March

Deep Dive Planning Process—Pre-spring Break update

Dear Fellow Albrightians,

The spring semester is speeding along and Spring Break is upon us. The semester has gone quickly and, at the same time, each of you has been very busy, accomplishing both your ongoing and daily work and the work of building our larger community for the future. Doing both in parallel is difficult and tiring.

Our ongoing work holds to the vision that I shared when I arrived: moving Albright boldly into the future, which requires developing for Albright a sustainable financial model, one that will serve us well long into the future. Such development requires applying discovery/investigation/analytics recursively to produce a complete picture of the current model, so that we can understand how to reshape it. As I have shared with some of you, for each question I have asked—for every rock I have turned over—during this discovery/investigative phase, I have been surprised (not pleasantly) by what I have learned.

Deep Dive Planning

Our Deep Dive “planning for the future” is an ongoing process that has been continuing throughout the year. During the Deep Dive investigative process, our understanding of the current budget has become clearer. Thus, we have a Deep Dive Team working on the FY19 budget. They are doing the difficult work to close the significant operating budget challenge projected for next year, within the context of our five institutional priorities. This team is taking seriously the work of the Deep Dive as it looks at ways Albright can operate and provide services more efficiently and effectively, with a focus on building towards the future. We will be engaging the broader community in this process soon after Spring Break.

A larger Deep Dive Team is working on the complex task of building a sustainable financial model from scratch. This is a complex process of building the fixed and variable costs for Albright’s educational model from scratch—such costs are the basis of sustainable finances. Two Deep Dive Teams have convened to begin the process of building our strengths around student advising and foundations for first-year students, two critical areas identified by the Deep Dive Student Success Working Group. A separate Deep Dive Team is focused on our events calendar, with the goal to enhance communications and efficiencies and minimize event conflicts by developing a portal that will better integrate space reservation, facilities setup, and catering, as proposed by the Deep Dive Process and Efficiency Working Group. Meanwhile, the essential, complex, and labyrinthine work of updating all parts of the college’s website continues. The Deep Dive Team agreed that each of these pieces plays an essential and immediate role in moving Albright boldly into the future. I am grateful for the contributions of each of you and your focus and effort on the bigger picture beyond your individual work.

A Thriving and Inclusive Community—an Institutional Priority

Our commitment to achieving a fully equitable, inclusive, and thriving community remains a highest priority, co-equal in significance to our work building a sustainable financial model. This work is not easy and can be frustratingly slow, as laying the foundation for long-term success requires careful analysis and thoughtful planning. As I expressed in my community email of February 14, now that we have a more in-depth understanding of the needs and concerns of our community, our next goals are:

1) Continuing and ongoing skills development;

2) Rebuilding and re-creating our policies and procedures; and

3) Improving our responsiveness to complaints.

Planning for the first of these goals is ongoing with CITE-C and Collaborations Group (CGI) consultants; expect to hear more before too long. For the second and third goals, we have actively engaged human resource experts from CGI. Much of this work, while very active, occurs behind the scenes. Working towards creating an equitable, inclusive and fully participating community is foundational to achieving our ambition to be the best Albright that we can be.

Five Institutional Priorities – and the work it takes to move boldly to the future

Our decision-making continues to focus on each of the five institutional priorities that I shared in many presentations and in my December email to the community. Each person in our community is exerting extra effort to move our community forward, and for that effort I am enormously grateful. With the arrival of Spring Break, I hope that we will all have a chance to catch up and relax as we move into the final push through the end of the spring semester and to commencement.

Best wishes, and thank you for all of your contributions to help move Albright boldly into the future,

-President Fetrow