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Office of the President

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Where did the summer go? Here’s hoping yours was most enjoyable.

As we begin another exciting academic year at Cleveland State University, please join me in extending a special welcome to our 41 new faculty members, including 16 tenure-track hires. Your fresh perspectives and wealth of experience will immeasurably enrich our entire campus community.

I hope to see many of you at the annual President’s Picnic. Mark your calendars: We’ll be on the Student Center Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, September 7. Come one, come all and come hungry!

This semester, we also expect to welcome the largest freshman class in our history. Given an increasingly competitive environment, I applaud the work of all who were involved in reaching this goal.

The new biennial budget passed in the last legislative session did not provide any additional support. It also froze tuition and most student fees. An article published last week by cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer reports that support for higher education in Ohio has declined 15 percent since 2008. This percentage reflects the cut to institutional support and does not reflect the seismic cuts to the state’s financial aid program (OCOG). We continue to explore ways to absorb this ongoing decrease in funding without sacrificing the important gains in student success, research, fundraising and infrastructure support.

At the last meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees, we presented a balanced budget and a very strong financial foundation. We do not face the structural budget deficits that many Ohio public universities confront. Our reserve funds are robust and we have never used reserves to supplement our operating budget. However, this financial stability has been achieved by generating efficiencies and savings through the Path to 2020 process and by initiating a position freeze and additional budget cuts in the last academic year.

I know that many have felt the impact of these cuts and have stepped up to fill the voids in service that have been created. Thank you for your commitment to the incredibly important work of CSU. I pledge that we will continue to explore avenues to increase revenues. Innovation in the traditional business model is essential if we are to provide opportunities and services for our students, faculty and staff.

Despite these challenges, CSU continues to make advancements in student success, research, innovation and community building:

  • The new building housing our Campus International School opened this month.
  • The Washkewicz College of Engineering addition will open next semester, providing students with extraordinary learning spaces and a comprehensive suite of the latest technology.
  • The $7.5 million we received from the State of Ohio to develop the School of Film, Digital Media and Broadcasting is funding the development of a professional, state-of-the-art space in the top floor of the Idea Center.
  • The Edge, a privately developed student housing project on Euclid Avenue, is substantially leased.

Over the course of this semester, I will continue to provide information concerning initiatives that will help us sustain our growth and success.

Look around you. It’s a great time to be a Viking!

Sincerely,

Ronald M. Berkman

President
Cleveland State University

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