President Anne Temte
Monday, April 13, 2015
I approach this week with overstressed muscles, back, and bones. We have sold our house in EGF and are downsizing until we relocate to Arizona. Deliberate exercise makes me feel young and energetic. The kind of exercise we indulged in this weekend does not make me feel young. Although for a couple of young thinking ‘60 something’, we do pretty well. Advice to young people just starting out: never buy anything heavier than 20 pounds or bigger than a breadbox!
I’ll start this Weekly Update with a couple of notes and then focus on the impact that the recession of 2008 had on American Higher Education.
- Check out the special music events at the TRF Campus this week. The Music Department’s Spring Concert will be held on Thursday, April 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Campus Theater.
Then on Saturday, April 18, (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday, April 19 (2:30 p.m.) enjoy a full meal and two hours of entertainment at a HOEDOWN in the Gunderson Commons. Cost is just $12.00. Featuring the Northland Chamber Choir and Northern Jazz, under the direction of Linda Samuelson, the music selections will spotlight country music hits from over the decades. (Doors will open 30 minutes prior to event.)
- The Computer Networking Club on the EGF Campus will be providing volunteer IT help at the Grand Forks Senior Center on April 21 and 22. The group will be helping individuals with their cell phones, computers, e-readers, and tablets.
- I will be attending the American Association of Community Colleges annual conference April 17 through the 21. I have been a member of the Commission on Technology, Research and Emerging Trends for three years. This meeting will be my last, fulfilling my commitment to the Commission. I will bring back interesting information to share.
- On April 22, the MnSCU Board of Trustees will host their annual recognition of excellence in teaching awards luncheon in St. Paul. Andrew Dahlen, NCTC instructor of Electronics and coach of Northland’s Robotics Team will be recognized as one of 35 excellent instructors in the MnSCU system.
Lingering Impact of the 2008 Recession on American Higher Education – In these final Weekly Updates, I am summarizing what has changed in higher education over the nine years that I have served as president of Northland.
None of us can forget the sudden deterioration of economic conditions that occurred in October, 2008. Many businesses downsized, people lost jobs or couldn’t find work, retirement savings shrank and older workers remained in the workforce, state tax revenues shriveled. As a consequence, many states suffered severe budget deficits. In Minnesota, we approached the 2009-2010 biennium with a $2 billion shortfall.
During the next three biennia, MnSCU colleges and universities faced sharp reductions in state allocation. At the same time, family and student spending power was reduced by unemployment or underemployment. Concern for student debt led both the legislature and the MnSCU Board of Trustees to limit tuition growth; in the last biennium, the legislature froze tuition. This shrinkage of funding to higher education occurred across the country.
Most institutions of higher education have had to deal with shortfalls in revenue. Salaries grew slowly or were frozen. At first, colleges reduced the numbers of sections of classes to increase efficiency. Unfortunately, this led to fewer choices and less convenience for students. More classes were moved online where students could access them from anywhere. As the deficit deepened, staff positions were eliminated, academic programs were suspended, faculty positions were reduced, and innovation and new program development slowed considerably.
Although we have felt these constrictions sharply at Northland, the pain was widespread. National publications reveal that institutions across the country have had to make similar hard decisions. In our own area of Minnesota, we have seen serious reductions at MSU – Moorhead, Bemidji State University, and Northwest Technical College.
The only positive impact of the 2008 Recession was that it led to increases in enrollment. When unemployment rises, many people look to education, particularly technical education as a way to train or retrain for better employment when jobs become available. Northland had its highest enrollment ever in FY2010 when we recorded more than 2900 FYE. The tuition gathered from students mitigated the reduction in the state allocation.
I am proud to note that, at Northland, we worked very hard to address the difficulties of the recession and actually improved the financial foundations of the college during this time. Northland now has a strong fund balance and reserve and has a respectable Composite Financial Index (COI) – a measure that receives very critical review from the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting body.
Next week I will focus on the economic recovery and its impact on American Higher Education.
I do hope you all have a wonderful week.
Upcoming College Events
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
1:30 pm – Soccer Club: Watch Soccer Games – EGF 236
3:00 pm – Softball @ Rainy River CC
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Rainy River CC – Double Header – TRF
Thursday, April 16, 2015
3:30 pm – TRF Student Senate WaterPark Trip – TRF Seven Clans Waterpark
7:00 pm – Music Department Spring Concert – TRF Campus Theater
Friday, April 17, 2015
1:00 pm – Baseball @ U of M Crookston – Double Header
Saturday, April 18, 2015
1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Vermilion CC – TRF
1:00 pm – Softball @ Central Lakes College
6:30 pm – Hoedown! – TRF Gunderson Commons
Sunday, April 19, 2015
1:00 pm – Baseball vs. Vermilion CC – TRF
1:00 pm – Softball vs. Itasca Community College – TRF
2:30 pm Hoedown! – TRF Gunderson Commons
Monday, April 20, 2015
TBD – PTK Club: Commit to Complete – EGF Commons
10:00 am – CNA Testing – EGF
10:00 am – PTK Club: Job Service of ND – EGF Commons
11:00 am – Rad Tech Club: Food Drive – EGF Commons
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
12:00 pm – Earth Day Campus Clean Up – EGF Foyer
Thursday, April 23, 2015
11:30 pm – Earth Day Campus Clean Up – TRF Campus
1:00 pm – Baseball @ Bemidji State University – Double Header
3:00 pm – Softball vs. Lake Region State College – TRF
My Schedule this Week
Monday, Apr. 13 – TRF – FBM mtg, NCTC Foundation Board meeting
Tuesday, Apr. – 14 – TRF
Wednesday, Apr. 15 – EGF
Thursday, Apr. 16 – Travel to AACC Conference, San Antonio
Friday, Apr. 17 – AACC Commision on Technology, Research, and Emerging Trends, San Antonio