to face challenges in managing the scarce resources that are available. That means that we need to persist in our efforts to be efficient and effective in all that we do and to generate savings where opportunities exist.
As part of these on-going efforts, I have asked each member of my executive staff to continue to look for ways to save money and to essentially do more with less. That task applies equally to the Office of the Chancellor. To that end, today, I am announcing a reorganization of the Office of University Engagement that will result in the elimination of a senior position within my budget, that being the Executive Director of Marketing, Alumni and Community Relations.
In reviewing that area, I realized that the capacity and capability to manage those functions existed within other offices that report to me. So just as we have asked faculty members to increase their teaching loads and staff members to assume additional duties, I have asked members of my staff to add additional responsibilities to their portfolios.
Effective August 15, 2012, Alumni Relations will again report to Michelle Cook, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement; Marketing and Communications will report to Nancy Young, Director of Public and Media Relations; Government Relations will report to Camille Klutz-Leach, University Legal Counsel; and, Community Relations will become an official part of RaVonda Dalton-Rann’s responsibilities as Executive Assistant to the Chancellor.
Throughout the year we will continue to review our operations to identify every possible way to reduce expenses. In doing so, difficult decisions, like the one announced today, will likely be needed to generate the savings that we need to better support our students. But this is the business that we are in and we must do everything that we can to insure that our resources are allocated to our highest priority, which is the support of our student’s educational experience.
In closing I want to thank Nigel Alston for the service that he has provided to WSSU, and I want to thank all of you for the efforts you make every day to support the University’s missions of teaching, research and service.