Enrollment Numbers Reported, Priorities Set for Year Ahead at BOT Meeting
The GSU Board of Trustees met Friday, October 7 and voted unanimously to approve the university's FY17 operating budget, IBHE operating and capital appropriations requests for FY18, a two-year internal audit plan, and the granting of a performance day for qualifying non-negotiated employees. The Board was also given updates on fall enrollment and housing and overviews of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research and GSU's social media efforts.
GSU "Soldiers On" Despite Cuts
President Maimon told the Board that despite a 70% cut in state appropriations for fiscal year 2016, "Governors State University is soldiering on," but added that "we are not doing fine."
The steep cut in appropriations, which is a result of the ongoing budget stalemate, has forced the University to make difficult and heartbreaking decisions. Maimon announced to the Board that on Dec. 31, after 30 years of award-winning work, GSU will close its Small Business Development Center. "In the current situation, we have no choice but to continue setting and adhering to strict priorities, always putting students first," said Dr. Maimon.
President Maimon also shared an update on enrollment data for academic year 2016-17, which was reported on September 13, Census Day for GSU. Dr. Maimon said official numbers showed slight dips in the University's total headcount (-2.02%) and its full-time equivalent enrollment number (- .87%), but noted that under the current circumstances in the State, we are relieved.
Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget
Governors State University's Board of Trustees approved the FY17 operating budget in the amount of $54 million. The budget constitutes a 2.4% increase over last year's budget.
Capital and Operating Appropriations Requests for FY 2018
The Board also passed the University's FY18 Operating Appropriations and Capital Appropriations requests to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, which is submitted each year in October by all Illinois public universities. The Operating Appropriations request addresses the need for infrastructure repair and renewal, personal service expenditures, and utilities.
The priority in the Capital Appropriations request is placed on Capital Renewal projects that would address critical deferred maintenance issues, such as fixing the water supply/fire suppression infrastructure which cost $6.7 million. The request also included the same two new facilities as last year: an Innovation Center and a new building for the university library.
Performance Day Approved for Non-Negotiated Employees
The Board approved a resolution from the Human Resources Committee granting one personal day, to be taken in FY17, for non-negotiated employees who received ratings of "generally exceeds expectations" or "superior" on their FY16 performance evaluation.
Smart Start Success
Dean Aurelio Valente presented information regarding enrollment and retention to the Board with an emphasis on Smart Start. Joining him was Professor Patrick Santoro and Ju'Juan Day. Day, now a GSU junior and peer mentor, was a member of the first, Fall 2014 Smart Start class (then called Early Start) and spoke about the positive impact the program had on his success at GSU. Santoro teaches Mastering College classes and mentors students as a Prairie Place resident faculty member. He spoke to the success of the program noting "we talk about what may be frightening to them, personal responsibility, what it takes to succeed." He added that we are teaching students "how to do 'this' [college]...Smart Start gives them an edge."
GSU Awarded Significant Grants
President Maimon told the Board the university was recently awarded a $450K grant from the Kresge Foundation to support the DDP-Male Success Initiative and the national dissemination of the DDP model. The MSI-DDP is an expansion of the DDP to include proven strategies for leading men of color to a clear pathway from high school to community colleges to the achievement of university bachelor degrees.
She also reported that the College of Health and Human Services recently received an additional $220k grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration for stipends to support internships in counseling. This year Governors State University has been awarded nearly $5 million in scholarship and grant money for students from the Health Resources and Services Administration.