MANSFIELD - Mansfield University President Fran Hendricks announced the university is undergoing several structural and administrative changes - but no related layoffs.
The changes are aimed toward "Mansfield University's new vision and mission statements and the MU 2020 Strategic Plan with its three major goals: student success, resource management and strategic engagement," Hendricks wrote in a campuswide email.
Hendricks said the new alignments will reduce the anticipated deficit and under which the university still operates.
"We started this year with a projected $6 million deficit and will finish it with a $3.5 to 4 million deficit, so we were able to cut a third or more of that through greater efficiencies, though we did have some folks that were let go," he said, referring to a recent moratorium on six programs.
Last year at this time the university projected an $8.3 million deficit for next year and now it is more like $4.5 million, "so we have been able to cut that in half. We just need to keep chipping away," he said.
The organizational changes also reduced about a third of the deficit projected for next year.
"We have a goal of reducing again and so we will be able to see how effective we are in attaining that," he said.
Budget updates from the state will not come through until July, "when we will hear tuition increases and it will be based on the governors budget. We are building budgets now based on anticipation of what we think it might be," Hendricks said.
Hendricks explained the action as a "realignment for greater efficiency and synergy from student recruitment to graduation. It is all based on student success, and it's what we think is best for Mansfield."
For example, Hendricks said, "We used to have two deans in provost area, we will be moving to one who also is an associate provost and dean of faculty."
J. P. Burke will assume the role of associate provost and dean of the faculty. She has been associate provost and dean of education, professional and graduate studies since August 2009.
Burke will work with David Stinebeck, who was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs last week, and provide oversight and leadership for all academic departments while continuing to direct the grants function at MU.
That department also will utilize administrative assistants who are faculty members "to help us with some of those duties," Hendricks said, "and prepares them for opportunities they may want to pursue in their professional careers."
Faculty assistants in fall 2014 are Karen Guenther, history and political science; Nancy Sidell, social work, anthropology and sociology; John Ulrich, English and modern languages; and Kathy Wright, health sciences.
"We have some strategic goals we are ironing out for the next fiscal year and what we will gage our efficiency on. There will be many ways to measure how effective these changes are," Hendricks added.
Hendricks said he hopes the new alignment will help the university to "be efficient, be effective and eradicate the uncertainty."
"MU's been around 157 years and in its first year one of its main buildings burned down, and they recognized the value of education and rebuilt. As far as we are concerned we are going to be around for another 150 years. We have a good track record of producing community leaders and we plan to keep doing that," he said.
As a graduate of the university, Hendricks said he "lives and breaths Mansfield and we are damn proud of everyone in the school and I am happy to say that. I do care greatly about the men and women who work here and especially about the students."
Specifically, changes are as follows:
To support student success, from recruitment through graduation and then through career growth, a new division, student affairs and enrollment management, was created, and Christopher Bridges promoted to vice president to lead it.
The new division will retain the current student affairs functions and add admissions, residence life and auxiliary services, and athletics.
It also will be charged with building a strong camps and conferences presence on campus and renewing student leadership offerings.
Bridges has been serving as associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students since coming to MU in November 2012.
Alumni Relations Department and College Community Services Inc. will join the finance and administration division, led by Vice President John Adams. Adams also will work closely with the Mansfield University Foundation and MU Alumni Board.
Alumni Relations and the Mansfield University Foundation will relocate their offices to the university's Ross House on Main Street in Mansfield once renovations there are complete. "With this move, we expect to develop stronger synergies between the alumni office and foundation to better connect with our alumni and increase giving levels," Hendricks said. "The move will also provide greater visibility and presence in the community, another step toward achieving MU's strategic engagement goals."
The Human Resources Division, led by Dia Carleton, executive director of employee and leadership services, will continue to provide employee services as well as lead the social equity, multicultural affairs and women's center functions.
The division also is responsible for compliance with Title IX, right-to-know, ethics reporting and other regulatory requirements.
Focusing on resource management and strategic engagement, Hendricks said his office, using current university staff, will establish community engagement and workforce development functions to expand MU's corporate partnerships and align student learning with workforce and community needs.
John Adams, Christopher Bridges, J.P. Burke, Dia Carleton and David Stinebeck will serve as cabinet members, providing advice, counsel and leadership for the challenges and opportunities ahead, Hendricks said.