Staff Council Meeting Minutes – November 2017

Staff Council met on Wednesday, November 15 at 10:00AM in Alumni Auditorium. Below are the meeting minutes (to be approved on December 19, 2017) for your review. These minutes can also be found on the K: Drive, located at K:\Staff Council\Staff Council – Meeting Minutes\June 2017 – May 2018. Please send any recommended revisions to cbostock@champlain.edu prior to the November 2017 meeting.


I.    Welcome – Call meeting to order (Shaylea Scribner, Facilitator)

II.   Approval of the October meeting minutes (see in K:drive/Staff Council Meeting Minutes),

  • A motion was made to approve, motion was seconded, and the October meeting minutes were unanimously approved

III.   Small Group Discussions on Diversity & Inclusion – Angela Batista

  • Angela prefaced these discussions by providing a brief introduction. The Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) components in the 2020 Strategic Plan focus on access and success, climate and intergroup relations, as well as education and leadership. Furthermore, the Future’s Initiative informed us of some major themes to consider when thinking about how we might achieve our D&I goals – collaboration, organizational structure, and supporting bold/creative ideas. Much of the work Angela and her team are doing focuses on how to address the 2020 goals and building a long term D&I framework.
  • Angela also introduced a new term to consider during these conversations. While the 2020 Strategic Plan focuses on diversity (i.e. who’s here? Composition/makeup of the college community) and inclusion (i.e. what are the experiences/feelings of community members), Angela encourages employees to also consider equity. In doing so, we might also address those institutional efforts which are designed to systematically ensure that everyone has access to the support and resources they need in order to succeed. It was emphasized that equity differs from equality in that the latter simply ensures everyone has access to the same resources rather than those which are tailored to their actual need.
  • Attendees broke up into smaller groups and were asked to discuss their thoughts on the importance of including equity in conversations and initiatives surrounding D&I. One of the general thoughts shared as a result of these discussions was that equity is not necessarily the end goal, rather a tool for removing barriers. Another thought was that equity may subsequently be addressed in existing D&I goals but exercises such as these (and future) discussions ensure we do so systematically.
  • Angela finished by highlighting some of the next steps, a major one being to take a hard look at organizational metrics as part of a campus-wide diversity audit. The goal of the audit will be to determine where there is opportunity to have the largest impact. There will also be a series of conversation sessions/workshops surrounding these and similar topics held throughout the remainder of the calendar year. Employees are highly encouraged to participate, dates/times can be found on the DareU calendar here: https://www.champlain.edu/faculty-and-staff/people-center/dare-u/calendar-and-sign-up-for-professional-development-opportunities

  IV.   Financial Overview – President Don Laackman

  • President Laackman was invited to provide a detailed presentation regarding the College’s finances. He began by emphasizing the importance of everyone being aware of the College’s financial position and providing context as we look at revenue and expenditures in terms of student tuition dollars.
  • President Laackman began by highlighting the College’s 2017 revenue, debt, investments and other assets.
    • Total FY2017 Revenue was $96.8M. A majority (roughly $64M) of the revenues consists of Net TRAD tuition dollars as well as Dorm and Dining expenses.
    • Total FY2017 Debt was roughly $77M. A majority of the debt is a result of powering campus facilities and construction of the St. Paul dorm building. Debt is being financed over 30 years, with the College paying roughly $4.7M annually.
    • Total FY2017 Investments include $21.1M in permanently restricted endowment and $25.1M in board designated funds, for a total of roughly $46M. President Laackman described the $25M in board designated funds as money set aside for things like debt repayment, deferred maintenance, and the innovations fund.  The Board approves these annually based on the institution meeting or exceeding our year-end contingency which is also set by the Board.
    • Other assets include $3.8M raised in FY2017, a $4.5M surplus contribution, and $2.1M released to budget. President Laackman clarified that on the release to budget only $542k comes from the endowment. The remainder comes from gifts raised for both scholarship and other philanthropy that is not necessarily budget relief. In many cases, it is budget enhancement.
  • It was noted that some financial goals in the 2020 Strategic Plan were revised as part of the 2017 update. President Laackman provided the following detail regarding the goals and how they’ve been adjusted from what was published in the 2012 version of the plan:
    • Annual Fundraising – The 2012 goal was set at $10M. In the recent update, the goal was adjusted to $8M.
    • There was also a shift in how the College looks at tuition revenue, referred to in the presentation as the “Tuition Indicator”. In the 2012 version of the plan, the Discount Rate (or “list price”) was the metric being used for tuition. As part of the 2017 update, the shift has been to consider tuition as the Net Tuition Revenue (or what was “actually” raised).
    • Revisions were also made to the goals of CPS/GRAD revenue ($104M in 2012, to $24M in 2017 version) as well as CPS/GRAD enrollment (6,750 in 2012 to 4,000 in 2017).
  • Next was an overview of the 4-year cost of a Bachelor Degree for various populations of students. President Laackman explained that the Net price for a TRAD Bachelor’s Degree is $84k, while a degree in undergrad CPS programs cost about $76.8k. Furthermore, a CPS TruEd Bachelor Degree costs $32.2k. To provide a historical context of tuition costs for students, President Laackman displayed a chart which showed the change in tuition rate, Net tuition, and first-year Net tuition since 2012 and projected through 2019. It was noted that while the Tuition Rate (i.e. “list price”) has gone up significantly ($28k in 2012 compared to a projected $40k in FY2019), Net Tuition will likely see an increase of roughly just $3k over the same span of time. However, President Laackman explained that even a 1% increase in Net Tuition has a significant impact of revenue increases and, subsequently, budget allowance.
  • Using the most recent IPEDs data for First Year Net Tuition (FY2016), President Laackman provided information regarding how Champlain’s Freshman Net Tuition and Discount Rate compares to peer and aspirant institutions. In general, Champlain is at the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to freshman tuition cost ($22.5k in FY2016) and runs a lower freshman discount rate in comparison to peer/aspirant institutions. Overall, Champlain’s discount rate is roughly 45%, while the national average is 50%.
  • The question was asked regarding how other institutions can charge less. President Laackman responded that it is hard to know, however, he speculated that other schools may pay employees less, might not devote as much funding to technology or facilities, and/or may run larger class sizes (i.e. larger staff-to-student ratios).
  • President Laackman was also asked to clarify how peer and aspirant institutions are determined. There are a number of factors that go into identifying such institutions. For example, we tend to look at those schools with whom we share similar degree programs as well as those institutions our students tend to transfer to.
  • To close his presentation, President Laackman provided detail regarding the impact of fundraising on the overall operating budget. That is, based on how the total amount raised, how much money is actually released to the budget. For example, in FY2017 we raised $3.8M, $230k made up an illustrative release to budget (assuming all goes to endowment), which resulted in $653k actual release based on current endowment. President Laackman noted that raising additional funds does not have as significant an impact on the budget in comparison to revenue from net tuition, room/board, etc.

V.   Closing – if you have questions, feedback, ideas – please speak to me or one of our Executive Committee members