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President Nick J. Bruno

2015 Dear Colleagues E-mails


September 29, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to confirm that our pay adjustment plan submitted to the Board of Supervisors was approved in August and became effective on September 1, 2015.  The specifics of the plan are outlined below. 

This addresses the promise which was made last year that we would make this adjustment permanent if we experienced budgetary stability.  This adjustment is not as large as I would have wished, but I am optimistic with continued growth and the stability of the State budget another can be considered next year.

I want to thank each of you for your contribution to our students and the university.  Amazing things are happening due to your work. 

  1. Classified employees will be provided a salary adjustment in accordance with Civil Service guidelines.  These will be effective 10/1/2015.

  2. Every unclassified employee (including faculty), having served 1 year before 7/1/15, will receive a $1,500 salary adjustment.  Any unclassified employee who has received a salary adjustment since 11/1/14 will not be eligible for the $1,500. 

    a. Nine month employees will receive the $1,500 salary adjustment beginning with the September paycheck and it will be distributed equitably for all nine monthly paychecks.

    b. Twelve month employees will receive the $1,500 salary adjustment beginning with the September paycheck.  Employees will receive $125 per month through June.  In June, all current employees will receive an additional $250 to equal $1,500 for the fiscal year.

  3. There was a pool totaling $59,393 budgeted for this fiscal year for market adjustments, significantly less than last year’s.  These funds will be utilized by the President, Vice Presidents, and Chief Business Officer to address market and organization issues in facilitation of our strategic plan.  Employees receiving market adjustments are not eligible for the $1,500 pay adjustment.

  4. Contract employees will not be subject to these adjustments.

  5. Per August board approval, unclassified salary adjustments will be effective 9/1/15.

  6. Employees funded from non-operating budgets (auxiliary, grants, restricted, etc.) will be subject to available funds.

If you know of employees who do not have access to email, please provide them a copy of this correspondence. 

If there are any questions, please direct to your respective supervisor who may route to the respective vice president or CBO. 

Thank you. 

 

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


June 30, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to welcome Treina Landrum as ULM's Special Project Officer and Title IX Coordinator.  Treina has been a part of the ULM family for twenty-three years in the Department of Recreational Services, where she has been serving as Director for the past fifteen years.  She brings to her new position; a strong background of policy writing, an extensive practical training background and over twenty years’ service in student conduct. 

This is a very important role due to the Federal mandates required by Title IX.  I am confident that Treina will serve the university well in her new position. 

Thank you.

 

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


June 11, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

The controversial SAVE Bill was just passed in the House.  The Senate passed it earlier in the day.  Its passage averts a possible veto and appears to provide funding for Higher Education. 

I will provide more details once available.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


June 9, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Please watch this brief video for an update on a few of our many accomplishments here at ULM.
 
It is always our commitment to guarantee that the future for our students, both current, and former is better than ever before. That is why I would like to urge you to reach out to your local legislators and encourage them to support funding for higher education in Louisiana. The budget will be determined on June 11, so time is of the essence.
 
Please visit this website to contact your local legislators.
 
Thank you for your continued support, and
 
Go Warhawks!

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


May 7, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a series of revenue measures today which could generate as much as $670 million in new revenues in support of higher education and healthcare.   The package of eleven bills passed today included reductions in tax credits, exemptions and rebates as well as a 32 cent increase in the cigarette tax. 

House Bill 1 is expected to be heard in the House Appropriations committee on Monday, May 11th, where members will begin the process of allocating new dollars.  In press statements today, Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin, said he plans to use the majority of funds to restore cuts to higher education, allocating $100 million for healthcare. 

Today was a huge step in solving the difficult task of filling the $1.6 B budget shortfall and for the state and higher education. 

Next week, members are expected to consider other revenue raising measures to fill the any gaps left for higher education and address shortfalls in others areas including:  $150M for DHH, $50M to K-12 to fund the FY 16 MFP increase and $50 million to restore cuts to other state agencies including the Department of Agriculture.

We still have a lot of work to do but I know each of us are grateful to our legislative members who made difficult decisions today and to Speaker Kleckley and Rep. Robideaux for their leadership.

