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President Nick J. Bruno

2014 Dear Colleagues E-mails

September 25, 2014

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

As a result of the reorganization undertaken last year which reduced our academic and operational structure as well as a better overall state budget, I am happy to inform you that I will be requesting approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors at the October meeting to implement a salary adjustment plan.

As employees of ULM you have remained committed to our mission while assuming additional responsibilities due to reductions in faculty and staff.  This adjustment is the first in nearly six years!  It is well deserved and overdue but not nearly as much as I would like. 

 

Following are the details of the plan that will be submitted to the board. 

 

  1. Classified employees will be provided a salary adjustment in accordance with Civil Service guidelines. These will be effective 10/1. (Board approval not required)
  2. Every unclassified employee ( including faculty), having served 1 year before 7/1/14,  will receive a $1,500 one-time, non-recurring salary supplement.
  3. Unclassified employees (including faculty) with a four year degree whose current salary is below $35,000 will be adjusted to $35,000.
  4. There will be a retention pool totaling $120,000 budgeted for the remainder of this year.  These funds will be utilized to address market and organizational issues in facilitation of our strategic plan.
     
  5. Adjustments will be effective 11/1 following Board approval.  One-time payments will be made by mid-November.
  6. Contract employees will not be subject to these adjustments.
  7. Employees funded from non-operating budgets (auxiliary, grants, restricted etc.) will be subject to available funds.

 

I want to thank each and every one of you for what you have and continue to do for our students.  ULM is receiving the recognition it finally deserves and it is due to all of your efforts. 

If you know of employees who do not have access to email, please provide them a copy of this correspondence.

Go Warhawks!

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


September 10, 2014

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to share this story with all of you.  This recognition is due to your efforts on behalf of our students.  This recognizes the quality of our faculty, staff and students who are part of our great university. 

Congratulations and thank you.

ULM named top tier regional university

U.S. News and World Report has ranked the University of Louisiana at Monroe in the top tier for southern universities as part of its 2015 “Best Regional Universities” ranking.

• ULM was the highest ranked public Louisiana institution in the list for southern universities at 81,

• Ranking included scores on freshman retention, graduation rate, student/faculty ratio, entrance exam scores,

• ULM has received rankings for its education programs, nursing offerings, and its online education and business programs.

 

It was the highest ranked public Louisiana institution in the list for southern universities at 81. An accompanying list was released, which ranked only the state-supported public schools in the region. ULM came in at number 39 in the South for public universities and was again the highest ranked Louisiana institution.

"I am very pleased that the hard work and commitment of our faculty and staff continues to be recognized," said ULM President Dr. Nick J. Bruno.

"Several years ago we established a path we would follow to recruit the best academically prepared students and highlight the quality of academic offerings. In addition, we value the efforts made by our faculty and staff to make our students feel comfortable at ULM while securing a degree that has value in the workforce."

The ranking included scores on freshman retention, graduation rate, student/faculty ratio, entrance exam scores, acceptance rates, faculty resources, and counselor assessment among others.

U.S. News and World Report defines a regional university as an institution that provides a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs, with fewer doctoral programs.

Since 1983, U.S. News and World Report has ranked institutions based on the Carnegie Classification, created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. These schools are ranked regionally because of their high student population from surrounding states. The southern region includes Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

In U.S. News and World Report’s “ranking indicators”— the statistics used to compile the ranking—ULM had one of the highest percentages of freshman students ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class — 50 percent.

In recent years, ULM has received rankings from U.S. News World and Report for its education programs, nursing offerings, and its online education and business programs—both graduate and undergraduate.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


August 1, 2014

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

As a result of your commitment to ULM, we have successfully traversed an extended period of financial challenges.   Many difficult decisions which have allowed us to remain strong were made and have resulted in ULM being on a firm foundation for growth.   Fortunately we begin this fiscal year without need to explore areas to facilitate cuts.  I want to thank our governor and legislators for recognizing the need for a strong, stable higher education system.

While we are stable, we cannot be complacent in our goal to continue to make ULM the best it can be.  More than ever, high ability students are choosing ULM as their university of choice.  Your hard work and the quality of our programs are now being recognized throughout the state, region and country. 

We must now seize the opportunity to build upon the work we have done.

Our first major initiative will be improving student retention.  Every university experiences students not finishing their studies with a degree and the reasons are varied.  Reasons include financial, family challenges, their health or that of a family member, and life.   Assisting students from freshman year to graduation is not only a moral obligation that we take on when we accept a student but also a financial necessity of our university as well.

