State of the University Address
President Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.
This gathering is intended as an opportunity to welcome each of you back to the start of the second semester, to wish you the best in the year ahead, and to thank you for your hard work and dedication to Loyola as we begin a new semester. Your work as scholars and support staff is what makes this a vital and vibrant institution.
It is also an opportunity to bring you up-to-date with activities and advances in the administration of the University, which I want to stress is only one aspect of our University community. Countless individuals have achieved a great deal over the past year. We cannot forget that a great deal of scholarship is conducted in the libraries, offices and labs in this institution, and this productivity continues despite the ups and downs of the administrative bureaucracy and the ebb and flow of the academic calendar.
Scholarship is often a lonely activity and one with few tangible rewards, save the personal feeling of having contributed to the advancement of our understanding and our knowledge, the clarification of what was only dimly understood, or the production of something heretofore unseen or unheard. Loyola's reputation as an excellent academic institution has been consistently high, and we continue to be considered one of the best of the Catholic universities in this country. Our dedication to continuing the legacy of this great University should be even stronger as we clarify our institutional goals and re-dedicate ourselves to our mission.
Loyola, like any great university, is continually re-examining itself and re-inventing itself. From my perspective, this is clearly a project that is taking place at a rapid rate. I am sure for some it is a process that is long in coming and too slowly being realized. But I hope your patience and your spirit of cooperation will be something we can continue to count on.
My goal this afternoon is simply this: to clarify as much as I can how Loyola is re-inventing itself and becoming a more solid and more vibrant institution, able still to contribute to the life of this civic community, the Church, the society in which we live, to foster the intellectual, social and spiritual formation of our students, and to sustain the scholarly interests and aspirations of the faculty.
The University's three-year strategic agenda, adopted to guide us in this stabilization process, should also lay the foundation for a more sustained effort to launch new and even more relevant projects that will support and build on the achievements of the past. A campaign to reinvigorate the University requires a solid foundation. A healthy and productive University is one that knows and appreciates its mission and celebrates its identity, which in our case is both Catholic and Jesuit. It is one where the faculty feel supported and appreciated and where opportunities for scholarship and study are available and encouraged. It is one where students appreciate the relevance of the curricular and co-curricular offerings and take advantage of them. It is one where opportunities for reflection and dialogue are available and well-utilized. It is one where responsibilities are appropriately shared and institutional goals and challenges are collectively addressed. Our challenge is then building a foundation that will enable us to advance in this general and healthy way.
The first three goals of the agenda challenge us to renew our efforts to update our programmatic and curricular offerings. As you know, John Pelissero has been asked by the Provost to begin a three-year, phased discussion of the goals and elements of the core curriculum for the undergraduate. The objectives of this process and goals have been endorsed by the University's Trustees. The difficult work of refining and clarifying remains. Thanks to John and others who will be assisting him in this endeavor. Deans of the professional schools have been discussing how to collaborate in our recruitment and our support services for students in our professional schools, and Dean Yost has been working to improve research services and better focus several graduate academic programs. This is slow work, and it is demanding work because we feel so passionately about our programs and how we contribute to and interact with them professionally and personally. The level of civility and interest is encouraging. I believe that we will emerge a stronger and more rigorous institutions at the curricular and programmatic level because of the leadership of the faculty and academic administrators who have already shown signs of a willingness to reconsider and reformulate our academic objectives. The foundation for this work was laid down by what we refer to as the CARP report. It still is the most objective document we have for moving forward.
In the area of recruitment, we have already reached our original goal in the three-year agenda. Enrollment trends for the coming year are as positive as they were last year and better in some ways. Thanks to the continued and even improving work of our admissions and financial aid staff we should be able to meet all enrollment targets as well as our target for better strategic use of our financial aid dollars. Special thanks to Terry Richards and Eric Weems and their staffs for their work. The new office for graduate student recruiting has been formed with the combined resources of the graduate and professional schools. It, too, is already producing results. A special thanks to Paul Roberts and his staff for their work.
