Board Report – January 2012
Welcome to 2012 and winter term. We had a long break, got a lot done on campus, and we have a lot of budget and legislative work ahead of us, so I hope you're energized.
During the break, our Facilities staff and an arborist contractor removed the last of the London Plane Trees from main campus. All but one was growing on the median strip between Gonyea Road and parking lot B. One tree located east of the Center Building also was removed. London plane trees are highly allergenic and removal was based on a recommendation from the IEQ firm, Paul Carlson Associates. FMP will replant with a non-allergenic species at an appropriate time within the next 12 months. The tree removal was just one of dozens of projects that FMP took care of over the break in order to avoid disrupting classes.
Information Technology also completed numerous tasks over the break including installing new computers in student labs, increasing wireless access, upgrading servers, and implementing a new server and operating system for the college e-mail system, which serves 1,850 users.
We owe our appreciation and thanks to all the folks who gave up break time to keep campus running and ready.
First day registrations for winter term were up about 5 percent for credit classes and about even for noncredit classes, compared to a year ago. Total registrations this winter are keeping pace with fall term, showing continued strong enrollment. Typically, winter enrollment is less than fall enrollment. Nonetheless, final enrollment reports for fall 2011 are now in and show total FTE down .7% and credit FTE down 2.8% but noncredit FTE up 11.7 %.
Bulk mail distribution of our bond report to the community began Friday. Development of the report was a collaboration among Todd Smith in Facilities, Brett Rowlett in Government and Community Relations, and Joan Aschim and Tracy Simms in Marketing and Public Relations.
Our outreach on Facebook continues to grow and is becoming an increasingly important communication tool, as well as a community builder. We have almost 4,000 students-employees-community members who have subscribed, with even more active users. During fall term we used databases to help us identify Foundation supporters, vendor partners, and co-op partners with whom we could connect on Facebook. We also recently concluded a successful ad campaign. Facebook advertising is much less expensive than traditional advertising. It allows us to target specific audiences and provides us with multiple metrics to track return on investment.
Mayor Kitty Piercy delivered Eugene's annual State of the City address last Thursday. Hundreds of people were on hand to hear the positive news as well as the challenges facing our community in 2012. Lane received multiple mentions, including praise for our new Downtown Campus and housing project and the college's importance in strengthening the local economy as we work to pull out of the recession.
The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) released its final report to the Legislature, "Oregon Learns," on December 15. The report lays out elements and key strategies and proposes two packages of legislation for the 2012 session. The report is available on the Governor's website or you can get it from Brett.
OEIB is teaming up with the Oregon Education Association to host a series of community forums around the state this month. There will be one in Eugene on Thursday, January 26 from 6-9 p.m. in our Center for Meeting and Learning, Room 104. Sonya will be Lane's ambassador as I will be out of the office that day. The forums are for educators, parents, students and education advocates to find out more and to share their thoughts.
I again want to thank the board for providing feedback last month on the draft Achievement Compact for community colleges. We are planning a college discussion of the Compacts for staff and students on Tuesday, January 17, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., in the CML. As you know, there will be Compacts for each educational sector that will tie performance to funding in the future. The intent is to help Oregon reach its 40-40-20 goal. Legislation will be introduced in February.
When the Legislature meets next month, their top issue will be the budget shortfall, the severity of which will become a little clearer with the next revenue forecast on February 8. Let's hope the good economic news of the past few months carries over to the revenue forecast and budget.
Congress is still on recess. The House will convene again on January 17 and the Senate on January 23. Before adjourning for the holidays, Congress passed the remaining budgets for the current fiscal year. Although they maintained the $5,550 maximum Pell Grant award, changes were made to address the program's $1.3 billion shortfall and sustain the maximum award amount, including-
* The eligibility limit was reduced from 18 full-time semesters (27 quarters or 9 years) to 12 semesters (6 years);
* "Automatic zero" Expected Family Contributions (EFC) income levels are cut back from $30,000 to $23,000;
* Students without a high school diploma or equivalent will now be ineligible; and
* Students must be eligible for at least 10% of the maximum award to receive a minimum award.
Additionally, Congress placed a two-year moratorium on the six-month grace period on interests and subsidized Stafford Loans after graduation or withdrawal.
I will be traveling to the American Association of Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting late this month, and then to the American Association of Community Colleges 21st Century Commission meeting.
There is a great deal happening on campus in the next few weeks but let me call your attention to a few things:
- This year's Lane County Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration is Monday, January 16, from 5-6:30 p.m. at the EMU Ballroom at the University of Oregon. The keynote speaker is Dr. Joseph White, who will talk about youth and education. He is professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine. The annual march begins at 10 a.m. at the Science Factory and ends at the Shedd Institute. As in years past, the events are sponsored in part by Lane student government. Springfield also is celebrating with a march starting at 1:30 p.m. at the Springfield Justice Center, and an event from 2-4 p.m. at Springfield High School.
- Our Diversity Strategic Directions conference is Friday, January 20 in the Longhouse and Center for Meeting and Learning, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The keynote speaker, Dr. Lee Anne Bell, is an author and director of education at Barnard College.
- We will hold our annual Jam the Gym Titan basketball event on Saturday, January 21, with the women's game at 4 p.m. and men's game at 6 p.m. We will be playing Chemeketa.
- We are planning a reception for the Yoruba African Art exhibit for Monday, January 23, from 4-6 p.m. in the main art gallery. I will be there and we will welcome several people from Florence, including Mary Johnston who is loaning us the art is from her private collection.
- Lane will host the Oregon President's Council on January 30 and 31, in the CML., and Susie and I will host a reception the evening before at my home.