Staff assembly briefs university employees

Last Friday, Feb. 14, in the Stieren Theatre, a staff assembly was held in which Trinity administration updated the faculty and staff on the state of the university.

Dennis Ahlburg, university president,  began the assembly by commenting on enrollment. According to Ahlburg, there was a downturn in applications last year, but, applications are currently up by 20 percent. He expressed hope that this trend continues.

“It’s about getting those students who have shown interest in Trinity and making sure that they have a good experience here,” Ahlburg said. “We need to make them feel the excellence that is Trinity University.”

He also announced that the university will now be closed on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Next, Michael Fischer, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, commented on the newly instated curriculum change and the Strategic Plan. According to Fischer, the faculty assembly’s vote on Feb. 7 made for the first wholesale revision of the curriculum in 25 years, and it will go into effect in fall of 2015.

“As we begin implementing the curriculum, we continue to implement the strategic plan,” Fischer said.

He went on to explain that there are currently five task forces working on aspects of the strategic plan, including: experiential learning, integrative marketing, international citizenship, student success and advising and a review of academic affairs and administrative structure. According to Fischer, he and Lisa Jasinski, special projects coordinator, will present the conclusions of these task forces to the board of trustees and then begin forming new task forces.

Gary Logan, vice president for finance and administration, discussed Trinity’s sustained AA credit rating. According to Logan, last February the board of trustees authorized a retirement plan committee due to recent law changes.

“This is not an administrative committee,” Logan said. “It has a fiduciary responsibility to act solely in the best interest of the retirees on the plan.”

Town halls will be held in the upcoming months to inform faculty and staff of possible changes to the retirement plan. Logan went on to discuss upcoming projects, including the tentative renovation of Murchison Hall this summer as well as requests to the board of trustees for the preliminary designs for the McFarlin Complex and Coates University Center. The final budget for the  2014-2015 academic year will be presented this upcoming May, and Logan is projecting a balanced budget.

Following Logan, Charles White, vice president for information resources, communications and marketing, discussed the integrated marketing plan, beginning with the launch of the new website and continuing with the distribution of  marketing information cards, essentially summarizing the marketing campaign for Trinity.

“Each of you in this room is an ambassador for the campus,” White said. “The biggest challenge is getting everyone on the same page in terms of messaging.”

According to White, these cards continue an initiative to synchronize Trinity’s message. He continued by mentioning new rollouts for the website, including a higher emphasis on internal messaging, updating the search feature and a new portal.

Lastly, Lisa Boronio, vice president for alumni relations and development, commented on Duckapalooza. According to Boronio, on Feb. 27 between 3 and 5 pm there will be a lottery-like drawing of the ducks from Miller Fountain for prizes. She went on to show the faculty and staff the video “What does the duck say?,” which was followed by Logan tossing  complimentary tiger ducks. The assembly concluded with a short question-and-answer session.