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University Releases Foundation of the Future Recommendations
The University of Hartford released a report to faculty and staff on Monday containing the joint recommendations of the Foundation of the Future Academic and Administrative Task Forces.
The two task forces, comprising 45 faculty and staff, were appointed last fall to conduct a comprehensive review and prioritization of the University’s academic and administrative programs, with the goal of determining where to reallocate and focus the University’s resources within the existing budget. The recommendations were released for University employees’ review and comments Monday following more than six months of exhaustive analysis and review by the task forces.
“The University of Hartford is currently in a strong financial position,” said University President Walter Harrison. “On June 30 we completed our 15th-straight fiscal year with a budget surplus. Simply exercising financial restraint and conservative budgeting, however, does not allow us to address our most important priorities. I am proud that we are becoming leaders in moderating tuition growth by establishing priorities and funding them appropriately.”
The joint report includes prioritized recommendations on more than 250 of the University’s academic and administrative programs. It recommends which academic and administrative programs should be invested in, maintained as they are, restructured for savings or efficiency, or divested in the coming years.
The report is available to faculty and staff through a password-protected website, the link to which they received in an email from President Harrison on Monday afternoon. Students, parents, and other interested parties can find a list of the recommendations and Frequently Asked Questions about Foundation of the Future at www.hartford.edu/FOTF.
“We face both increased competition from other colleges and universities and increased financial need among our students,” President Harrison said in his message releasing the report to faculty and staff. “In order to improve our competitive position and to meet our students’ financial needs, we intend to reallocate our budget priorities by reducing the number of programs we offer and providing better support to our priority programs. This is not a budget reduction plan; it is budget neutral.
“I want to stress that these reports are recommendations, not decisions,” President Harrison continued in his message. “We are now committed to listening to the wider University community before proceeding to any decisions.”
Faculty and staff are invited to attend Town Hall meetings on the Foundation of the Future recommendations on Tuesday, Sept 25, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m., and on Monday, Oct. 1, from 9 to 10 a.m. The meetings will take place in Wilde Auditorium.
In addition, Town Hall meetings with students have been scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 2. A meeting for undergraduates will take place from 4 to 5 p.m., and a meeting for graduate students will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Both meetings will take place in Wilde Auditorium.
In addition to the meetings, faculty, staff and students can submit feedback to FOTF@hartford.edu. University officers are looking at any new, relevant data; considering projected budget implications; and assessing the recommendations within an institutional context. During the consideration phase, circumstances may become apparent that will make a recommendation not feasible to implement.
The recommendations, if fully adopted by the University, would generate for reallocation $7 million within the $150 million operating budget over which the University has control. If adopted as written, these recommendations over the next five years might affect 30 to 40 faculty and staff out of the University’s full-time base of about 1,000 employees. No current students will be impacted, as any final implementation plan will allow for students to complete their programs of study. The programs recommended for divestment currently enroll about 200 students out of the current University enrollment of about 7,000.
“The goal of Foundation of the Future is to build on the current strengths of the University in order to make it even better despite an uncertain economy,” President Harrison said. University administrators intend to complete a plan for implementation of the recommendations that are adopted by the close of the fall semester.
“In reaching these decisions, we will also consult with and be guided by the University’s Board of Regents,” Harrison added.