Below is a summary of the bills and the new state revenues that are expected to be generated based on testimony provided today:

Description Bill #/Author Amount
Increase cigarette tax by 32 cents HB 119, Ritchie $ 68,000,000
Eliminate net operating loss carryback HB 218 Broadwater $ 29,000,000
Reduce credit for taxes paid in other states HB 402 Stokes $ 32,000,000
Modify severance tax exemption HB 549 Thibaut  -
Reduce exclusions and exemptions by 20% HB 624 K. Jackson $ 87,000,000
Reduce all tax credits by 20% HB 629 K. Jackson $ 223,030,000
Reduce rebates by 20% across the board HB 635 K. Jackson $ 5,300,000
Accelerate phase out of solar credit HB 779 Ponti $ 10,000,000
Change inventory tax credit to 75% HB 805 Adams $ 110,000,000
Cap Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit to $200 M HB 829 Robideaux   -
Suspend one cent of sales tax exemptions HCR 8 Montoucet $ 103,000,000
  Total $ 667,330,000

 

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


May 7, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Today is a critical day in the future or higher education.  Members of the Louisiana House of Representatives will consider multiple bills/actions which may result in a solution to the proposed $600 million cuts for fiscal 2016.

I urge you to contact your legislators to support those bills/actions which will prevent further cuts to higher education.  The future of our State’s economic growth depends on higher education being strong and capable of producing the graduates which are and will be needed. 

I am confident our delegation is aware of our position and are working hard to address these challenges.  However, they will be hearing from those who may be called upon to make the financial sacrifices that we have continued to make over the last six years.

Our voice needs to be heard!  The state’s economic challenges should be shared by all.   Our message is very simple: “No more cuts to higher education.”

It is particularly important that those legislators across the state that you, your family members and friends may know be contacted as well.  As you have read and/or heard in the press recently, the potential reductions will have significant problems for many or most institutions-none will be spared!

The following website will assist you in identifying legislators in different parts of the state, you will need to copy and paste into your browser.  http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/FindMyLegislators.aspx

Thank you.  

 

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


April 27, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you may receive Inside Higher Ed; however, I wanted to make sure each of you had the opportunity to read this article.  It is a good overview of what is transpiring here in Louisiana.

At this time there continues to be no definitive plan coming from the legislature.  There are a number of individual bills that are moving forward that could provide some assistance in reducing the gap; however, those will only provide minimal relief.

I continue to be told by legislators throughout the State that they do not want to cut higher education and are working diligently to avoid the massive cuts identified in the governor’s budget.  I do believe they are sincere in their commitment.

It is important that we continue the message that higher education cannot absorb additional cuts and increases in student tuition alone is not the answer.

I will keep you posted as more definitive information is available.  Thank you for your commitment. 

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/04/27/anxiety-over-massive-proposed-cuts-louisianas-colleges-felt-across-state

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


March 26, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

The University of Louisiana System’s president Dr. Sandra Woodley conducts weekly webinars on topics related to higher education.  Please find below the address for tomorrow’s session which begins at 11:30.  I have also listed the web address for those which were presented previously.  These are focused on key messages as we prepare for the upcoming legislative session and the challenges which will be faced in the 2016 budget discussions. 

It continues to be early for us to determine what the ultimate impact will be on higher education and ULM, but I want to make sure you have as much information as possible as the session progresses. 

I hope you find these insightful.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please forward to me and I will take appropriate action.

www.ulsystem.edu/budget (to register for this week’s webinar)

www.ulsystem.edu/webinar  (archived sessions)

Thank you so much for your continued commitment to higher education and ULM. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


March 23, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Please download information provided by the UL System regarding the topic of institutional closure/consolidation.

This is a topic that has been discussed for at least 30 years.  It arises during periods of financial challenges.  I have also highlighted how you can remain current on events occurring from the System’s perspective.  It continues to be too early to project what the ultimate outcome will be relative to our budget.  I will keep you informed as more information is available. 

I encourage you to visit the UL System website and when your schedule permits, participate in these webinars. 

Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


March 11, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, ULM is evolving organizationally, using the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan as its roadmap. Several long-term objectives are a marketing and recruitment plan to attract and recruit students, as well as consistent communication, both internal and external.

To that end, I am announcing an organizational change effective today to ensure ULM stays on track with its Strategic Plan.

Lisa Miller will serve as the Assistant Vice President for Marketing, Recruitment, and Community Engagement. This new organizational structure includes Recruitment, Public Information, and Community Outreach.

The goal for this organization change is to ensure recruitment, marketing, and communication efforts are intricately linked, and these efforts must focus on increasing our student enrollment. In addition, Lisa’s tenure as an educator in northeast Louisiana makes her the logical choice to be ULM’s community outreach voice to area educators, community leaders, and businesses.

I am confident Lisa’s new role will aid in the achievement of our vision to be recognized among the best-performing universities in the South. 

Those departments who formerly reported to Mrs. Miller, other than recruitment,  will report to Dr. Richters until further notice.

 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


March 5, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Tonight before the start of our men’s basketball game, Warhawks Athletics and the men’s basketball program will recognize faculty and staff who worked so diligently to address the academic challenges faced by the team four years ago.  Few can appreciate the number of hours and level of commitment required to reverse one of the lowest Academic Progress Rates (APR) in the country in 2010 at 712.

