Tuesday, February 10, 2009

President Wright Blitzes Out to Campus

Unlike the weekly lost apparel blitzes, Wright blitzed this one out to alums and parents too. In the e-mails, found after the jump, Wright describes what changes are being made to cope with the economic recession and constantly reminds us how difficult it was to eliminate wasteful jobs and leave people out of jobs.


The e-mail to the students:
>From: "President James Wright"
>Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 11:10:47 EST
>Subject: A message to the Dartmouth Community
>To: All Students:;

Dear Members of the Dartmouth Community:

I want to share with you the strategic steps Dartmouth is taking to respond to the international economic crisis. As we reported in the fall, a main source of revenue - the investment return on our endowment, which accounts for about 35 percent of the operating budget - has declined along with the stock market. Philanthropy has also declined, as individuals, foundations and corporations have felt the effects of the recession. To keep our costs in line with our reduced income in the current economic environment, Dartmouth needed to accomplish the difficult task of cutting $72 million from our $700 million budget including the professional schools over the next two fiscal years. We have reduced the $450 million College-only budget (excluding the professional schools) by $35 million in fiscal year 2010, for a cumulative total of $47 million in reductions through fiscal year 2011.

Approving these reductions, especially those affecting staff employees, has been one of the most difficult decisions of my presidency, but they are necessary to maintain Dartmouth's strength and advance our academic mission. This past weekend, met with the Board of Trustees to review how we will cut costs and reduce our budget, and they have endorsed our overall plan. Budget reductions at the Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business are included in this plan. Dartmouth Medical School continues to work on a new strategic plan and consequently will finalize its budgetary adjustments at a later date.

In making targeted reductions, we have been guided by our commitment to protect the excellence of our academic programs, for undergraduates as well as our graduate and professional school students. We will continue to provide support for faculty and student research and scholarship. Dartmouth is committed to providing access for the best students regardless of their financial means. We are delaying construction projects, reorganizing services, reducing activities and reorganizing responsibilities in a number of areas, and pursuing opportunities for additional efficiency and innovation. Because compensation is such a significant portion of our budget, we also needed to achieve substantial reductions there.

Last fall, to minimize layoffs, we implemented a freeze on external hires and new positions, instituting a rigorous central review of any proposed refilling of vacancies; following suggestions from employees, we initiated an incentive program for voluntary retirement and are reducing work hours where operations permit. Going forward, we also will not increase salaries and wages next year - except for adjustments for faculty promotion and tenure, a $1,000 supplement for full-time employees earning $50,000 or less and adjustments for union employees who have a contract extending until the end of June of 2010. (The Medical School will be making independent decisions on these matters and announcing them separately.) Employees electing early retirement and vacant positions created by the hiring freeze did enable us to make some reductions by eliminating positions. Nonetheless, to meet our financial challenges, we still will need to lay off 60 staff employees and 28 employees will work reduced hours as a result of operational decisions.

The deans and vice presidents agonized over identifying positions to be eliminated. It provides little comfort to know we reduced the number of layoffs through other savings. Starting today, division and department heads will be meeting with the staff members whose jobs are affected. We will be doing our best to offer personal and economic support during this difficult transition by providing a financial package that honors years of service, a subsidy for health insurance, career and other counseling services, extension of eligibility to participate in housing and childcare programs, and consideration as internal candidates for any open positions.

These plans, which are described in more detail in the accompanying letter from Provost Barry Scherr and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Adam Keller, were developed by Dartmouth's senior officers in consultation with others in their areas and with the appropriate faculty and student committees. Our plans for current and future budget savings reflect the many thoughtful suggestions shared by members of the Dartmouth community. I want to thank all who participated in this process, and all who will be engaged in implementing these changes, for your professionalism and concern for Dartmouth's long-term best interests.

We all regret the impact these reductions will have on our colleagues. I am confident, however, that with these changes Dartmouth is positioned well for the future. These steps are necessary to protect resources that provide an unparalleled educational experience, inside and outside the classroom, for all who come here to teach and learn and for the continuing employees who sustain the work of Dartmouth, both now and in the future.

