Welcome to a New Academic Year, August 17, 2011
Welcome back to Colorado State University as we count down the days to the start of fall semester.
Record enrollment, increase in transfer students to CSU
Already, it’s shaping up to be a great year. While the numbers won’t be final for several weeks yet, we anticipate another year of record enrollment, with significant increases in the number of transfer students to CSU. The latest statewide data show that more Colorado high school students are choosing CSU than any other college or university in Colorado. We’ve also just recently announced a new record high in research expenditures at CSU and our second best year ever in private fund-raising thanks to the Campaign for Colorado State. I view all these successes as a significant testament to the quality and competitiveness of our faculty, which continues to rank among the most productive research university faculties anywhere in the country.
This good news is tempered, of course, by the fragile state of our nation’s economic recovery, which creates obvious concerns as we look forward to the next round of budget planning. As always, this will continue to occupy a lot of our time in the weeks and months ahead, and you can look forward to a new round of my gripping budget emails over the coming year. As I’ve said many times, I’m proud of how we’ve weathered the last few, tough years as an institution.
With the implementation of differential tuition across all colleges, we’ve been able to avoid severe cuts to academic programs and areas that impact the classroom. While this also means that tuition costs have gone up more than any of us would have liked this year, the cost of a CSU education remains highly competitive with peers in- state and around the country. We’ve already begun initial discussions about next year’s budget, and it’s clear that both the Board of Governors and the CSU administration are placing a high priority on providing salary increases in the next budget cycle.
Commitment to Campus benefits for faculty and staff
In the meantime, Vice President for University Operations Amy Parsons will be sending out an announcement later this week with additional improvements to faculty and staff benefits and privileges under the Commitment to Campus program. Providing an exceptional work environment for all our faculty and staff, even during a time of limited resources, remains a high priority for Colorado State.
20th anniversary of School is Cool
Also this week, we are marking the 20th anniversary of School is Cool, a program initiated and still led by our staff to provide school supplies to children in need throughout our community. Over the last two decades, this program has helped more than 24,000 children in our community get a good start on the school year, and it has succeeded only because of the countless volunteers — including program founder Kathy Phifer from External Relations — who every year contribute their time and energy to its success. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to making School is Cool work for our community — it was good to see some of you over at Johnson Hall earlier today during my shift stuffing backpacks.
Ram Welcome activities
On that same note, I want to offer thanks in advance to all of our staff and faculty who are participating in Ram Welcome activities this week. The transition to college is a critical time for our incoming students, and your involvement in this program sends a strong message of how committed we are to their success. I look forward to seeing many of you at the events over the next few days — I’ll be there both as president and as the parent of an incoming freshman.
Equine Reproduction Laboratory leadership
Finally, I want to offer a special thanks to the faculty and staff at our Equine Reproduction Laboratory, who have demonstrated exceptional grace, courage, and leadership in recovering from the fire that destroyed their facility just a couple of weeks ago. At every step, they have put service to clients first, even while dealing with their own personal losses, and they deserve our thanks and support as they rebuild what has long been a signature facility for Colorado State University.
That’s it for now. Enjoy the few remaining days before school starts, and I’ll see you on campus!
Dr. Tony Frank