This week, we are sharing with the college community – through meetings and editorials – the challenges facing Northland as we prepare our budget for FY2015. An allocation increase is included in the Governor’s proposed budget and in bills being considered by both the Minnesota House and Senate. This will certainly help with our budget planning. But, significant reductions still must be considered. Our communication this week will explain the context within which we are developing plans.
The second editorial that has been prepared for the Times of Thief River Falls is attached.
I have many positive notes to pass on this week and am very happy to devote the bulk of this update to them:
Justin Berry, instructor in the Physical Therapy Assistant program and Division Chair of Allied Health, has been notified that he is the recipient of the 2014 “FA Davis Award for Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant Educator.” This award is given to one PTA educator annually by the American Physical Therapy Association’s Board of Directors. We are so pleased for this well-deserved recognition.
The APTA website states:
- All nominees for the award must teach, or have taught, in an accredited physical therapist assistant education program from which students earn an academic degree, or in a developing physical therapist assistant education program that has established a formal liaison with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
- All nominees must exhibit a strong commitment to physical therapist assistant education and to her/his students.
- All nominees must demonstrate her/his commitment to the advancement of physical therapy education through participation in activities occurring at the state and national level.
- All nominees must participate (or have participated) in activities that serve to advance, promote, and define physical therapist assistant education.
- All nominees, through her/his efforts, must reflect (or have reflected) substantial commitment to physical therapist assistant education, the physical therapy profession, and to the American Physical Therapy Association.
Dawn Eickman, adjunct instructor in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program, has been selected to serve a three-month term as an item writer for the PTA licensure examination by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
Ron Dvergsten, Farm Business Management instructor and FBM program director, was named Outstanding Agriculture Educator in the state of Minnesota by the Minnesota Assoc. of Agriculture Educators (MAAE). He will officially receive the award in July at a summer conference in Red Wing, MN.
Don Campbell, instructor in Northland’s Computer and Network Technology program, has been recognized as an Advanced Level instructor by the Cisco Networking Academy. This recognition is awarded to the top 25 percent of instructors globally – all are cited on the Cisco NetSpace Recognition Program website. Don’s impressive accomplishments and contributions to the Cisco Networking Academy program brought him recognition in:
- Participation in professional development opportunities
- Attention to student needs
- Student performance
- Use of resources
Northland’s Marketing Department
The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, in announcing its recognition program for 2013 states, “NCMPR’s prestigious Paragon Awards recognize outstanding achievement in communications at community and technical colleges. It’s the only national competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges.”
Congratulations to our team of Jason Trainer, Chad Sperling, Katie Jurvelin, and Matthew Brenden. Northland was recognized with four awards, the second largest collection of any college in the country:
- Gold – College Website
- Gold – Folder for Aerospace Recruitment
- Silver – TV AD, Series
- Bronze – Electronic Viewbook
On Thursday, I will leave for the American Association of Community Colleges annual conference in Washington, DC. I am completing the second year of a three year term on the Commission on Research, Technology, and Emerging Trends. It is really enlightening to work with the presidents of other community colleges throughout the US. By sharing observations and experiences, we are able to inform our national association of what is on the near horizon for our colleges.
Upcoming College Events
Saturday, March 29, 2014
• 1:00 pm – Baseball @ Mount Marty College
• 12:00 pm – Softball @ St. Cloud
• 3:00 pm – Baseball @ Mount Marty College
• 6:00 pm – Softball @ M State
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
• Registration opens for fall semester.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Crossover Tourney
Sunday, April 6, 2014
• TBD – Baseball @ Crossover Tourney
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
• 10:00 AM – CNA Testing
• 3:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
• 5:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
My schedule for the next two weeks:
Mon. Mar. 31 – TRF – AG Center of Excellence Web-EX
Tues. Apr. 1 – EGF – Meeting with Reps of UM-Crookston
Wed. Apr. – EGF – GGFYP Advisory Board, Student Senate
Thurs. Apr. – TRF – GFREDC Board, DEED meeting related to TRF Housing
Fri. Apr. – Washington DC – AACC Commission on Research, Technology and Emerging Trends
Mon. Apr. 7 – Washington DC – AACC Annual Conference
Tues. Apr. 8 – Washington DC – AACC Annual Conference
Wed. Apr. 9 – TRF – Shared Governance Meeting
Thurs. Apr. 10 – EGF – Exec Council
Fri. Apr. 11 – EGF/TRF
EDITORIAL #2 – THE TIMES – TRF
NORTHLAND IS COMMITTED TO LONG-TERM SUCCESS IN THIEF RIVER FALLS
Concern has been expressed in the Thief River Falls (TRF) community about the TRF campus of Northland Community and Technical College (Northland). Northland’s decision to suspend the football program in December 2013 has resulted in these concerns being expressed publicly in media outlets.
We understand that supporters of Northland football may not understand or agree with the decision to suspend the program. It is also recognized that this decision may feed into a greater fear concerning the overall future of Northland’s TRF campus. Northland is committed to long-term success in TRF!
It is our desire, over the next few weeks, to present accurate information to address both the suspension of football and the generalized concern about the future of the TRF campus. It is our hope that this information will help create a more accurate understanding for the continued positive support and growth of Northland.
