January 29, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 38°F


Board of Trustees discusses finances at February meeting

Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado updated the campus community via email Feb. 17 about the discussions that occurred at the annual Ithaca College Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 12–13.

The board met with members of Collado’s senior leadership team and prominent alumni at the annual meeting, Collado and Dave Lissy ’87, chair of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees, said via email Feb. 17. The group discussed a variety of topics, including implementation of the strategic plan, the campus climate, the 2020–21 fiscal budget and enrollment and marketing strategies, the email stated. 

At the meeting, the group discussed how institutional change was affecting the campus climate, according to the email. The email stated the group approached the discussion with “a common understanding that the college’s success depends on its ability to adapt.” The email stated the conversation provided context about current issues surrounding the campus climate, but it did not say what specific issues were discussed. 

“In light of the challenges faced as the college makes progress toward a sustainable future, trustees recognize the necessity of collaboration, civil discourse and transparent discussion among all campus constituents to realize the shared commitment to and the success of Ithaca Forever,” Collado and Lissy said via email. “The board affirmed its full confidence in the college’s leadership team to lead the IC community and the implementation of the strategic plan.”

In the past academic year, students and faculty have expressed concerns about the campus climate, including issues like microaggressions in the classroom and the college’s financial health.

At the meeting, Bill Guerrero, vice president of finance and administration, presented a draft of the 2020–21 fiscal budget, as well as the college’s ongoing capital planning to implement the strategic plan. The budget for the 2020–21 fiscal year has yet to be released. The college is currently in the process of relocating offices and departments for the new master plan, which has not been officially updated since 2015.

Guerrero told the board that his team, the college’s senior leadership team and the Institutional Effectiveness and Budget Committee, as well as departments and offices around the campus, are working toward balancing the budget. It is predicted that there will be budget cuts to departments and positions at the college because of issues like lower enrollment and stagnant donations, Collado said at the All-College Gathering on Jan. 28

The administration has previously said that the college’s financial issues coincide with a trend in higher education for private, residential and tuition-driven institutions, as previously reported by The Ithacan

The email said that the administration remains committed to working with the board to “proactively” address issues regarding the college’s financial health. The goal is to move toward a more sustainable funding system, the email stated. 

The budget is typically approved at the February meeting. However, it has been pushed to a later date since 2018. This has been done to “ensure that the final budget the trustees consider for approval has as much certainty as possible around expectations for the coming year,” the Feb. 17 email stated. 

Laurie Koehler, vice president of marketing and enrollment strategy, presented her team’s efforts to come up with branding and enrollment strategies. The email stated that the conversation centered around “attracting great-fit students” to the college.

The email also provided information about the status of the strategic plan. La Jerne Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Hayley Harris, vice president of the Office of Human and Organizational Development and Planning, presented an overview of the first-year implementation of the strategic plan. The two also shared the progress that action groups and the campus community have made in achieving the first-year objectives of the strategic plan, including reviewing academic and nonacademic programs at the college. 

Jason DeLand ’98, founding partner and chairman of Anomaly — an advertising agency — and Ryan Berman ’98, founder of Courageous — “a change consultancy that trains companies how to operationalize courage” — participated in the board’s discussion about brand strategies, which emphasized the importance of courage, the email stated. 

The board also unanimously voted to approve the tenure and promotion of 20 faculty members at the college, and it promoted nine former college professors to emeritus status. The list of current and retired faculty who were promoted can be found on IC News

The meeting also consisted of a tour of the Ithaca College Los Angeles (ICLA) satellite campus, as well as an event surrounding the implementation of Ithaca Forever. The board visited the ICLA James B. Pendleton Center where they spoke with faculty, staff, students and alumni about the ICLA program, the email stated. 

The email also said that the Ithaca Forever event consisted of a “special dinner and reception” at which West Coast guests, including Bob Iger 73, CEO of The Walt Disney Co., discussed “approaches to leadership” and “the landscape of higher education.”


Falyn Stempler can be reached at fstempler@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @falstempler