This was the first challenge presented to me upon my assuming the presidency.

These devastatingly-low academic results from our basketball program required fast and decisive action.  I was assured by Coach Keith Richard that we had his complete commitment to the team’s academic success.  Immediately, the men’s basketball program was placed into receivership.  All academic decisions, including admission of new student-athletes, was delegated to an APR taskforce.  This group was charged with developing policies to address the academic restoration of men’s basketball,  which included the writing of a progress plan to establish practice time limits, study hall requirements, and pre-screening of recruits.

This task force was chaired by Brett Bennett, with Dr. Michelle McEacharn, Karen Crowley, Barbara Michaelides, and Dr. Brian Wickstrom serving alongside him.  Meghan Mazza, Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance, served as an ex-officio member.

Tonight prior to the start of the men’s basketball game, these individuals will be recognized for their commitment to the academic progress and excellence of our men’s basketball program.  This year’s APR was 1000, which is a perfect score!  In addition, this team has won the Sunbelt Conference Academic Award two consecutive years.  Coach Richard is to be commended for his commitment to his student-athletes’ success.   The amazing turnaround we’ve witnessed in men’s basketball has truly been a team effort, with many individuals contributing to this new-found academic success.

You received an email earlier regarding a reduced ticket price for tonight’s game against Georgia State, a contest which may determine who will win the Sun Belt Conference championship.  I hope you will join me for this important game, as well as for the pre-game recognition of the APR taskforce members. 

Thank you.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


February 27, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to share the Governor's Proposed FY16 Budget Highlights, downloadable as a PDF

As you know, the full details will become clearer as the legislative sessions convenes and begins their work.  However, this provides you insights into the governor’s thoughts and possible solutions.  There is a section specifically on higher education.

This submittal has reduced the amount of reductions which had been earlier feared; however, there is a long way to go and the governor’s budget does have a $140+M reduction to higher education.  He has proposes some options to reduce or eliminate this shortfall including credits on increased tuition, increasing graduate tuition and possibly a cigarette tax. 

Once again it is too early to conclude where our funding will be for the next budget year.  I will provide information as this process proceeds. 

Thank you and have a good weekend. 

 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


February 26, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Please click this link for information I received today regarding the actions being taken by higher education leadership regarding the upcoming budget process.  I will forward additional information as I receive it. 

You may wish to subscribe to Dr. Woodley’s web casts to follow the budgetary process.  The legislature does not convene until April, so there will be considerable discussion prior to and during the legislative process.  I urge each of you to remain informed. 

Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


February 18, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

I am sure you have heard about IBM’s decision to locate here in Monroe. This facility will support CenturyLink as well as some of their other customers.

I have been aware of this for some time but had signed a non-disclosure agreement due to the sensitivity of the negotiations. ULM will be the lead university in assisting IBM with training individuals for their facility. LaTech and Grambling will also participate.

There is $4.5 million allocated to this workforce development component of their contract with Louisiana Economic Development. I have been told by LED officials that ULM will have $3 million of those training funds. I expect formal agreements will be executed shortly. 

In addition, the state is financing part of a facility which will house IBM’s operations in Monroe. This will be located  in a new mixed use development across the street from CenturyLink’s headquarters on Hwy 165. Final details have yet to be completed, but preliminary discussions will result in ULM benefiting from that also.

IBM will begin working with appropriate university administrators to begin the process of increasing the number of completers in several disciplines which will be an expectation of our agreement with the state. I am confident we will be successful, which will lead to additional opportunities for our university. 

This is great news since it recognizes the importance of ULM to our region and the corporations who are choosing to locate here. This solidifies ULM’s position among higher education institutions in Louisiana and provides recognition as to the value of a ULM  degree.

Thank you all for your continued commitment. Your hard work despite our challenges has resulted in this opportunity. I am confident there will be more opportunities in the future. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


January 9, 2015

A message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to share this article with you.  We are very early in the FY 2016 budget development process so I am confident there will strategies formulated to address the budget challenges.  I will continue to keep you posted as more information becomes available. 

I appreciate your continued commitment and confident we will have a very good semester. 

 

Oil prices could lead to future cuts to colleges and universities

Mark Ballard | mballard@theadvocate.com

Jan. 09, 2015

Continuing low oil prices, while a boon for drivers, mean state government again must readjust its finances in the middle of the fiscal year; and they mean probable cuts — up to about $300 million — in state funding for colleges and universities next year.

