Former President Daniel Mark Fogel
From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President
To: UVM Community
Date: October 10, 2008
Re: The UVM Community at a Time of Economic Testing
These are tough and unpredictable economic times for everyone. No one is being spared. Individuals, municipalities, states, our nation, and indeed the entire world have been rocked by global financial turbulence. Our University and its lifeblood—UVM’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends—are not immune from the turbulence and uncertainty that envelops us.
I am writing to say that I understand and appreciate the deep concern that everyone feels right now, and to tell you that I believe UVM is in a strong position to weather the difficult times ahead. That is not to guarantee that we will avoid hardship and profound challenges, but I continue to be optimistic about the future of this extraordinary academic community. Through creative problem-solving, we have met the difficult challenge of balancing the budget for this fiscal year (FY 09) without cuts to academic units and with minimal impact on the University as a whole. The next two fiscal years (FYs 10 and 11) will present significant challenges, but I believe that disciplined focus on our strategic priorities will get us to reasonable and workable solutions.
Many colleges and universities have taken sweeping austerity measures in the last few months. While a worsening situation might compel UVM to consider across the board measures, I am confident that our position is strong enough today to allow us to be thoughtful and strategic about how to reduce costs, and, for now, to leave most decisions about conservation of precious resources to individual units, which must operate within their budgets, and to individual members of the community. I would ask everyone to take this responsibility seriously. For instance, all of us can turn off lights as well as computers, monitors, and printers that will not be in use for extended periods of time, including overnight. All of us can make individual decisions about travel, with faculty, for instance, proceeding as usual when delivering papers or serving as officers of professional societies but perhaps choosing to forego trips for which the rationale is less compelling.
I acknowledge that anxiety is very high with respect to personal financial concerns. Many members of the community are justifiably worried about retirement savings, paying for college, and simply meeting day-to-day expenses, and anxiety is amplified by uncertainty about the future health of the American economy. I do urge everyone, however, to take advantage of the resources available at UVM that can provide information and that can help at least somewhat to address the stress we are feeling. These resources include the Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff and the Counseling Center for students; the Office of Student Financial Services; and the information available through the providers of UVM’s retirement programs.
This is a remarkable community with strong values and a collective commitment to each other and to getting things done. Through these difficult times, we must never lose sight of our core mission and purpose as Vermont’s University. Our students are already organizing to provide greater volunteer outreach to Vermonters in need. Our faculty continues the central work of the University though nationally acclaimed research, dynamic teaching, and wide-ranging service to our University, state, and nation. Our staff performs in exceptional ways every day, focused on meeting and exceeding the needs of our students and on providing all that is needed to keep our University running smoothly.
I am optimistic, even bullish, on our prospects for the future, and I urge all of us to keep up the great work and not to be discouraged by current circumstances. Our opportunities continue to outweigh our challenges, and I am confident that together we will continue with renewed resolve and urgency to do all we can to make the most of our prospects for success. Many thanks to each and every one of you for all you contribute every day to this outstanding institution.
Last modified October 11 2008 07:00 AM