Putting Students First is the centerpiece of the strategic planning process that is currently underway at UConn, which will guide the growth and evolution of our University for years to come and significantly enhance our ability to support our students as effectively as possible. As we continue our pursuit of academic excellence, creative work, and innovation, it is important that we adapt to the evolving landscape of higher education and student needs. We want UConn to be a place where all our students reach their full potential and thrive. We want to differentiate and maintain a competitive edge as a unique institution while maintaining our roots as the state’s preeminent public research university.
Even as we plan for the long term, we are also doing important near-term planning for the fiscal year ahead.
As you know, our budget picture each year is heavily influenced by the levels of investment the state chooses to make in the University as part of our annual appropriation and other support. As noted earlier this year, we are extremely grateful that Governor Lamont and the Connecticut General Assembly took steps to ensure that UConn and UConn Health will no longer have to shoulder the burden of the state’s unfunded legacy costs, helping our faculty to be even more competitive and allowing UConn to invest more in our mission.
As is always the case, we continually need to demonstrate to the leaders of our state, our students, and their families that UConn and UConn Health are outstanding stewards of our fiscal resources. To do that and live within the means we have, we are continually striving to identify ways to reduce costs, eliminate redundancies, and increase efficiency.
This is true University-wide, including when it comes to the senior administration. To that end, we have been consolidating positions to create more consistency and efficiency in administrative leadership, as well as to align processes and policies most effectively. This includes naming one Chief Financial Officer for both UConn and UConn Health (previously there were two), eliminating the position of Vice President for Student Affairs, shifting Student Affairs responsibilities to our Provost and newly renamed Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment, and the fact we currently have one leader overseeing HR at both UConn and UConn Health, rather than separate positions.
We will continue to ask units to work to identify similar opportunities to reduce costs and find efficiencies whenever possible as we plan for the future. The more resources we can devote to our core missions, the more successful we will be. Signs of that success can be seen everywhere, from being named one of the 50 best universities in America by the Wall Street Journal thanks to our affordability, best average time to degree in the nation, and the economic success of our graduates, to being named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University by the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.
We look forward to working together with every unit on campus to achieve our shared goals. I also encourage you to stay actively engaged in the strategic planning process through the various community forums and working groups. Our goal is to ensure all stakeholders are informed and part of the listening sessions and decision-making processes as you are an integral part of our success.