A. The primary process for addressing this first round of budget cuts is to freeze many of the vacant employee positions. Although this move may affect the roles and responsibilities of current employees and could affect the delivery of some services, it will prevent employee layoffs.
As we work together to make it through these tough economic times and after fall enrollment numbers are in, I plan to bring together members of my senior management team and members of the unions to discuss the collegewide impact of the cuts.
A. The economic situation in Rhode Island and the nation certainly has influenced our priorities. First, we will continue to find additional resources through our Center for Workforce and Community Education, a division of the Community College of Rhode Island that serves more than 31,000 individuals annually in fields from workforce training to personal enrichment. We are also continuing to look at growing our credit hours through distance learning and expanded offerings at our satellite locations, such as in Westerly. Secondly, we remain committed to maintaining quality and affordable postsecondary education for Rhode Islanders. Our third priority is to find creative and exciting new ways to keep morale high and the college moving in a forward direction. A few examples: partnering with our food service vendor to offer tasty new options and enhance the overall atmosphere and experience of the cafeteria; continuing to market the college in a positive and innovative light; and keeping the momentum going for our capital campaign, “Imagine: The Campaign for Endless Possibilities,” which seeks to raise $1 million for scholarships this year as part of the overall $5.5 million campaign.
A. After we analyze the fall enrollment numbers and we have a slightly better idea of the overall financial picture, I will bring union leaders and my senior staff together to discuss the impact of the state’s budget crisis on CCRI. At that time, I would like to hear all ideas that anyone has regarding cost savings to CCRI, their benefits and how they impact the quality of the education and services we provide to our students.
I want to encourage everyone to think out of the box and offer suggestions. Any and all thoughts will be heard and considered as we look to use the challenges we face to create new opportunities for CCRI and its students.