Priorities during the financial downturn
Posted on November 17, 2008
To the campus community,
The past week has brought daily announcements of hiring freezes, construction postponements and other cost-saving measures at colleges and universities throughout New England and across the country. As you know, Wheaton has taken similar steps in seeking cost containment strategies and in examining employee hiring plans carefully.
Uncertainty remains over how long and severe this financial downturn will be for colleges as well as individuals. In this environment, Wheaton’s plans will continue to take shape as the true impact of the economic slump becomes clearer. The college’s response, however, will be shaped by our priorities. They are:
** Increasing resources for financial aid. As the impact of this economic crisis spreads, we must prepare to allocate more of our budget to meet the increasing financial needs of our students and their families.
** Supporting the academic mission of the college. This must begin with the recognition that the college’s quality education depends upon the faculty and staff, who deliver our programs.
** Strengthening our community. Wheaton’s vitality depends upon our ability to work together creatively with limited resources and with flexibility to respond to changing and challenging circumstances.
I have been heartened by the constructive response of the community to the financial difficulties that we face. I met with the college’s senior department managers several weeks ago, and I received more than 60 suggestions for controlling costs. All of these ideas will be considered closely, and I welcome more proposals as they occur to you.
Wheaton’s success depends upon how well we work together toward common goals. Open communication and transparent decision-making are vital to the collaboration that will be required from each of us. To that end, I will write to you again with updates on our progress, as more information becomes available.
I would also like to invite you to come to the Presidents’ House on next Monday, November 24, at 3:30 to 5:00 P.M. for further discussion of these issues and any other matters that concern you.
I appreciate all that you do to endow Wheaton with its distinctive and powerful teaching and learning community.