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Seattle University


Noon Forum

Written by Mike Thee
May 3, 2011

At his final noon forum of the 2010-2011 academic year on April 28, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., provided updates on a number of university developments. He mentioned the high score Seattle University received in the Princeton Review’s green rating. He also spoke on the university’s financial health, sharing that SU has again received an "A" rating from Standard & Poor’s, which, he says, shows that "we’ve had great momentum through difficult economic times."

The president also shared that the Board of Trustees has asked the university to hold $2 million of its total $183 million fiscal year 2012 budget aside until October 2011 in light of uncertainties around federal and state funding for financial aid. He added, "We expect to be able to release those funds." One project temporarily on hold is the renovation of Logan Field. The plan is to enlarge the field, convert it to artificial turf, add lighting and move the softball field so that students, especially those playing intramural sports, can use the field on more of a year-round basis. Father Sundborg expects the renovations to move forward.

The fitness center and Douglas apartments are also on track to be completed for the fall, Sundborg said, adding that the Douglas will allow the university to move closer to its goal of having capacity for 50 percent of its undergraduates to live on campus. (Currently, 40 percent of SU's undergraduates live on campus.)

Sundborg also spoke of the Board of Trustees’ May 4-5 meeting, at which they are being asked to approve the new Core Curriculum as well as four new degrees and the university’s next steps in Compensation and Benefits Study. The president said he was "very impressed with the entire process" of formulating the new Core, and "very, very impressed with the participation by the university." As for compensation and benefits, trustee approval is needed for the university to move forward in making adjustments based on market comparisons with our peer institutions. Sundborg said that faculty and staff can expect an update on compensation and benefits in the coming weeks. The proposed new programs include two in biology, a doctor of nurse practitioner and an MBA in healthcare leadership. In response to a question, the president said that the new nursing doctorate would not change the university’s classification as a master’s-granting institution.

Among other updates, the president:

- Shared that a number of conferences of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) have been taking place on SU’s campus this year and that visitors have been impressed with the university’s commitment to its mission, its art work and its ability to be both an urban and beautiful campus. (Sundborg has been tabbed as the incoming chair of AJCU’s board.)

- Congratulated Annette Clark of the law school on her appointment as dean of the law school at Saint Louis University.

- Mentioned that the Library and Learning Commons has recently been featured in a couple of publications including American Libraries.

- Encouraged faculty and staff to visit the library to see the new cross that was recently installed in the entrance as well as Japanese silk screens on the sixth floor, and added that new commissioned artwork resembling ice cubes will soon be installed between the Student Center and the Library and Learning Commons.