|What's next in bricks and mortar?
And lo, the Science addition was finished, and it was good. And on the eighth day we asked: um, what's next? Actually, we've been considering it for a couple of years. We don't know the sequence of building projects yet, or the timeline, but discussion is happening from the Board of Trustees level on down. Right now we're focusing on the functionality of a student center – where those functions could occur, some of which might be in a new big box and others of which might be in existing under-used spaces on campus.
Hey! I'll teach a J term course down there
We're considering our first out-of-state campus, in Peoria, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix. We're in discussions with local governments as well as potential educational partners to take some of our nursing, health science and education programs there. Nothing's finalized, but it's beyond the blue-sky brainstorming phase. Stay tuned.
A view toward vendors
We're looking for ways to operate more efficiently and provide cost savings to students. That was behind our change to a virtual bookstore, which allows much broader choices in terms of textbooks. This change allowed us to successfully launch the opening of our Saints Shop, through which we can bring in new vendors with lower pricing and more options for the community. We're now exploring the option of outsourcing Food Service to see if there would be financial and service advantages, while still maintaining our commitment to the staff and our standards for quality.
And in the IT realm…
Banner, our Student Information System (SIS), has been acquired by a group of investors that hold a major share in a competitive SIS, resulting in a new company called Ellucian. We're seeing changes, not all of them favorable. Ellucian will no longer develop and enhance Banner Relationship Management (BRM). We implemented BRM 2 ½ years ago and had planned for it to be the College's Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) for recruits and students. We'll spend the next several months looking at alternatives and developing a new CRM strategy.
Our web welcome mat
The marketing team has freshened up admissions program-level pages and redesigned the School of Health Sciences' academic pages (to debut shortly). A new home page in development has two salient elements: more directed navigation to better serve external audiences including prospective students, alumni and donors, and a feature component that portrays our Benedictine values in action via students, faculty, staff, alumni or friends. Look for it in January, before the start of spring semester.
Don't be late – initiate
Budget managers, new initiatives are due next week. True, there isn't a lot of free-floating cash in the budget for the foreseeable future. Equally true: we want to see your ideas. If they're strong enough we're going to figure out how to afford to do them. Don't forget, new initiatives can result in cost savings too, or have a revenue-generating component. So don't self-censor.
Up to speed with ADA
In conjunction with the College's commitment to diversity and to assure our compliance with federal law, we're crafting a new school policy regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. It sets a framework for how we make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. The doc will be widely available when it's finished; there'll be some training opportunities as well.
Get the 'Complete' skinny
Keep up to date on our new pathway for adult learners, CSS Complete, at complete.css.edu. We've earned media in Inside Higher Ed and on Minnesota Public Radio, and expect more soon in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and Duluth News Tribune.
The Last Word
President's Staff starts every meeting with a prayer or spiritual reflection. Our favorite in recent weeks was offered by Beth Domholdt from "The Benedictine Handbook." This prayer followed Psalm 120 ("I lift up my eyes to the mountains: from where shall come my help?")
Almighty and merciful God,
You grant us rest amidst our labors;
Make good our defects,
And bring all things to that fulfillment
Which best accords with your will.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the spirit of hospitality, we invite your comments and questions. Click here.
||It's benefits open enrollment season. If you want to make any changes you need to do it by midnight Nov. 30 at cor.css.edu.
||Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!