Spring Semester Kicks Off with B-CU Faculty-Staff Institute
Fiscal Responsibility and Excellent Customer Service Pledged in Response to Economic Climate
On the first day back from holiday break, B-CU administration, faculty and staff gathered in the Center for Civic Engagement for the Spring Semester Faculty-Staff Institute, a bi-annual gathering designed to ensure that all those who work at B-CU are aligned in common purpose at the start of a new semester.
The half-day session, entitled “Effective Teaching and Learning in Challenging Economic Times,” addressed the impact of the world-wide economic crisis on the institution and the Administration’s plan of action.
President Trudie Kibbe Reed and other speakers representing the University community stressed two important themes: Fiscal Responsibility and Customer Service.
In her State of the University presentation, Dr. Reed noted that while B-CU’s financial position remains solid, with balanced budgets and strong management, the institution, like all other colleges and universities, is affected by the downturn in the economy. “As families are struggling to keep their jobs, pay their mortgages and secure credit, it becomes harder for our students to come and stay at B-CU because of the cost and difficulty getting loans. And, we know that government funding and private donations will likely be less than in the past,” she noted.
As a result, the B-CU Administration is taking pro-active steps to reduce costs such as freezing all non-essential campus construction projects, freezing hiring and salary increases for faculty and staff and ensuring that all full-time faculty are teaching full course loads. In addition, all members of the B-CU community are being asked to assist in cost-saving measures such as energy conservation and reductions in operating budgets.
Dr. Castell Bryant, B-CU’s interim vice president for academic affairs, noted that while difficult decisions must be made, “we will always make our decisions with the students in mind. It is not about us, it is about them.”
This pledge launched the second theme of the session – providing excellent customer service to B-CU students and parents. A core value underlying President Reed’s concept of “A Caring Community,” all faculty and staff were reminded of the importance of supporting the needs of our students and their families – whether that means providing one-on-one mentoring or helping a student or parent manage through an administrative problem.
Dr. Dorcas McCoy, president of the B-CU Faculty Association and Mr. Anthony Owens, president of the B-CU Staff Association also addressed their assembled colleagues with messages focusing on financial stewardship, customer care, and mutual accountability. “Waste not an opportunity to be good stewards and provide excellent customer service,” urged Mr. Owens. “You are on the front lines with our students every day.”
Dr. McCoy asked her fellow faculty members to be more aware of the high cost of text books and other requirements impact students, while appealing to them to “collaborate, unite, and strengthen our product to reach our diverse students.”
All of the speakers stressed that while today’s economic climate is challenging, B-CU’s best days are ahead. As Dr. Bryant noted. “If you believe in the mission of Bethune-Cookman University, you see clearly the possibility of being even greater because of the challenges that face us today.”
About Bethune Cookman University:
Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers more than 40 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 4,000. For more information, visit www.cookman.edu.