Strategic Funding Committee

A Message from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President, University of Notre Dame
February 10, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

Notre Dame aspires to be among the top research universities in the world while remaining fully committed to our Catholic mission and unsurpassed undergraduate education. We have made extraordinary progress pursuing our academic, spiritual and financial goals thanks to the talent and dedication of our faculty, staff and administration, the exceptional generosity of our benefactors and the support of so many others. Each of you contributes to our accomplishments, and of this you should feel proud.

Yet there are still challenges to funding our vision in this economic climate. Recently the deans and heads of other major divisions have updated their strategic plans, and it is clear that if we are to continue our momentum, we must invest in new initiatives. Primary among our priorities are resources for financial aid to meet the needs of undergraduate students and improve the undergraduate experience, for new faculty positions to further strengthen teaching and research, for graduate student support to make our packages more competitive with our peers, and for enhanced staff support and infrastructure for our educational mission.

After consulting with the deans and other administrators, I have asked Tom Burish and John Affleck-Graves to co-chair a committee whose charge will be to undertake a thorough review and identify $20 million to $40 million in recurring expenses that can be redirected to fund new initiatives. The members of the Strategic Funding Committee are listed below.

Although this target may sound like a large amount, it is roughly 2 to 4 percent of our annual budget. Many distinguished universities have recently cut even larger sums from their budgets to meet financial crises. While we at Notre Dame are not facing a crisis, we still cannot rely on traditional resources of income to fund new initiatives. Because we are nearing the end of a development campaign, we cannot look to benefactors for these new resources. And while our investment office is one of the best in higher education, we cannot expect substantial new resources from the endowment in such a difficult economy. Furthermore, with our obligations for student financial aid and the economic pressures on families, we cannot expect modest tuition increases to cover more than modest increases in salaries and other fixed expenses.

So, rather than look outward at this time, we must for the immediate future look internally to identify resources that can advance our aspirations. At Notre Dame, we are in the fortunate position to undertake this exercise not to meet a crisis and survive, but to continue our progress and thrive. This funding will be used to meet needs that have not been funded by the last campaign and to take advantage of emerging opportunities. We have targeted the end of the semester for the Strategic Funding Committee to complete its work. Once it has identified funds that may be reallocated, I will ask Tom Burish and John Affleck-Graves to consult with appropriate University leaders and make recommendations to me for the use of funds in accord with our updated strategic plan.

It is perhaps inevitable that a reallocation effort such as this creates uncertainty and some anxiety. Although anxiety cannot be eliminated, let me assure you that we recognize that the loyalty of those who work at Notre Dame is one of our most valuable assets, and we do not foresee any involuntary layoffs as a result of this process.

As this committee meets in the coming semester, we will provide periodic updates through email, ND Works and the website advancingourvision.nd.edu. We will ask deans to update the faculty, and the spring Town Hall Meetings will provide staff an opportunity for an update and for questions and answers We will also seek your input for suggestions and ideas that could contribute to achieving our goals.

As we approach the end of our latest fundraising campaign, we should recall with gratitude the many people who have made gifts, both large and small, so that we can continue our progress. Each one of them made sacrifices to help us do our work and achieve our aspirations. Now it is our turn to ask whether we, as the campus community, can make sacrifices to reallocate funds from lower to higher university priorities. If we can do so, we can sustain our momentum and shape a prosperous future for Notre Dame. Many people through the generations have given so much to make Notre Dame what it is, and now we must do the same.

I am certainly proud of Notre Dame and of you. We must not, however, let that justified pride give rise to complacency. Rather, drawing confidence and inspiration from our successes, we must build on them to make the next five years even more exciting for Notre Dame.

In Notre Dame,

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President

Strategic Funding Committee

Co-chairs: Thomas G. Burish, Provost and John F. Affleck-Graves, Executive Vice President
Robert J. Bernhard, Vice President for Research
Janet M. Botz, Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications
Gregory P. Crawford, Dean, College of Science
Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, C.S.C., Vice President for Student Affairs
William N. Evans, Executive Committee of the Academic Council
Thomas A. Gresik, Faculty Senate 
Peter Kilpatrick, Dean, College of Engineering
Ronald D. Kraemer, Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Michael N. Lykoudis, Dean, School of Architecture 
Christine M. Maziar, Vice President and Senior Associate Provost
Scott C. Malpass, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer
Rev. James E. McDonald, C.S.C., Associate Vice President and Counselor to the President
John T. McGreevy, Dean, College of Arts and Letters
Robert K. McQuade, Vice President for Human Resources
Louis M. Nanni, Vice President for University Relations
Nell Jessup Newton, Dean, Law School
John A. Sejdinaj, Vice President for Finance
Jack B. Swarbrick, Vice President and Director of Athletics 
Carolyn Y. Woo, Dean, Mendoza College of Business

Providing staff support for the committee:

Linda M. Kroll, Associate Vice President, Office of Budget and Planning
Andrew M. Paluf, Associate Vice President & Controller, Office of Budget and Planning