Moving forward: The University addresses its challenges

Monday, January 12, 2009

President Earl H. Potter III addresses faculty and staff Jan. 9, 2009, in Ritsche Auditorium

President Earl H. Potter III addresses faculty and staff Jan. 9, 2009, in Ritsche Auditorium.

President Earl H. Potter III addresses faculty and staff Jan. 9, 2009, in Ritsche Auditorium Jane Olsen, co-chair of the Diversity Task Force, shares remarks with employees Dan Gregory, co-chair of the Budget Advisory Group, reported on budget cuts David Warne, a leader of the Foundations of Excellence Steering Committee, provided comic relief with his take on the Class of 2012 

ST. CLOUD, Minn. - President Earl H. Potter III told employees Jan. 9 that sacrifice, flexibility, creativity and innovation will be essential elements in St. Cloud State University's response to budget, alcohol, diversity and sustainability challenges.

"We have every indication that the coming months will be a time of sacrifice," Potter said to a Ritsche Auditorium audience. "But we will continue to provide opportunity for our students and continue to make a difference."

View the prepared text of Potter's remarks. View streaming video of remarks by Potter and others, which were part of January Faculty Days.

St. Cloud State will be:

  • Absorbing budget cuts so the state can erase its $5.2 billion shortfall.
  • Teaming with the community in a coalition to fight alcohol abuse.
  • Continuing efforts to create a welcoming campus for people of all backgrounds and beliefs.
  • Improving ecological sustainability.


St. Cloud State is cutting $1.6 million from this year's budget. A second and larger budget cut is expected after the 2009 legislative session ends in May. It will come just as more out-of-work, nontraditional students enroll at St. Cloud State seeking new careers and better futures, according to Potter.

"I am confident you will be significant role models for these students," Potter said.

Dan Gregory, co-chair of the Budget Advisory Group, said a fiscal-year 2010 draft budget will be distributed to employees and students for comment sometime this spring. Gregory is a professor of chemistry.

Learn more about the university's budget reserves and scenarios for the 2010-2011 biennium on the Budget Planning Web site. The site also has a form for making budget suggestions.

Alcohol Abuse

Potter foresees the formation this spring of a coalition to fight alcohol abuse. The coalition would include leaders from the university, city, law enforcement, bar owners, landlords and students.

"This is a community issue, not just a university problem," Potter said.


A Diversity Task Force formed in 2008 will soon involve the campus in developing a new Diversity Plan. The most recent action to improve diversity was the choice of search firms to help fill two administrative positions. Potter said the university chose firms that generate diverse candidate pools and have had success helping institutions increase the diversity of their senior leadership. One of those firms, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, is miniority- and female-owned.

The positions to be filled are vice president of academic affairs and vice president of university advancement.

"I think the final thing is the care that we give to the applicants that come to our campus, and the way they are treated, and by the encouragement we give them to consider us," Potter said.  

Jane Olsen and Shahzad Ahmad chair the task force. Olsen is director of the Women's Center. Ahmad is director of Multicultural Services.


A Sustainability Task Force is examining ecological sustainability in the areas of energy reduction, transportation, buildings and grounds, resource reduction and reuse, pollution reduction, purchasing and food service. Changing the campus culture through education and communication will be key, said Bouffard, associate director of Atwood Memorial Center.

Among the specific initiatives will be improved campus-wide recycling, according to Bouffard. Bouffard, Kurt Helgeson and Michner Bender are among the leaders of the task force. Helgeson is interim associate dean for the College of Science and Engineering. Bender is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Technological Studies.

On a lighter note, Dave Warne's comments on efforts to aide first-year students included a funny take on how the Class of 2012 differs from the rest of us. Warne is a leader of the Foundations of Excellence Steering Committee and an assistant professor of communication studies. Listen to his remarks in the audio player above.

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