Last year was a budget-cutting, belt-tightening exercise, but Vicky Carwein, chancellor at IPFW, had some "cautious good news" to report at her state of the campus address Monday.
Speaking to returning staff and faculty members during the annual fall convocation, Carwein said a one-time $2 million 2013 legislative allocation that IPFW was given to help to cover the $4 million budget deficit has been approved by Purdue to become an annual part of IPFW's budget planning going forward, pending a 2015 legislature vote. Purdue governs the Fort Wayne campus, which has more than13,400 students at 2101 Coliseum Blvd. E.
For the first time last year a campuswide budget committee was created, and Carwein said for the first time in many years a balanced budget was achieved.
"IPFW's graduation completion rate last year was 51 percent. This is the highest of all eight regional campuses in the state," Carwein said.
This year the focus will be on the strategic plan 2020. In order to help IPFW achieve its universitywide goals Carwein said they have created the University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP). This consists of 24 members of both faculty and staff members who are working together to produce recommendations on how to better align university resources based on data. This process includes multiple steps such as a common set of performance metrics for all academic and non-academic units, gathering data from Institutional Research, human resources and financial services about their student body. The USAP team has a website so that what they are doing will be transparent for the rest of the staff.
In regards to athletics, the chancellor has asked Stan Davis, interim vice chancellor for financial affairs at IPFW, and another staff member to work with the Athletic Department to study ways to effectively reduce the subsidies given to it.
They will look at revenues, expenses, structure, students success and community involvement as well as using information from USAP to inform their financial impact, their enrollment impact and NCAA implications of the options they propose.
"Our student athletes have and continue to be students first and have unquestionably demonstrated excellence in academic performance as well as on the fields. Whatever the decisions to move forward to reduce the subsidies to the athletics department, first and foremost the education and welfare of our students will be our first concern and primary focus," Carwein said.
Carwein also touched on the recently released study by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, and briefly restated the points she had made in a release to the faculty Aug. 14, changes would include: "academic autonomy at the graduate level equal to what we have at the undergraduate level; designation as a multi-system, comprehensive institution; substantive increase in our base funding as well as changes in performance funding metrics to increase alignment with our mission; a culture of substantive collaboration resulting in tangible academic and economic benefits for northeast Indiana."
Carwein said she would keep the faculty updated as more information becomes available.
Carwein said IPFW would be asking for an estimated $10 million in the next annual budget. She noted over the past several years funding from the state has decreased while baccalaureate recipients have increased. The current gap between the number of degrees awarded and the amount of funding IPFW gets from the state is currently being calculated.
"Making progress in closing this gap is our No. 1 priority," Carwein said.