March 4, 2009
Dear Members of the Keene State College Community,
While the current uncertain economic situation has hit colleges and universities nationwide, each campus must focus on the unique challenges the downturn brings to its institution.
Recent news stories have reported on layoffs and hiring and salary freezes at different institutions. As we monitor our budget we are carefully reviewing hiring decisions, but we are not anticipating layoffs, hiring freezes, or salary freezes at this time.
Keene State has always had a lean operating budget, and national figures show that we have fewer employees than comparable institutions. Our mission, focused primarily on undergraduate education, enables us to be effective and efficient. For this reason, our current employees are not only highly valued, they are very productive.
We are committed to fair compensation and the living wage concept. Three years ago, the College created a Human Resources Master Plan to address inequities in staff salaries. The campus community supported an approach that targeted those positions showing the greatest deficiencies, and we are pleased that 80% of our operating staff (OS) and professional and technical staff (PAT) are within 5% of target for their current pay range. As much as we are able, we will continue to direct available dollars to address long-standing compensation deficiencies. These deficiencies exist within the college's administrative ranks as well, and I have worked with the board of trustees to develop strategies to bring salaries up to market levels over time. The current economic climate may limit the college's ability to meet these targets.
As state and national issues arise that impact higher education generally and Keene State College specifically, I will provide additional budget updates. I encourage you to participate in upcoming campus budget forums, and to visit this website for information previously shared.
As we work together to meet these economic challenges, we will do as we have always done: monitor our revenue sources, conserve spending, and adapt in ways that allow us to focus on achieving our mission, values, and planning goals.
Helen F. Giles-Gee