Student tuition comprises 65% of our total revenues in this year’s operating budget.   As a university we lose over $7,000 for each student who drops out for whatever reason.   It is generally accepted that state funding will not return to the levels of the past; therefore, we have become more and more dependent upon tuition.  To continue to grow and maintain financial stability we must retain more students. 

A plan to improve our student retention has been formulated.  Every faculty and staff member can contribute to this plan.  My goal for improving our retention is a modest increase of 5% over the next two years.   This plan consists of three parts.

 

  1. Excellent Academic Advising. We will go beyond scheduling next semester’s courses and consider each student’s unique circumstances, effectively guiding them to achieve their aspirations.
  2. Excellent Core Course Success. We will be scholars in learning, seeking the pedagogy that maximizes student success in a content-rich environment.
  3. Excellent Student Services. We will exceed people’s minimum expectation and surprise them with respectful individual treatment.  Each student will feel at home and welcomed at this university. While we currently receive much praise for the work we already do in this area, there is room to grow.

 

There is much more information to come from each department head in the next days and weeks. This is a serious undertaking that will make a major difference in the growth of ULM.  I will continue to commit my energy in the promotion and growth of ULM.  I am asking that you join me in making this plan a success.   Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


May 29, 2014

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Allow me the opportunity to inform you about a new initiative in keeping with our strategic plan’s long-term objectives of financial sustainability and new revenue streams.

Strategic growth of online enrollment will help ULM achieve these objectives and expand our regional impact.  The population of traditional college students in our area is declining and has been forecasted to remain low for the foreseeable future.  Relying solely on that population will result in further downsizing, something none of us want. 

The establishment of the eULM office as a central point for online activities earlier this year and the naming of Paula Thornhill as its director were our initial steps in growing our online enrollment.  Paula has been developing a plan to achieve this growth based on best practices.  When I first arrived, I asked Dr. Ron Berry to head a committee to assess our processes in the development, delivery and services related to our on-line programs and courses.  With those findings as a guide, a task force from all divisions of the university has been formed to move a plan for growth of our on-line programs forward.  The factor most influential in determining where a student enrolls in an online program is the ease with which they can navigate the processes involved.  An 8-week model for registration, enrollment, and instruction is preferred by online students, so the  task force is charged with making this happen for eULM (formerly GOLD) programs by Spring 2015. 

We expect that enrollment in eULM programs will grow significantly over the next several years, especially with the good publicity ULM has received recently for its academic quality.  I want to assure you that this growth will not be at the expense of our quality.  

eULM has two advantages at the state and national levels and we will use them to our benefit: no other university in the state uses this model for their online programs and our tuition and fees will be significantly less than many providers of online programs. 

Some of the revenue produced by eULM growth will be invested in the infrastructure needed to support those programs.  Faculty, advisors, financial aid counselors, registrars, and others will be hired to make sure our processes work well.  But I expect that, even with our lower tuition rate, funds will also be available for investing in our face-to-face programs and the rest of the campus. 

I have repeatedly stated that we must seize every opportunity available to help ourselves given that we continue to face the State’s economic challenges.  The growth of our on-line programs is one such prospect. 

As we advance our strategic plan, I want to make sure you are informed of our upcoming efforts. Please look for additional emails from me as developments occur and thank you for the work that you do.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


April 11, 2014

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Kiwana Sutton in public information provided me this link today regarding ULM being recognized as the most underrated university in Louisiana.

As president I have said many times we are the best kept secret in Louisiana.  It is through your work and dedication that such recognitions occur.

I am proud of ULM employee that works at this great university. Spread the word! 

More information can be found at ulm.edu/news/2014/0414-underrated.html  

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


 

February 5, 2014                                                                                                             Notification to campus about Don Smith, Dean of the Library, to be SACSCOC Liaison

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

The university’s last reaffirmation by SACSCOC took place in 1999.  Since that time the Fifth‐Year Interim Report was developed to respond to the U.S. Department of Education’s requirements (1) that accrediting bodies continuously monitor institutions to ensure compliance and (2) that accrediting bodies have a mechanism for reviewing multiple sites initiated since last reaffirmation.

I have named Don Smith, Dean of the Library, to be our SACSCOC Liaison.  In that capacity he will oversee the collection of information and the preparation of the fifth-year report.  Since this is an activity that cannot be performed by one person, Dean Smith will be creating a committee to help in managing the process. 

Everyone at the university is doing so much, but you may be asked to do more.  He will be contacting various individuals over the next few weeks to serve on the coordinating committee.  Others will be contacted to participate on sub-groups to collect and draft reports supporting the abbreviated compliance certification.

A copy of what is expected of each institution’s report can be found at http://www.sacscoc.org/FifthYear.asp . 

I want to thank in advance those of you who will be in contacted and asked to participate in the very important activity.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President

 


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