President provides timeline for SRA implementations


Courtesy of Marywood Marketing Communications

Rachel Looker, Editor-in-Chief

Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. released a timeline for a long-term implementation plan for the recommendations from the Strategic Resource Allocation (SRA) process, according to a president’s memo distributed to the Marywood community on Sept. 12.

In addition to discussing the status of the Strategic Resource Allocation (SRA) Coordinating Committee report, the memo also included information about Marywood’s budget and an update on the MPK&D report.

“It is my pleasure to announce that after many months of planning on the part of colleagues, trustees, and advisers, Marywood has taken another step forward to position the university for our next century,” said Sr. Mary in the memo.

Sr. Mary said the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept the budget for 2016-2017 on Sept. 10.

Sr. Mary addressed the release of Coordinating Committee report, which is the latest part of the SRA process, and said there will be a long-term implementation plan that will be announced after Thanksgiving.

Sr. Mary said in the memo she sensed unrest and anxiety from the Marywood community, specifically during three Shared Governance meetings with faculty, professional staff and support staff.

“We long for a day when we no longer have to worry about the SRA reports and there is no need for the deployment of the Retrenchment Committee,” said Sr. Mary.

In an interview with The Wood Word, Sr. Mary expanded on the financial information in the memo.

Sr. Mary explained timeline for SRA implementations

Until Sept. 30, the Marywood community will be able email a special email address with any comments or concerns about the SRA process.

During October, Sr. Mary said there will be multiple town hall meetings to provide staff and faculty with the ability to express personal feedback. Sr. Mary said she will attend every town hall and said she thinks the rest of administration will also be there if they are available to attend.

After these meetings, Sr. Mary said she will develop recommendations, which she will bring to the Board of Trustees at their scheduled meeting on Oct. 29.

After Sr. Mary and members of the Board settle upon recommendations, Sr. Mary said there will be a two-week period for the Retrenchment Committee, which deals with faculty cuts and is made up of both faculty and administration, to look at the recommendations and determine if they are reasonable.

After the Retrenchment Committee reviews the recommendations, Sr. Mary will finalize a plan and present it to the Marywood community on Nov. 29.

Sr. Mary said the plan for implementation will not go into effect for two to three years. She added her main concern is that every student who is currently in a program will be able to finish in their respective program.

According to Sr. Mary, some students who are currently attending Marywood will never see the implementation of these recommendations.

If it should happen that some faculty positions need to be phased out, she will provide affected faculty several options, such as retirement packages, to best serve faculty and provide them with tools to ease this transition.

“People will know, ‘I’m not being fired tomorrow, but maybe in two years from now I should be thinking about being someplace else,’” said Sr. Mary. “That’s the plan. It’s hard, and I know that, but I know we have to do it and I think it will be okay.”

Sr. Mary emphasized this process will involve as much input from the Marywood community as possible.

Sr. Mary discussed budgets

Sr. Mary said it is important that all departments keep to the budget so the university can stay within the fiscal margins.

While the budget was being finalized, university departments had a sense of how much they had in their budgets because Interim Vice President for Business Affairs William McGarry spoke to department heads during this period, according to Sr. Mary.

“They were able to spend their money given the sense [of their budgets] that they had [from McGarry], but they were being very cautious, and I am grateful to them for that,” Sr. Mary said.

She said that she knows “it’s a big stretch,” but noted it would be beneficial if departments did not spend their budgets to the maximum this year.

“We budgeted very, very conservatively so that any surprises that will come to us in terms of expenses might be overridden by extra revenue that might come in because we budgeted conservatively,” said Sr. Mary.

According to Sr. Mary, McGarry used a zero-based budget when establishing the budget for this year. He analyzed the items needed for each department, and if an item in a department wasn’t used, he would suggest they remove it from the department’s budget so money could be spent elsewhere, said Sr. Mary.

“I think the zero-based budget approach … narrowed us to a better position for this year,” said Sr. Mary.

Sr. Mary explained MPK&D report

According to Sr. Mary, the MPK&D report is a financial document that discusses faculty to student and faculty to support staff ratios.

Sr. Mary said the report suggests that in the next three to four years, Marywood should have a faculty to student ratio of 1 to 16. Currently, Marywood’s ratio is 1 to 12, said Sr. Mary.

She said she thinks these ratios from the MPK&D report are high and does not expect the university to get to the 1 to 16 ratio, but thinks getting to a 1 to 14 ratio may be more reasonable.

“It looks over[ly] simplistic to me, so I think that we need to offset that ratio piece with the ability to bring in additional revenue either through enrollment or through fundraising or through grant programs,” said Sr. Mary.

Sr. Mary commented on faculty response

When asked about faculty members being concerned about these possible implementations from the SRA reports, Sr. Mary said, “I guess I have been a little bit, I wonder what the word is, is it frustrated or saddened that they became so anxious last week when the SRA report came out because I have told them, and I sincerely mean it, that we won’t do this without walking through it with them and it won’t happen immediately.”

She added that whatever implementations are made, they will be done with “great respect” to faculty members.

Sr. Mary said she understands faculty members’ anxiety, but said she feels faculty members do not trust her.

“I think we’re making every single decision possible to make us go in the right direction and already we’re doing much, much better,” said Sr. Mary. “The people who work with us on our finances have commended us on the good work we’re doing, so I think we need to get beyond this so we can really start focusing on what Marywood’s about.”

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