Dean's Newsletter

Volume 11, Issue 4

A Newsletter for Faculty & Staff in the
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 4

Reflecting on the ups and downs of university budgets at the last CLASS faculty meeting, I recalled the passage from the Book of Genesis where Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream, which prophesied seven years of feast followed by seven years of famine for Egypt. My experience as dean has taught me that university budget cycles tend to be like that: times of relative plenty are followed by times of budget constraints, which, in turn, give way to new periods of renewed resources. And so, after several years of relative plenty, we at CSU are now once again in a time of, if not famine, at least belt-tightening. It started in the fall when the university was unable to return all the college’s carry-forward from last year, and it will continue into the next year.

Part of this situation flows from several years of no tuition increases, and part flows from recent university enrollments that fell below our budgeted targets. In addition, if the governor’s budget is passed, CSU is facing not only two more years of flat tuition rates but also levels of state funding that, in the next biennium, will almost be flat.

As a result, the university has just enacted expenditure controls, which will constrain our spending for the rest of the fiscal year in order to address our budget shortfall. Although we are allowed to continue current faculty searches, hiring for staff has been frozen—no new staff searches will be allowed without a special exemption. In addition, the university is taking back 10% out of many (but not all) non-salary budget lines. The cuts will be inconvenient, but they will not be seriously harmful to the college. AAUP faculty travel monies, scholarship lines, summer undergraduate research awards, cost share accounts, FSI and FRD awards will not, for example, be cut.

For now, the only way to relieve some of the financial pressure is to recruit more and retain more CSU students. Although most of us are not directly involved with recruiting, we can have a direct impact on retention by redoubling our efforts in support of student success. For those of you who do not yet use the Starfish system to alert advisors about struggling students in your classes, learning about and using that software might be the best first step you can take in helping us in our retention efforts.

I am happy that I can also report some good news about resources. Last December I wrote to you about the importance of global education for CLASS students. One of the big hurdles our students face is, of course, the challenge of paying for study abroad. In the past, we have used various scholarship funds to help subsidize student travel to one of the summer programs offered by the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. But today we have yet another resource to help finance this “high impact” educational practice for our students. Alumnus Bill Roberts (B.A. 1969; M.A. 1978) has just given a $52,500 gift to CLASS, which will create the William H. Roberts Study Abroad Scholarship fund. This is not an endowment, and it will allow us to award a scholarship of $10,000 to one student each year for five years to fund semester-long or year-long study abroad opportunities, particularly those in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. The first of these will be awarded for the 2017-2018 academic year, and application details will soon be available on our CLASS Scholarships page: The remaining $2,500 will be used to help subsidize students who are traveling this summer for our study-abroad program in Grenada, Spain.

As with all our donors, we are very grateful to Mr. Roberts for his extraordinary generosity to the college and its students.

On another topic, the Michael Schwartz Library has reported that CLASS scholars on our website “EngagedScholarship@CSU” were recently some of the most popular authors on the national “Arts and Humanities Commons.” We excelled in the areas of Oral History; Race, Ethnicity, and Post-Colonial Studies; and Spanish Linguistics. In particular, I would like to congratulate Antonio Medina-Rivera, Mark Souther, Erin Bell, and Adrienne Gosselin for their publications that helped make this possible.

In addition, I note that several of our faculty have recently received significant grants.  Cyleste Collins, for example, was awarded a $10,400 grant from Case Western Reserve University for a project entitled “Partnering for Family Success Process Evaluation.”  Cathleen Lewandowski received a $49,000 grant from Bellefaire, among the nation’s largest child service agencies. Finally, Cigdem Slankard was awarded a $7,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation for her project “The Dream Neighborhood Documentary Project.”

Lounge1I conclude by sharing with you that CLASS has been recognized with a 2017 Silver ADDY Award by the Cleveland Chapter of the American Advertising Federation. The award recognizes our work in the creation of the CLASS Edge Lounge in Main Classroom, which promotes liberal education in general and degree programs in CLASS in particular. Because we were recognized at the silver level, our project will advance to the district level competitions. This was truly a team accomplishment, and I would like to thank the following people who helped make the Lounge possible: Hilary Demko, David Roll, Stephanie Harper, Evan Lieberman, Eric Yates (Moody Nolan Architects), Tim Dardy (Wojcik Builders), and our own Communications Coordinator, Lesley Lang. Good work, team!


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