January 18, 2013
Dear Members of the University of Hartford Community:
Linked in this message is the Web address for the implementation plans for Foundation of the Future, the University’s prioritization initiative. These implementation plans are the result of three and a half months of discussion and activity following the release of the Foundation of the Future Joint Task Forces Report in September 2012.
This letter summarizes what will be accomplished through the implementation plans, describes the process we have followed since the release of the Joint Task Forces Report of recommendations, and explains the process we will follow moving forward. I hope you will read the letter in its entirety before moving on to the implementation plans.
As you know, the goal of Foundation of the Future is to determine where University resources should be focused without increasing the University’s overall budget. At this time when we cannot count on increased net revenues, we need resources to improve our competitive position and to meet our students’ needs. To find these resources we must reduce the number of programs we offer, increase efficiencies in delivery of core services, and reallocate the resulting resources to provide better support to priority programs. Last year, 45 University faculty and staff analyzed and prioritized more than 308 academic and administrative programs. They recommended whether each needs more investment, should be maintained as is, needs to be restructured, or should be divested. The recommendations have been reviewed and separate implementation plans developed for academics and administration.
Foundation of the Future implementation begins today and will continue over a five-year period. So far, administrative task force recommendations that will be implemented total $2.650 million, or 74 percent of the $3.584 million the administrative task force was asked to identify. On the academic side, implementation of program closure recommendations must follow the Manual of Academic Policies and Procedures, a step-by-step process that can take several months. Final results of the academic recommendations cannot be predicted, but the academic task force recommendations that can be implemented now total approximately $0.512 million, or 16 percent of the $3.2 million the academic task force was asked to identify. I intend to issue updates on the amount of funds identified for reallocation on an annual basis.
Some of the decisions in the implementation plans have been extremely difficult and painful to make. Beginning today, we have eliminated three full-time and one part-time staff positions. Those staff members have been notified of that decision. They will receive our standard severance package as well as outplacement services paid for by the University. Over the rest of calendar year 2013, we anticipate eliminating approximately 11 additional positions, four of which are currently unfilled. The seven staff members whose positions will be eliminated over the course of this year were informed of this today. They will receive the same severance packages and outplacement services. Eight other positions will be reduced from twelve-month to ten-month positions.
Staffing changes on the academic side depend on the final disposition of programs. In some programs we expect to see more courses eventually taught by full-time faculty, a step we believe will enhance retention and quality. The impact on part-time faculty is not yet clear, but we will make projections annually.
I wish to state as strongly as possible that regardless of ultimate actions to restructure or divest programs, all currently enrolled students in those programs will be able to complete their degrees.
As I outlined in my September letter, University officers considered the recommendations of the two task forces, taking into account community comments and discussions; new, relevant data; projected budget implications; and impact within an institutional context. This process brought some additional programs forward for consideration of restructure or divestment and deferred some decisions to divest until a later date. All of this shows that the process is working and reinforces my confidence that this process will help strengthen the University’s focus and make it better able to weather the uncertain economic times in which we live. I believe these are reasonable and prudent actions to take that will, over time, make the University stronger.
As a result of this process, there are two implementation plans. One contains decisions on the recommendations of the administrative task force; the other contains decisions on the academic task force recommendations. They have slightly different formats because the process for coming to a final decision in administration is different from the process in academics.
In the administrative plan, the vice president of the appropriate areas (or in a few cases, I as president) reviewed the recommendations; where appropriate, consulted with the senior staff of each of the areas in which action was recommended; and brought a recommendation forward for discussion by all of the vice presidents and me. The vice presidents then made a recommendation to me as University president. I concurred or disagreed, and my decision as president is the final decision.
The administrative implementation plan, therefore, shows three steps for the decision-making process on each program: the recommendation of the task force, the recommendation of the University vice presidents following review and discussion, and my final decision. Unless further deliberation or deferral is indicated, my implementation decision is final.
The academic implementation plan process included the need for the provost to engage the Council of Deans and they, in turn, to engage their department chairs, program directors and faculty in extensive deliberations. Our commitment to follow the process for program closures outlined in the Manual of Academic Policies and Procedures requires a series of steps that are still in process. As a result, the academic implementation plan shows two steps, not three, for decision making: the recommendation of the task force and the recommendation of the provost noting the status of deliberations for each program in the restructure or divest categories. In the case of program closure recommendations from the provost, the Faculty Senate has a period of time to consider input from the college or school and bring the recommendations to a vote. When the provost, Council of Deans, and Faculty Senate agree on closure, that decision will be final. If they disagree, I will make the final decision.
You will notice in both plans that decisions have been deferred on several programs recommended for divestment pending further study or developments. Deferral does not mean that divestment will definitely not occur; rather, it means that additional information must be gathered and/or work must be done before a final decision can be made.
Simultaneously with the release of these implementation plans, we will begin the exciting next phase of our planning process — developing a new strategic plan for the University. This is vital if we are to ensure a strong position for the University in future years. The strategic planning process will focus on major themes for the next five years, producing a shared vision that represents major institutional opportunities and identifies key directions and areas of investment. The development of the strategic plan will be overseen by the Strategic Planning Committee of the Board of Regents, the one committee of the board that includes faculty, staff, administrators, and regents. I will have more details to outline about this process in the next month or so, but I look forward to engaging all of you in this most-important process.
An enormous amount of work has gone into preparing these implementation plans. I am grateful to all of you who have worked tirelessly on this process. I also appreciate the productive, collaborative, and collegial spirit in which the entire campus has come together to deliberate on the recommendations. These have not been easy discussions to have, and not everyone will agree with the decisions outlined in the plans. Still, I am proud to be a member of a University of Hartford community that values honest and civil discussion on critical issues that are in the best interests of the University as a whole.
Although my decisions in the plans are final, you may still have questions about how implementation will proceed. Please address those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and the provost, the vice president for finance and administration, or I will respond to you.
Again, my thanks to everyone who has worked so diligently on this all-important initiative. Here are the links to the academic implementation plan and the administrative implementation plan. This is a password-protected site accessible to University faculty, staff and students. Once you are on the page, a pop-up box will ask you to log in. If you are faculty or staff, enter your University username (without hartford.edu) and password, and log in. If you are a student, enter students\ before your username (example: students\jdoe) and password. Log in and you will be taken to the webpage.