Capital planning for the campuses is in full throttle. At the Lake Shore Campus we see the preparation work for the new Life Science Building. This teaching and research facility is scheduled to open in 2004, that is, a year from this summer. We will be proposing the construction of a new residence hall, across from the Simpson Living and Learning Center for approximately 400 students. Granada Residence Hall, which will be known as Fordham Hall, will be open to upper upperclassmen in the coming academic year. We are proceeding with the support and assistance of Aldermen Joe Moore and Pat O'Connor, as well as our Mayor for a major development of the properties on North Sheridan Road across from our Lake Shore Campus.
Rogers Park, our Lake Shore Campus home, is one of the most diverse communities in the City of Chicago. This diversity, while energizing for the University community, creates unique redevelopment challenges and opportunities. As we have studied the growth of the Lake Shore Campus over the years, one issue arises frequently -- the neighborhood around the campus must be safe and inviting for our students and the surrounding community. A big part of improving our surrounding neighborhood is to stimulate redevelopment opportunities -- making it attractive for businesses to invest here. Loyola has taken the lead in beginning the work necessary to establish a Tax Increment Financing District (a TIF) along Sheridan Road and Devon Avenue. This district, when completed and approved by the City Council, will provide an economic stimulus for development and attract retailers and restaurants for Loyola and our neighborhood. Soon, a sub-group of our Lake Shore Campus Advisory Committee, will be formed to shape the ingredients of a redevelopment plan for the west side of Sheridan Road between Albion and Devon. The Mayor, and our two local aldermen, Joe Moore and Pat O'Connor, support our taking the lead in this important effort. There are great needs and opportunities to create a truly exciting streetscape that will be inviting for us and the neighbors within our diverse community.
In addition, we are taking a serious look at the Skyscraper Building and planning for its use as a center for the visual and performing arts, for student services like Campus Ministry, and eventually Student Affairs, Student Admissions and Financial Aid and other student-focused offices into facilities that are conducive for the traffic and the support of these ever-growing programs. Also on the Lake Shore Campus, Damen Hall will increasingly be the home of academic services on the Lake Shore Campus. Our objective is to create an academic services area that includes the Dean of First-Year Students office, the study abroad offices, the writing clinic, Magis, and learning assistance center in close proximity of one another in this building. The impact of services that are better coordinated has already become visible in improved attrition, thanks to the leadership of Dean Heath.
These moves will take time and money, but they are part of a plan for more creative and better utilization of the campus, and for increasing its attractiveness and the sense of community which will help us create the right environment for scholarly and reflective work as well as for productive and easy social interaction. I know some of these cannot come soon enough, but as we emerge from our financial difficulties, we will need an overall campus plan to guide us more deliberately and realistically.
In a short time, you will be hearing about some exciting initiatives at the Water Tower Campus that involve a project to utilize a half block of Loyola space for the development of a senior residential facility on the block behind Lewis Towers where Marquette Center and Siedenberg Hall now sit. Revenue from this project and considerable new space inside this facility will facilitate the development of a student residence, retail space, parking, and student service programs on other properties we own at the Water Tower Campus. The goal of these efforts is to revitalize our downtown presence. IPS, Social Work, Mundelein College, and the Finance Division are being moved to Lewis Towers, adding to efficiency and dynamism of our academic programs and services for students in the professions.
The University's financial health has been a major concern for Loyola and we are not completely "out of the woods" but progress is significant. Soon we will be joined by a new Chief Financial Officer, Bill Laird. Bill is presently the Associate Vice President for Finance at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He will be coming to us with considerable experience at a complex research institution. I see Bill's arrival as helping us build the foundation for better, more transparent financial reporting, for better and more efficient services, and for helping us plan for more financial support for academic and especially our research activities. This past year, we have made considerable progress toward balancing the budget, and toward implementing a new computerized reporting system. One result of the new Lawson system is the more accurate and efficient payroll system. The work of Kay Geary and her staff in implementing the new system with the help of the Medical Center which had recently converted its operation to the system deserves notice and thanks as well.
