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State of the University Memo, January 2017

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Dear Colleagues:

As our spring 2017 semester proceeds in its second week, please accept this note as my sincere expression of appreciation for the great work that is done across the campus, in classrooms and laboratories and offices, as we all work together to make this a successful experience for our students. January is always a very important time for the University. The winter break sees our students return to their homes, and our hope is to keep retention from fall to spring as high as possible. Every helpful moment that our faculty and staff gives to a student contributes to their positive experience and enhances the prospect of their return in the following semester. I hear about some of those special connections which students experience, almost every day. As we begin the new year, below is an update regarding some of Shepherd’s critical programs, as well as select new initiatives, for your consideration:

  1. For years, the University has over-relied on the use of the State Purchasing Cards (credit cards) for every form of transaction that is eligible for such cards. However, the use of the Purchasing Card has become very “high-maintenance” for the card-holders, and the fees that are associated with use of the card are often an unnecessary drain against our budget. The Finance Office has worked this fall to eliminate this fiscal and personnel expense from our internal transactions: For example, internal purchases of supplies and catering, among others, should now be done via budget transfers. For greater details on the new procedures, please see the campus-wide email from Debra Langford distributed on December 5.
  2. The Procurement Office will also be working this year to expand the efficiencies which our office staff can gain in the procurement of routine supplies such as paper, pens, notebooks, etc. We will also engage academic and administrative departments in assessment of the large number of photocopy machines and desk-top printers, with the hope of exploring financial efficiencies that can also add to personal productivity and work efficiency for our faculty and staff.
  3. The WV Governor granted the final approval required for Shepherd to proceed with the refinancing of its 2005 Series and 2007 Series Bonds. The lower, fixed interest rate will allow the University to reduce its annual debt service by more than $220,000 per year. We can roll that savings into some of our needed facilities and capital equipment improvements, rather than having to spend tuition revenue for such matters.
  4. The Executive Leadership Team has agreed to restrain discretionary administrative travel to achieve some one-time savings in the current fiscal year. Among other examples, we are asking the WV HEPC for telephonic and skype participation in as many meetings as is viable, to avoid mileage and hotel expenses.
  5. One of the new revenue generating initiatives will be establishing Shepherd University as a Testing Center for the administration of several national tests, including ACT, SAT and ETS.

As we make solid progress in new initiatives and in rebuilding the enrollment levels lost for several years, it is vitally important for each of you to know that you are an essential component of the successes of our students. The University remains committed to making this a cherished place for you to work. I appreciate all that you do to advance Excellence, Innovation, and Opportunity at Shepherd University, as we train the next generation together.

With deep appreciation for your collective efforts,

Mary J.C. Hendrix