This week’s focus is on Northland’s Fiscal-Year 2015 Budget Challenges
PROJECTED STATE BUDGET SURPLUS DOESN’T FIX HIGHER EDUCATION CHALLENGES
Although State finance officials have projected a FY 2014 budget surplus of over $1.2 billion, this does not automatically trickle down to public institutions of higher education. State support, in the form of allocation, for each full-time Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) student has declined by nearly 45% since fiscal year (FY) 2000 (fall 1999-spring 2000), while the system educates 66,247 more students per year than it did in that year. Minnesota’s allocation reduction is among the nation’s deepest – in 1999, Minnesota’s higher education appropriation per student was 24% higher than the national average; it is now 17% below the national average.
Recently the following question was posed to the leadership at each of the MnSCU institutions: “What are you doing for budget cuts for FY 2015?” One college indicated it was exploring reductions well in excess of $1 million to be achieved with two layoffs, not filling vacated faculty positions following retirement, and other possibilities. A second college responded that reductions of approximately $1 million have been identified that will result in elimination of three or more academic programs as well as other identified reductions. A third institution indicated it is seeking to eliminate $1.45 million from the budget with possibilities to include keeping several vacant positions open, eliminating positions, not replacing a couple of retirees, and looking at increasing class enrollment caps. These reflect the reality of what is occurring throughout the MnSCU System. Minnesota State University-Moorhead has been featured in many news articles because of its plans to eliminate programs and tenured faculty positions.
NORTHLAND HAS TWO MAJOR CHALLENGES IN UPCOMING FY 2015 BUDGET
There are two major challenges that remain in building a budget for FY 2015. They are:
• System Level Funding. Resources provided by the state were insufficient to address compensation increases in the FY 2015 – FY 2016 biennium. MnSCU requested an increase in the allocation of 3% for compensation increases; the legislature awarded 2.6%. This situation was exacerbated when Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) settled contracts with a couple of bargaining units that established a state pattern at 3.6% – 3.9% annually.
Northland and the MnSCU system may wish to provide the same level of compensation advancement to the college faculty bargaining units as was agreed to between MMB and the other bargaining units; however, at this time, the remainder of allocated salary dollars is insufficient to do so. MnSCU has calculated that the gap between available funds and anticipated compensation settlements that follow the state pattern is $48M for the current biennium (2014-2015).
As of this date, the Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2015 includes an additional base increase of $17 million for the system for FY 2015. The House Higher Education Committee has endorsed this amount. We are certainly grateful for this step forward.
• Local Level Funding. Enrollment declines have occurred at all but three MnSCU colleges during this fiscal year 2014. Northland also experienced an unexpected decline. A budget was built based upon a projection of 2715 full year equivalents (FYE). Actual enrollment for the year will be approximately 2500 FYE, representing a reduction of 8%.
The extremely low unemployment rate and the continuing decline of the high school population in our area are factors that contribute to the enrollment decline. The fact that there are ten institutions of higher education within 100 miles of Northland’s two campuses creates immense competition for the declining student population. An increasing percentage of our students are enrolled part time, rather than full time, probably indicating they are working while attending college. Loss of tuition revenue is a budget challenge that must be solved locally by adjusting programs and services to the size of our student population.
NORTHLAND MAY FACE UP TO A $1.6 MILLION DEFICIT
Although Northland has had to make some very difficult budget decisions in past years, it is in a relatively strong financial position. Of course, we must develop an annual budget that is balanced for cash (revenue = expenditures). At the same time, all MnSCU institutions are expected to budget for accruals and depreciation. For Northland, this amount is approximately $1.8M annually. In the past several years, we have been very successful in budgeting for both a balance in cash as well as for accruals and depreciation.
We are not optimistic however, about financial balance in FY 2015. With a significant number of unknowns, Northland’s finance office has identified the “worst case” and “best case” scenarios. With current enrollment projections and anticipating our proportional amount of the Governor’s proposed funding increase, Northland faces a $1.6 million cash deficit.
This level of projected deficit requires significant planning. All administrators have been directed to develop tentative strategies to reduce budgets by 4.5%, and 6.5%. By the end of May, a budget will be developed and shared with the college community.
NORTHLAND HAS SOLUTIONS IN THE MIDST OF CHALLENGES
Amidst the challenges, Northland’s leadership is not sitting by passively. Major efforts have been accomplished or initiated in strategic enrollment management and in master academic planning. Information about these endeavors will be shared in the weeks to come.
We are encouraged that current student inquiries and applications are up from this time last year. Assessment and advising sessions for incoming students are also beginning to fill up. Current and past student satisfaction with Northland remains positive as well.
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO HELP
Yes, Northland is a State entity and part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. However, it remains your community college. It will only cease to be the community’s college when the community chooses to no longer support and attend Northland. May this never happen.
Therefore, Northland invites and encourages the community to:
- Promote. Emphasize the range of programs offered by the college and the positive outcomes that students experience.
- Invite. Encourage the young people in our region to attend Northland and take advantage of Northland’s affordable education.
- Attend. Enroll in a course at Northland yourself for career improvement and advancement.
- Support. Donate to the NCTC Foundation so they can continue to offer more scholarships to students to attend Northland.
Northland Community & Technical College Administration