I am pleased to announce that the budget we are proposing to the Board of Trustees for close scrutiny in March is a balanced budget, the first in many years. It is based on several important assumptions which to date are holding constant and achievable. It presumes a 5.5% tuition increase, and an increment pool for merit raises in aggregate of 3%. It assumes we will take nothing from endowment income but will meet our endowed program obligations through normal budget revenues. It assumes a growth in undergraduate enrollment of 1750 freshmen, up from 1625 this year. It assumes a 14% increase in benefits, and an increase in the money we need to pay into our retirement pool. It assumes an additional 3-5% cut in expense budgets achieved largely through holding down new hiring, re-engineering services and cuts.
And, all of this has assumed the hard work and cooperation of numerous individuals, like deans and department directors. No part of the institution has been left unexamined, and spared the cuts, but we tried to do them in such a way that avoided across the board approaches to budget reductions. The decisions were difficult because of the worthiness of many things that had to be re-thought, and the decisions not to invest at times when we wish we could have. But, we can say, I think proudly, that Loyola is living within its present means.
Living within our means does not imply that we are satisfied with our income and resources. In early January we were joined by Jon Heintzelman, who left Northwestern University's successful development program to head our advancement operation. Jon brings considerable experience and a keen interest in supporting school-based fund-raising. Our dedicated alumni, more often than not, associate their positive experience here with the faculty and students they came to know and appreciate. They often see Loyola through the prism of their own school and campus experience, whether at Lake Shore, or downtown at Water Tower, or at the Medical Center. Jon is committed to re-examining our efforts to garner a richer portion of the philanthropic and corporate dollars in our community, government and foundation dollars, as well as how we might better tell the story of this institution's rich heritage and contribution to Chicagoland and beyond.
Finally, I want to report on progress with our goal to better manage and advance a program of shared institutional governance. Some time ago, the faculty Council urged the administration to examine alternate models of institutional governance. For many members of the Council, poor communication was plagued by even worse consultation, and sometimes disastrous decisions. (I do not think I am over-stating the complaints.) Attempts to discuss the challenge of how a large, complex and diverse university, situated on several campuses would come together to address issues in common and forge decisions, without negating or relegating as superfluous the role of strong and sound leadership and management, broke down and stalled.
Thanks to the continued efforts of many on the Council, many deans, department chairs, and vice presidents, we are coming to an agreed-upon plan. It borrows heavily from the institutional governance model adopted at Santa Clara University. It relies heavily on the expertise of individuals in administrative, faculty and staff ranks. It is being adjusted to account for our situation here at Loyola. It places considerable responsibility in what are called university policy committees. It allows for the continuation of affinity groups like cabinets for administrators, and faculty, staff and student councils. It is more streamlined than what we have now. It is the collaborative work of a large number of people -- approximately 30 individuals who have come together periodically to discuss and examine what is now becoming a "university governance charter" that will guide us into the future. As the draft of the charter is posted on the web for review, debate and discussion, I encourage you to comment and make your opinions known. Most within our community are not concerned about governance unless something is gravely wrong or a policy that affects them is being promulgated. The support the proposed charter has received thus far and our need to make key decisions in several areas prompts us to begin implementing it in order to "test" its functionality and utility.
In closing, Loyola is emerging from the recent difficulties we have experienced as a stronger institution. Fidelity to our heritage as a Catholic and Jesuit institution remains a central concern, a topic which I would like to explore further with you in the years ahead. Confidence in our programs remains enormously high. The reputation of our faculty and our programs has sustained us through these difficult times. I predict that you will see a quick recovery of historic enrollments and even higher admissions requirements for all programs in the months ahead. Faculty productivity remains high as indicators like publishing and grant awards will show. Interest in our activities from the media, from friends in the civic community, and from our alumni is growing. None of this would be possible without the strong faith and commitment of individuals like yourselves. So, welcome back to the new semester. Thank you for your support and patience.