Proposed 2011-12 Budget, Presidential Search Discussed at Town Meeting
CC faculty and staff attended a 40-minute town hall meeting on January 24 in Armstrong Hall to learn about the college’s proposed budget and get a brief update regarding the presidential search process.
Before the session got underway, President Dick Celeste asked several new members of the CC community to introduce themselves, including Chris Coulter, director of facilities, Shonda Graham, financial aid, Belinda Armstrong, admission office, and Pam Shipp, Boettcher Counseling Center.
Robert Moore then discussed the proposed 2011-12 budget, emphasizing that it was still a proposal and not a final budget. The budget committee will meet twice this Block to finalize recommendations to the president, who then will make the budget recommendation to the board of trustees when they meet during the last week of February. The budget is approved by the board of trustees.
He noted that CC is “in great shape financially relative to higher education,” but acknowledged that money “is still a little tight.” The endowment has been performing well; as of Dec. 31, 2010, the endowment was above $500 million and approaching the level it was three years ago. However, the payout from the endowment is based on its average value at the end of the previous 12 quarters, so the decline is still affecting the payout and will continue to do so for the next several years. Because of that, the payout CC is budgeting for the next fiscal year is about $3.1 million, or 12.5 percent, lower than the payout three years ago.
Mark Hatch reported that application numbers are strong (currently at 4,800), as is the quality of the applicant pool. The college is basing its budget on an estimated enrollment of 1,975 undergraduates. CC currently is serving more students than that, but does not want to construct a budget which requires a higher enrollment in order to be sustainable. One direct result of this will be an anticipated smaller entering freshmen class next year, Moore said.
The college also will hold down the comprehensive fee, reflecting a small increase in tuition, and no increase in room and board rates for the second year in a row. (The comprehensive fee is made up of the tuition rate, student fee, and room and board.)
Financial aid remains the top budget priority, reflecting what the budget committee heard from campus members last spring. “There are a lot of great investments we could make for the college, but we invested in student financial aid,” Moore said. The proposal increases financial aid for entering students from $6 million to $6.5 million. Overall the financial aid budget is growing 8 percent while there is a 5 percent decline in endowment support, Moore said.
He also noted that the college believes it can maintain health insurance at a 80/20 cost allocation – 80 percent paid by the employer and 20 percent by the employee. CC is maintaining a generous benefits level, Moore said, “which is not the majority experience of most of our fellow citizens.”
Additionally, there is a small pool of $200,000 that can be allocated to those who are most in need of an increase in operating expenses.
The second part of the town hall meeting, led by Ginger Morgan and John Simons, dealt with the presidential search. They noted the search was still in process, and thus much of the information was confidential. Morgan did say the search was “vigorous and on track, the “candidate pool is rich,” and that CC “is gratified by the quality of the applicants and nominees.”
John Gould asked how the search committee was prioritizing the characteristics most desired in the presidential candidates, and was directed to the last paragraph of the prospectus on the presidential search committee website, which reads:
Colorado College seeks a visionary leader who appreciates the distinctive rhythms, challenges, and opportunities that characterize the Block Plan and champions the college’s unique pedagogy and mission within higher education. The ideal candidate will possess a record of:
- Personal integrity, character, approachability, and a sense of humor
- Distinguished intellectual achievement
- Success as a senior administrator
- Commitment to the highest standards of learning, teaching, and scholarship
- Management that inspires confidence and demonstrates an ability to make difficult choices in an environment with multiple, competing demands
- Strategic thinking and institutional innovation
- Fundraising and financial management
- Inspiring trust and building relationships with integrity across the full range of community constituents
- Commitment to environmental sustainability
- Commitment to diversity in all its forms
- Exceptional communications skills.
Morgan also was asked when the new president will be announced. The answer? “When we know who it is, and they have accepted.”
The presidential search committee website is available at: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/welcome/presidentsoffice/search/prospectus/