Kristy Nichols, the governor’s budget architect, said Thursday that the exact numbers are still being calculated, but her best guesstimate is that the Jindal administration, which went through a similar $180 million exercise a couple months ago, will have to find another $50 million, perhaps $100 million, in cuts and other adjustments this month to balance the budget year that ends in June. The state’s colleges and universities were shielded the last time and hopefully won’t lose state funding in this latest round of budget adjustments.

But the low oil prices also mean less state revenues for fiscal year 2016, which starts July 1, and that’s likely to mean cuts to higher education.

“At this point now, midyear, we’re at a wait-and-see posture,” said Nichols, the state’s commissioner of administration. “Next year is a bit different. The gap that we are trying to solve for, especially in light of the adjustment for oil prices, simply requires that everyone is going to have to see some reductions. There’s simply no way around it.”

Nichols’ aide Meghan Parrish said the administration is looking at $200 million to $300 million in cuts for higher education institutions, but the actual number depends on how a lot of things play out.

The governor’s budget recommendations for fiscal year 2016 are due to lawmakers by Feb. 27. Legislators will work on a final version of that 2015-16 budget during their next regular session, which runs from April until mid-June.

Senate President John A. Alario, a member of the four-member board that determines how much money state government has available to spend, says the word he is getting — as the fiscal staff and state economists run the numbers — is that a readjustment for this fiscal year is necessary. But the market for oil continues to slump, and that spells danger for higher education budgets.

“I’m afraid, if it’s big enough, there won’t be any other place to go to spread it around as happened in the past,” said Alario, R-Westwego. “The oil prices, while it helps the consumer at the pump, it has a big effect not only on the state revenues but what it means for the future.”

University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley, who is in charge of nine universities with about 90,000 students, said higher education leaders have been holding various meetings, including strategy sessions about the budget, in preparation for next year.

“There are some concerns that the drop in oil prices and other things might make unexpected problems,” Woodley said.

From 2008 to 2013, higher education faced annual cuts in state revenues, totaling roughly $700 million.

According to an analysis from the national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Louisiana’s funding for colleges and universities during that period fell $5,004 per student — more than any other state.

State Senate Finance Chairman Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, said cutting another couple hundred million would have a devastating impact on higher education in Louisiana.

“I’m not sure at this point what it will do, but it won’t be pleasant. We have to do everything we can do not to make those cuts,” Donahue said.

But the drop in oil prices will probably end up having a $500 million impact on the state’s revenues next year, which will be on top of an expected $1.4 billion shortfall for fiscal year 2016, beginning July 1, he said.

“We’re not going to have the money that allowed us to have some flexibility in the past,” Donahue said. “We need to come up with permanent solution.”

He proposes looking hard at the exemptions and credits that reduce the amount of revenues coming into the state.

As it would turn out, LSU economist Jim Richardson, one of the four members of the Revenue Estimating Commission, also is compiling a report for legislators on exemptions and the tax code. His recommendations will be ready in early March.

Richardson also predicts the REC will reduce the revenue forecasts for the rest of fiscal year 2015 when the group meets on Jan. 26.

“But the real issue will be adjustment for fiscal year 2016,” Richardson said. “If you look at how the market is playing out, it’s a safe bet. We won’t know that much more in a couple weeks. We’re going to have to be very cautious.”

Severance taxes, royalties and other energy-related revenues were supposed to account for about $1.3 billion of the $10.6 billion raised from Louisiana sources in the fiscal year that ends on June 30.

The revenue estimate for the original budget calculated the price of Louisiana Sweet crude averaging about $95.80 per barrel for the year.

In November, after the price of oil dropped $14 a barrel, the Revenue Estimating Conference revised projections down to $81.33 per barrel. Additionally, the state failed to bring in as much in personal income taxes as hoped.

The REC’s decision (http://lfo.louisiana.gov/files/publications/November_2014_Volume3_Issue6.pdf) required Nichols and the Jindal administration to juggle about $180 million of spending to balance the budget. Additional money from a tax amnesty program, fees charged to drivers without automobile insurance and other sources were found. Some properties were sold, travel was curtailed and money appropriated for programs that didn’t attract as much interest as predicted was diverted.

The price of oil is hovering around $50 a barrel for Louisiana Sweet, the crude oil on whose price state government sets its calculations.

For drivers, the drop in price is good.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Louisiana is $2.01. On this day a year ago, the average was $3.14 per gallon.

These low prices put about $550 additional dollars in the pockets of the average family over the year, said Gifford Briggs, vice president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, a Baton Rouge-based group that represents oil drillers and the companies who service them.

The private sector energy companies are scaling back work, but layoffs and shutdowns won’t really be felt for a few more months of lower prices.

“The Acadiana service companies are likely to feel this eventually,” Briggs said. “But the first to feel the impact is the state budget.”

 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Nick J. Bruno
President


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