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maintenance" and the fact that the campus "could lean on only a small endowment of $36.2-million". The parallels to UIU are unnerving - except it is my understanding (and I could be wrong) that our endowment is smaller than this. When I asked why increasing the endowment at UIU was not being written into the plan, I was told that a Vice- President will be hired at UIU in the near future that will address this issue. However, I do not believe that is a reason to omit the endowment from the plan. Also, it appears that increases in enrollment will result in incoming cash flow. It appears that money now is available to build new buildings at new centers. I am curious as to whether any of this new money has been ear-marked for increasing the endowment. I truly feel that, if the Strategic Plan gets passed by the Board without any reference in it regarding the endowment, that we may travel down the same path just taken by Antioch. The Extended University graciously helps to support our Residential University now, but we really need an RU nest egg to get us through the hard times that will likely come when high-school graduate numbers really start to take a nose-dive in the near future.

In the June white paper that I helped to write for the Steering Committee, we included a sensible strategic initiative with regard to faculty workload. Bascially, the thought was that, in the first year, some group would identify colleges comparable to us and review/benchmark how we compared to them with regard to faculty depth (e.g. the number of faculty members per department or major) and job responsibilities (e.g. the number of credits taught per semester, number of committees, number of advisees, etc.). Then in future years, funding would be made available for new full-time and/or adjunct faculty positions, as well as for increased faculty compensation and/or release time. The goal would be to get us in line with comparable colleges for faculty size and workload. I am aware that the Cabinet has created a "benchmarking" committee, and it is assumed that they will help us move in this direction. However, this does not mean that the issue should not be included in the Strategic Plan. Many faculty members have gone "above and beyond" what is typically required of a faculty member, particularly during leaner times in this institution's recent history. I think it is important that the Board approve a plan that shows its commitment to support an overburdened faculty by relieving some of that burden as the university grows. Also, I believe that a similar benchmarking plan should be instituted for staff - the faculty likely aren't the only personnel that have heavy workloads at Upper Iowa.

Finally, I guess what worries me the most about the plan is that, if approved in its current form, it appears to set aside money for some items that appear to have only a marginal tie-in to the plan's overarching goals. It is easy to pay lip-service and say that, as new strategic objectives are identified after the plan is approved they will be funded in kind. However, it may be equally easy to say that we cannot afford new strategic initiatives that arise after the plan is approved, as our money will be committed to the wish lists in the current plan. I certainly want to give our administrators the benefit of the doubt and believe that they would fund important new initiatives as they are identified. However, I would be more comfortable with the plan if its initiatives demonstrated a more equitable allocation of funds to the various departments within the university community.

Scott Figdore


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