Weekly Update – June 14, 2009

on June 14, 2009 in Weekly Update

I heard this morning on the news that we will be in a heat wave all week.  Hope you are staying cool!!

We kicked off the summer session with an overall college increase in head count (up by 9.6%) and contact hours (up 7.7 %).  Both of these numbers mean that we have an increase in students, classes,  and related activities on the campuses. The greatest increases have been seen at Central Campus followed by South Campus. Just this week, I was reading an article about the Navy’s Blue Angels, and the teamwork required, on the ground and in the air, to keep the fleet maneuvering through those incredible stunts. I thought about SJC and how it takes every department and person to keep our students on task and moving toward their goals. On behalf on our students, “thanks”.

On Friday, I had the opportunity with several other SJC administrators to meet with personnel at Johnson Space Center. What an exciting place to be and how wonderful to have this agency in our back yard!!  I was impressed with the partnerships that SJC has developed with the Space Center and to hear about new ones on the horizon. I was even more impressed with the Texas Aerospace Scholars, a group of high school seniors from around the State of Texas, who presented on getting to and living and working on Mars. They did an outstanding job – almost made me want to go!! This is a difficult time for our space program with budget cuts being considered at the Federal level. I encourage you to stay informed on this issue.

On Thursday, I was notified that the College’s bond ratings were affirmed by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s at AA and Aa3, respectively. These ratings are very positive especially in light of the difficulties felt by many of our petrochem businesses. The ratings are important because they tell the bond markets that SJC has a sound financial position, diverse revenue streams, strong reserves, and a low tax rate. This message will translate into lower interest rates when the new bonds are sold this summer.

The Executive Management Team (EMT) met earlier this week to discuss the 2009-2010 budget. We have received preliminary valuations from Harris County Appraisal District, and the valuations are reflecting an overall decline but not as significant as we had anticipated. The Fiscal Affairs Department under the leadership of Ken Lynn will continue to monitor the valuations and all other revenue metrics over the next month. Our intent is for the EMT to meet on June 25th to develop, based on input from the Board of Trustees,  the annual objectives for 2009-2010. The EMT will then meet on July 7th and July 14th to determine how dollars should be allocated to those objectives and other requests that have come forward through the budget managers (Vice Chancellors, CIO, Associate Vice Chancellor,  and Presidents). While next year will be tight, the EMT is confident that we will be able prioritize and repurpose dollars to meet our strategic initiatives.

As many of you are aware, we have been interviewing CIO candidates over the past months. The EMT decided this week that while we had candidates that met some or most of the qualifications, we did not have a candidate that met all of our qualifications, and we decided not to move forward with anyone in this pool. This is a critical position for the College and its strategic focus for the future;  it is imperative that we have the best possible fit for the College and the IT team. Over the next month or so, the EMT will reconsider our options for moving forward on a longer term plan. In the meantime, Rob Stanicic will continue as the College’s CIO. Rob has been with the College on a contract basis for the past three years. I personally want to thank the IT team for their patience during this process and for the many successes that have occurred in the IT department under Rob’s leadership. I am confident in the quality of work, service, and commitment of the IT Department to the College, and I know the many current and upcoming projects will continue to progress during this transition period.

One last item regarding non-faculty performance management, remember that all self appraisals are due by June 19th and all leaders have until July 3rd to complete evaluations on their direct reports. These deadlines are critical in order for the validation process to begin.

Stay cool and drink lots of water this week!


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