24 February 2004
Present: Mathis, Landry, Fahey, Staples, Tinnell, Crangle, JPClark, Thurston, Hage, Driscoll. Absent: Moore, Sparks, Davis, Maynard, Rousseau, Barry, Bernier.
Bill Crangle shared information on student fees and auxiliary budgets. Students will attend a Board of Trustees meeting with PSU administration in April to present the student fee schedule. The proposed housing increases will fund deferred maintenance repairs starting with Pemi this summer.
Utilities could go $200,000 over budget due to oil prices. Dick pointed out the current lack of campus awareness of energy conservation. Bill reminded us that the campus theme for FY05 is environmental sustainability, and efforts will be made to begin some new energy initiatives.
The group agreed to support the auxiliary fees as presented.
USNH requested that the campuses figure budgets on 3% and 5% decreases in case the governor requests one. Meeting handouts include summary budgets showing a 3% increase, a 3% cut, and a 5% cut. Cuts would change the role of this committee from one of recommending funding for initiatives to one of finding ways to trim the budget.
Bill presented an overview of tuition rates and enrollment. Nick mentioned that the national average of students who graduate with a Bachelor’s degree is much lower than people think. Retention rates are low everywhere because many students these days choose to transfer. First year student engagement is a high priority. Nick stated that the reason for losing them is elusive; it could be geographic, but “something” isn’t working for us. John asked if it was smart of us to work so hard to recruit the out-of-state student at a higher rate when the attrition rate is so high.
Roger reported that the FBRC discussed the assessment of curricular recommendations of the CBC, particularly raising class size, eliminating required courses, reducing programs, consolidating departments, etc. Questions raised were:
- What has been done to raise class size? How many courses eliminated? Caps raised? What will it take to reach the recommendation of 25? Does raising class size change pedagogy and teaching methods? How does it affect student centered learning? Does it affect students with learning disabilities?
- What are peer institutions doing? Other system institutions?
- What happens to autonomy of departments if the VP does the trimming?
- Is there an impact study on the effect in recruitment and retention?
- Have students been involved in the decision process?
- Have faculty committees discussed or voted on these recommendations? What has been faculty reaction to the proposed increased workload?
The FBRC plans to increase communication between the committee and departments by inviting department chairs to join them for discussion and to share a freshened vision of their present situation and future needs. Roger also requested that the FBRC reports be moved to earlier in the CBC meeting agenda.
Most of the next meeting on March 9 will be spent on R&R and deferred maintenance. The meeting adjourned at 9:25.