New President Seth Bodnar Says UM Faces ‘Defining Moment’
UM President Seth Bodnar spent the day on Wednesday addressing UM faculty, staff and media about his plans and goals for all aspects of the university.
Speaking without notes for over an hour, Bodnar addressed the future of higher education, and specifically how UM must grow and adapt to a changing world.
He said when it comes to the juxtaposition of academics and budgets, the school faces a defining moment.
“We have some challenges,” Bodnar began. “We have some decisions that we have to make. We have seen some declines in enrollment and the budget challenges that go with that. We’ve been going through a process of assessing our offerings and the sustainability of those offerings, and those challenges are real. We’ve seen cuts at this university.”
Pressed on the question of specific cuts in programs and classes, Bodnar was clear.
“We are not going to do across the board, systematic, non strategic cuts.,” he said. That’s why I’ve asked the UPC, which I will chair, but it’s not just me, that we are going to lay out a clear strategic plan, and decide this is what we’re going to do, and this is not what we’re going to do.”
The West Point grad Bodnar addressed the issue of how to implement the inevitable cuts in programs and classes that will eventually have to be made.
“If decisions are made around program moratoriums, they will be taught out,” he said. “But, we need to give clarity to both to prospective students and people who will be working with programs that have been in an uncertain status, this is the direction the university is headed, and if that involves potentially programs being put into a moratorium status, that people have time to make decisions.”
For fiscal year 2018 with projected enrollment of 9,710 and total state and tuition revenue of $128, compared to expenditures of $131.5 million, that leaves a deficit of $3.5 million.
Bodnar said the ‘strategic prioritization’ will include an emphasis on recruiting and retention, a clear, intentional strategy along with structural alignment and simplification through fiscal year 2022 to bring expenditures and revenue into balance.