University Business - May 2012 - (Page 24)

Big Ideas Response to the Challenge Preserving the institution and achieving its mission despite the new economic “normal” By Roy Flores brought my hard hat when I arrIved In terre haute, Indiana, to begin my freshman year at Indiana State University nearly 50 years ago. I had worked for two years as a steelworker in gary and the hard hat was a reminder of my roots—I am one of 10 children of parents of modest means—and of the hardy people who made a decent and honorable living operating blast furnaces that transformed molten iron. It also was a reminder of the great new journey I was embarking upon. I had grown up in a working-class neighborhood in gary and was moving from the factory to the academy—a world of books and lectures and research and ideas. The hard hat, sitting atop the dresser in my dorm room, was a symbol of the incredible power of learning to transform lives. College certainly changed my life. effective June 30, I will retire as chancellor of Pima Community College in tucson, ariz. It has been a privilege to serve since 2003 at Pima, and at I More students and less state aid resulted in the state’s per-student appropriation dropping from $1,140 in 2008 to $325 in 2011. the other stops on my 40-year educational journey, as a student, professor, and administrator. It is with this perspective that I write of a transformation in higher education that has occurred over the past half-decade. The scope of the transformation is driven by more than new economic realities, though they are a large part of it. The change is cultural as well, as society re-evaluates the public benefit of higher education. It will be the job of current and future leaders of the nation’s community colleges and universities to respond to 24 | May 2012 the profound challenge presented by the “new normal” in ways that preserve their institutions and allow them to achieve their missions. The great recession of 2008 brought wrenching change to colleges everywhere. Pima Community College was no exception. The arizona legislature, facing multibillion-dollar budget deficits, cut funding to PCC by 30 percent in 2010 and by another 55 percent in 2011. we went from $23 million in appropriations to $7 million. our enrollment skyrocketed, as it usually does during times of economic turbulence. we experienced double-digit enrollment growth from 2008-2010, adding more than 6,000 students—the equivalent of a new campus. more students and less state aid resulted in the state’s per-student appropriation dropping from $1,140 in 2008 to $325 in 2011. moreover, revenue from property taxes flattened, as the real estate market cratered and new construction dried up. even the most astute economic observers were caught by surprise when global financial institutions nearly imploded. however, we anticipated the overheating of arizona’s housing market by about 12 months, which gave us a window to soften the effects of the bubble’s burst. we had chosen not to fill staff and administrative positions left vacant by attrition. when the recession hit, we eliminated those jobs—7 percent of staff positions and 14 percent of administrators. PCC instituted a modified staff hiring freeze, filling only those positions critical to maintaining safety, security, and stewardship at the college. we stopped giving pay raises to employees. we suspended faculty sabbaticals and international travel, limited administrative travel, renegotiated contracts, intensified collections, made infrastructure improvements to reduce costs, swept uncommitted, unspent balances from general funds, and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - May 2012

University Business - May 2012
Editor's Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Human Resources
Education Gateways
Big Ideas
Reaching Higher
Admissions Goes Social
Learning Disabled Students Welcome
Who Goes There?
Computing Trends, Today and Tomorrow
Money Matters
End Note

University Business - May 2012