Campus Update: Town Hall Meeting

October 24, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

As some were unable to attend today’s Town Hall session, I thought I might follow that event with a Campus Update via email. A recording of the town hall is available via this link.

First, the Ad Hoc Committee on Budget Sustainability has met and been charged. The body will coordinate with area Vice Presidents to address program level cuts, with recommendations flowing through governance channels up through the Cabinet. A website containing the list of members, resources, minutes, and reports of that committee is located at the following link and will be updated as information becomes available.

I have taken an interest in DSU’s recent experience regarding the processes and perceptions of budget management. I note that in both 2010 and 2014 there were budget reductions, and in both cases those reductions generated controversy within the campus community. There is no one right way to reduce spending in higher education, but there are many wrong ways to do so, and I am committed to devising a “right way” that is legitimized by open discussion and the application of appropriate criteria.

Second, the University Leadership Council (ULC) has met and has been charged. This new body takes on many of the functions of the discontinued Executive Committee. I am particularly encouraged that we will be able to show SACS a revised and effective policy operation. The formulation and review of university policies may strike some of you as tedious paperwork; but, effective policymaking is required of us as we seek re-accreditation. I am happy to report that the ULC is already taking up this necessary work. A website containing the list of members of this group, as well as meeting minutes, is located at the following link.

Third, I am grateful that Dean Vicki Bingham has stepped into the Provost role while Interim Provost Leslie Griffin is on medical leave. We are in regular (indeed, daily) contact, and I am confident that academic affairs is in good hands. Please join me in wishing Dr. Griffin a speedy and full recovery.

Fourth, I shared at today’s Town Hall meeting our efforts to meet the goals of the Centennial Campaign. My own time is increasingly devoted to meeting with individuals who are supportive of Delta State University, and I expect those meetings will bear fruit soon. Of course, a major fundraising campaign is everyone’s business, so please keep an eye out for potential supporters and identify them to our philanthropy team. We have sound interim leadership in Mr. David Gladden, and we will continue to tell our story to anyone willing to listen.

Fifth, most of my remarks were dedicated to the topic of student recruitment. Please make use of this referral link when you can.

Lastly, I wish my messages to you did not always have to include commentary on fiscal unpleasantness. During frank discussions about institutional realities, we are still surrounded by reminders of why we are here.

I am so happy when I’m in my classroom with my students (even when they don’t seem to share my glee!). I am uplifted when I walk across this beautiful campus. I am inspired when I see our students—on the quad, in the cafeteria, in competition, in performance, in the halls, and in the community. I am in awe of all the educating Delta State has done in the last century, and looking forward to being part of the educating we’ll do in the years ahead. No matter what role we hold on this campus, we serve the learning mission in our own way. Too many people in this world toil at jobs that don’t matter, doing things that don’t serve the common good. We are fortunate to escape that fate.

A few days ago, I was asked by a local well-wisher if I regretted coming to Delta State, given some of the challenges it faces. What an odd question. I am privileged to be here with you. This place fills me with gratitude and hope.

Best regards,

Dan Ennis