Dartmouth "educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge." This is our mission, and it is protected and advanced by staff who care deeply about the College. Indeed, maintaining this ambition has always required the commitment of many. We will need your continued assistance, whether that is demonstrated by your initiative and creativity, your understanding of the need to reconfigure services, your patience with the need to limit compensation and defer some institutional goals, your generous contributions of time and effort as volunteers, or your faithful and increasingly critical financial support. The College has weathered challenges before and, thanks to the community that sustains it, will emerge stronger than ever. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Sincerely,

James Wright
President, Dartmouth College


The e-mail to alums and parents:
From:
Date: Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 12:02 PM
Subject: A message to the Dartmouth Community
To: alums-and-parents-announce@locum.dartmouth.edu


Dear Members of the Dartmouth Community:

I want to share with you the strategic steps Dartmouth is taking to respond to the international economic crisis. As we reported in the fall, a main source of revenue - the investment return on our endowment, which accounts for about 35 percent of the operating budget - has declined along with the stock market. Philanthropy has also declined, as
individuals, foundations and corporations have felt the effects of the recession.

To keep our costs in line with our reduced income in the current economic environment, Dartmouth needed to accomplish the difficult task of cutting $72 million from our $700 million budget including the professional schools over the next two fiscal
years. We have reduced the $450 million College-only budget (excluding the professional schools) by $35 million in fiscal year 2010, for a cumulative total of $47 million in reductions through fiscal year 2011.

Approving these reductions, especially those affecting staff employees, has been one of the most difficult decisions of my presidency, but they are necessary to maintain Dartmouth's strength and advance our academic mission. This past weekend, I met with the Board of Trustees to review how we will cut costs and reduce our budget, and they have endorsed our overall plan. Budget reductions at the Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business are included in this plan. Dartmouth Medical School continues to work on a new strategic plan and consequently will finalize its budgetary adjustments at a later date.

In making targeted reductions, we have been guided by our commitment to protect the excellence of our academic programs, for undergraduates as well as our graduate and professional school students. We will continue to provide support for faculty and student research and scholarship. Dartmouth is committed to providing access for the best students regardless of their financial means. We are delaying construction projects, reorganizing services, reducing activities and reorganizing responsibilities in a number of areas, and pursuing opportunities for additional efficiency and innovation. Because
compensation is such a significant portion of our budget, we also needed to achieve substantial reductions there.

Last fall, to minimize layoffs, we implemented a freeze on external hires and new positions, instituting a rigorous central review of any proposed refilling of vacancies; following suggestions from employees, we initiated an incentive program for voluntary retirement and are reducing work hours where operations permit. Going forward, we also will not increase salaries and wages next year - except for adjustments for faculty promotion and tenure, a $1,000 supplement for full-time employees earning $50,000 or less and adjustments for union employees who have a contract extending until the end of June of 2010. (The Medical School will be making independent decisions on these matters and announcing them separately.) Employees electing early retirement and vacant positions created by the hiring freeze did enable us to make some reductions by eliminating positions. Nonetheless, to meet our financial challenges, we still will need to lay off 60 staff employees and 28 employees will work reduced hours as a result of operational decisions.

The deans and vice presidents agonized over identifying positions to be eliminated. It provides little comfort to know we reduced the number of layoffs through other savings. Starting today, division and department heads will be meeting with the staff members whose jobs are affected. We will be doing our best to offer personal and economic support during
this difficult transition by providing a financial package that honors years of service, a subsidy for health insurance, career and other counseling services, extension of eligibility to participate in housing and childcare programs, and consideration as internal candidates for any open positions.

These plans, which are described in more detail in the accompanying summary from Provost Barry Scherr and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Adam Keller, were developed by Dartmouth's senior officers in consultation with others in their areas and with the appropriate faculty and student committees. Our plans for current and future budget savings reflect the many thoughtful suggestions shared by members of the Dartmouth community. I want to thank all who participated in this process, and all who will be engaged in implementing these changes, for your professionalism and concern for Dartmouth's long- term best interests.

We all regret the impact these reductions will have on our colleagues. I am confident, however, that with these changes Dartmouth is positioned well for the future. These steps are necessary to protect resources that provide an unparalleled educational experience, inside and outside the classroom, for all who come here to teach and learn and for the continuing employees who sustain the work of Dartmouth, both now and in the future.

Dartmouth "educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge." This is our mission, and it is protected and advanced by staff who care deeply about the College. Indeed, maintaining this ambition has always required the commitment of many. We will need your continued assistance, whether that is demonstrated by your initiative and creativity, your understanding of the need to reconfigure services, your patience with the need to limit compensation and defer some institutional goals, your generous contributions of time and effort as volunteers, or your faithful and increasingly critical financial support. The College has weathered challenges before and, thanks to the community that sustains it, will emerge stronger than ever. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Sincerely,

James Wright

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