University Business October 2017 - 33

business community that now includes
Volvo and Boeing.
"In a private college, many students-
especially the nontraditional-will be supported by tuition grants from these employers," he says. "You want to work with
these businesses on internships and then
you want them to hire your graduates."
The university has also expanded its
online programs, with both traditional
and nontraditional students in mind.
A few years ago, the administration
required that all instructors become qualified to teach online. When someone asked
Hunter if he had mastered the school's
online platform or learned how to create
a podcast, he had to admit he was "still
working on it."
"In my life, that has been the hardest thing I had to learn. I had to humble
down, and go to junior faculty members
and say 'I don't know how to do this.' "
An essential tool
Tuition-dependent, smaller schools face
greater funding hurdles than do their
wealthier, private counterparts and statesupported public institutions.
To remain both competitive and financially stable, small schools must calibrate

"I talk to young
people a lot about
purpose. The
majority of them
have never
addressed that:
'What's your
purpose in life?'"
-Jairy Hunter

tuition discounting, scholarships and financial aid-because the bulk of those
funds come from the operating budget,
Hunter says.
Small colleges also must maintain
modern facilities on campuses where some
buildings are 40 or 50 years old. Again,
public institutions can often get state assistance to cover some construction costs.
The rest of the money has to be generated through fundraising, and that's why
it's critical for a university to map out its
own road to success in the form a compre-

hensive strategic plan that enables a leader
to base all key decisions on research, analysis and input from across the institution,
Hunter says.
"I've spent most of my life begging for
money," he says. "I can't understand how
you can ask a foundation, corporation
or a donor for support if you don't have
a strategic plan. Strategic planning is the
absolutely essential tool you need in your
toolbox."
Charleston Southern has operated in
the black for the past 31 years and never
defaulted on a loan, and Hunter credits
that achievement to a commitment to an
ongoing strategic planning process that
incorporates input from all corners of
campus. "It requires every department,
every division, every level of the university
to set priorities," he says. "Then you integrate the funding to see how far you can
implement the priorities."
Charleston Southern, like most other
institutions, prioritizes growth-but as a
small school, leaders must be careful not to
outgrow the school's classrooms, residence
halls and other facilities. The university expects to grow at 2 percent annually, reaching 4,000 students by 2020, Hunter says.
Of course, Hunter-while one expects
he may still be teaching-will no longer
be in charge at Charleston Southern when
the enrollment crosses that threshold. He
definitely won't demand any of the credit
for the achievement.
"I've never thought the university ran
around me or because of me-I don't even
have Ph.D. on my card," Hunter says. "My
style is to equip people and mentor people
and push to get the best out of them, so
I have no great concerns that Charleston
Southern will have any decline."

Matt Zalaznick is senior associate editor of UB.
MORE ONLINE

CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS-Jairy Hunter has taught every semester of his
long career as a higher ed administrator. He remains humble, not even using
"Ph.D." on his business cards.

www.universitybusiness.com

How public institution roles
prepared Jairy Hunter for leading
a small private university
UBmag.me/hunter

October 2017 | 33


http://www.UBmag.me/hunter http://www.universitybusiness.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business October 2017

University Business October 2017 - Cover1
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