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From the President's Desk - Blog

From the President's Desk - Blog

Building for the Future

September 24, 2012

More than $50 million in construction and renovation projects are underway on campus. Add that to the recently completed $17.8 million Shearman Fine Arts Building Annex, the $10.5 million expansion and renovation to the Jack V. Doland Field House, a $1.3 million project to revitalize and update the Quad and the acquisition of the old Charles Cinema property on Sale Road, and you have quite a campus makeover!
A question that I am frequently asked is "How can McNeese afford to have so many construction projects underway?" The simple answer is that each of these projects has been fully funded almost entirely outside our operating budget. 
For example, the new parking garage resulted from a vote of the students, who agreed to tax themselves to the tune of $75 per semester in order to enhance pedestrian safety and reduce parking problems.  This three-story facility will hold 880 vehicles and will be equipped with the latest technology including LED lighting, a top-of-the-line security system and digital counters on each level to tell students how many parking spots are still available.
The new SEED Center, which is scheduled for completion in March, was funded with grants from the parish and fro

McNeese's response to shrinking appropriations

August 13, 2012

In the past year it has been no secret that McNeese has faced a significant reduction in appropriations.  As the nation and our state of Louisiana have felt the strain of difficult economic times, higher education has particularly been affected by the shortage of state funding.  This year, we will be facing an even greater reduction in funds than the one we faced last year - about $4.7 million dollars in cuts.  

The hard truth is that now and in the future, higher education institutions will have to find ways to do more with less.  The environment is changing, and in order to survive these economic challenges McNeese has no choice but to adapt and take steps to cut costs to make up for the multi-million dollar cut in revenues.  

One action we are talking to reduce costs is reorganization.  Last year we reorganized administrative services in a manner that reduced our salary and benefit expenses, especially at the Senior Staff level.  This year, we are forced to reorganize yet again.   
In addition, the budgets for each department will have to scale back budget lines relating to supplies, travel and other discretionary areas.  Unfortunately, employee salaries will remain frozen d

Our Collective Vision and Goals

August 7, 2012

Based upon all of the observations and analyses described in my previous blog installments, we arrive at the following vision statement as a guide to McNeese operations for the five-year period beginning in January 2013:

Through the promotion of innovative teaching and learning methodologies, regional partnerships, service-learning opportunities, applied research, cultural engagement, and athletic excellence, McNeese will play an active leadership role in the civic and economic renaissance likely to transform Southwest Louisiana over the next five years.

This vision can be achieved through the application of the following goals, each followed by a set of specific objectives designed to achieve that particular goal.  The objectives are written using broad, aspirational language, with the understanding that the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, in collaboration with Academic and Student Affairs administration, the Faculty Senate, and the Student Government Administration (SGA), will establish measurable outcome indicators and suggested timelines for each objective.  These will be placed in the form of recommendations to be submitted to my office no later than Fall Commencement in December of this year (2012).  It is my hope that the re

SWOT Analysis - Part 2 and Hedgehog Analysis

July 11, 2012

In my last post, I introduced SWOT analysis and discussed how we are using this method in our strategic planning process. We took a look at the general strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that were inferred from your answers to our Strategic Planning Questions.  (You can read the full Part 1 post here.)  Today, I'd like to share with you a few connections between some of our strengths and opportunities and between some of our weaknesses and threats, and the bigger picture implications of these findings.  

Matching Strengths with Opportunities
One intersection between McNeese's strengths and opportunities is located where the strong McNeese motto ("Excellence with a Personal Touch") might be used to foster innovative academic methods; e.g. the new Innovation Engineering™ curriculum, clicker technology, custom-designed certificate training programs, and distance learning initiatives.  A second intersection can be found where the establishment of the SEED Center and McNeese's strong relationships with regional partners might be expanded through new collaborative ventures with the SWLA Alliance (including all of its business, civic, and governmental members), Sowela Technic

SWOT Analysis - Part 1

June 12, 2012

If you've been following this blog, you know that I've been promising a "SWOT analysis" in regard to our strategic planning questions and answers.  This type of analysis is quite common in the business world, but it is also commonly used in strategic planning by governmental and charitable organizations.  The letters S-W-O-T stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  The first two of these-strengths and weaknesses-can be viewed as internal traits of an organization.  Generally these are organizational features over which the organization has a measure of control.  The second two traits-opportunities and threats-can be viewed as external, and typically include events or circumstances over which the organization may have little or no control.  Opportunities and threats may arise unexpectedly and without warning.

The best managed organizations are constantly engaged in various forms of SWOT-related activities, even when these activities are called by other names.  For example, the typical exercise of evaluating employees on an annual basis is one way in which an organization can assess internal strengths and weaknesses relating to its personnel.  Similarly in the world of higher education, the periodic revie