Appendix 2: Letter to Rochester Faculty from President Jackson, Provost Phelps, and Dean Aslin
November 16, 1995
Dear Faculty Colleague,
For much of the past year, we have been engaged in a detailed planning project to bring the future of both the College and the University into clearer focus. The forces that encouraged a period of expansion in higher education have waned, and we, along with other universities and colleges, must respond to these underlying changes. Our Plan, which the Trustees approved unanimously at their retreat last weekend, sets us on a coherent path toward strengthening our position as a major research university.
The most central issue we confront is the quality of the College and the University. In teaching and in research, we must be first-rate in all that we set out to do. These imperatives are reflected in our plan for a "Rochester Renaissance" -- so named because it reflects, in its scope and purpose, a virtual rebirth of the College. This Plan focuses intensively on quality of all that we do, because in that quality lies our future intellectual and fiscal success. Faculty quality, now high, cannot be sustained into the future without a strong fiscal base in the College. We view it as essential to make the College and the University attractive to the very best students in the country to sustain that future for us all.
The Rochester Renaissance Plan
Summary. After extensive analysis and consultation, we have chosen a balanced program of quality improvement, coupled with prudent cost reductions, a renewed emphasis on undergraduate teaching, and a specific program to increase net revenue per student in an achievable manner. Here, with details following, the key elements of the Rochester Renaissance Plan are described in broadest terms: (a) a reduction in the undergraduate student body size from 1150 per class (last year's target) to 900 per entering class, aiming towards an equilibrium undergraduate student body of 3600 (compared with the current enrollment of 4500); (b)a major program of merit aid to attract the most talented college-bound students; (c) administrative cost reductions of $5 million or more at the University level; (d) reductions in faculty size (through attrition and consensual retirement programs) from 343 to 306; (e) suspension of enrollment in four doctoral programs within the College (Chemical Engineering, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, and Mathematics) and refocusing of four others (Earth and Environmental Sciences, History, Mechanical Engineering, and Philosophy); (f) a program of administrative decentralization to bring to the College both more fiscal and programatic autonomy, as well as more responsibility, and together, a coherence of academic program and administrative structure that the College does not now have; (g) smaller sections to teach, and greater rewards for excellence in undergraduate instruction; and (h) enhanced efforts to improve co-curricular activities for undergraduates.
With the Trustees' commitment to a horizon of five years to evaluate this Plan, we can look forward to an environment with stronger students, smaller classes, no faculty search cancellations, no salary freezes, and indeed, raises competitive with the university world in general, and a program of infrastructure investment including not only the physical plant of the River Campus but also the vital set of information resources such as the library, computer networks, and the like.
Programs to Improve Quality and Revenue
Undergraduate Class Size. We have chosen to limit the undergraduate class to 900 entering students -- the students who are academically best equipped to take advantage of a Rochester education. Reducing the student body may seem counter-intuitive, given that, from one perspective, reducing the number of students would seem to worsen, not improve, our pressing fiscal problem. However, just as the problem is not static, our solutions must also not be static, but must take a many-year perspective. We must focus on a coherent vision for the University and the College, and provide a consistent message and experience both to prospective and enrolling students that supports that vision. A more compact student body is the only realistic way we see to improve our attractiveness to the nation's finest undergraduate applicants (and hence, net revenue) with sufficient speed, and visibility, so that we will become more selective and generate enhanced net tuition revenues. All other options we have considered would entail even deeper and more painful cuts than the one we have chosen. We believe, after extensive analysis, that this strategy, although not without risk, is indeed the most cogent and promising one to follow. The magnitude of the investment from the endowment required over the next five years stands at considerably less than was used during the recent faculty upsizing (and then downsizing), or (in equivalent buying power), the 1970s investment in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. One important feature about this decision is that, if it works less well than we have anticipated on the basis of studies we have conducted, we can reverse the decision readily without causing major dislocation or trauma within the College and the University.
An essential consequence of reducing each entering undergraduate class to 900 is that our most gifted new students will find themselves, immediately next year, among a more even cohort. Our analysis of recent applicant pools confirms that, even without second-round quality improvements that should follow, this reduction in class size, coupled with a merit aid program described below, will immediately increase the average SAT score of the entering class to above 1200 (old scale). We as faculty will see immediately the impact of this change in our classes -- a benefit that we all can share. As important will be the "external" effect of this shift; second-round positive effects on applications and enrollments should follow. The outcomes discussed here retain our full commitment to campus diversity as an essential element of the educational environment stands at the core of a university.
To keep the enrollment stable at about 3600 students, we will continue to bring in transfer students to the College to offset departures that inevitably occur. We believe that we can continue to improve on retention of those students we admit directly from high school (as we have over recent years), and feel confident that a high quality pool of transfer applicants will ensure that we can keep the College undergraduate population stable at our target of 3600 students through this approach.
Other gains emerge from this plan. First, our selectivity increases. For an entering class of 1125 to 1150, we must admit, from our current applicant pool, a relatively high proportion of applicants (approximately 65 percent). Selectivity matters to prospective students and their parents,
Second, and perhaps less obviously, at our current undergraduate size, we have ceded what can and should be our most distinctive educational niche -- a small research university. The College is simply too close in size to that of Ivy League (and other comparable) institutions to create a perceptible distinction in the market place. By becoming more clearly differentiated from other institutions (colleges and universities alike) -- and size is an important, and visible, way to do it -- we believe that the College will further strengthen its applicant pool.
Third -- perhaps as important if less tangible -- the character of the institution has changed with its growth from 3500 to 4500 undergraduates. The consequences of the increased class size have been many, including the loss of the essential residential college nature of Rochester, and the capacity and cost pressures on dormitories, classrooms, laboratories, dining services, recreational facilities, the student union, and campus parking, not to mention faculty and staff.
Fourth, with the planned and necessary reductions in faculty size to 306 (see below), a student body of 4500 would result in a student/faculty ratio of nearly 15:1, far higher than at any time in the history of the University, and higher than virtually every college and university with which we compete. A combination of 306 faculty and 3600 undergraduates brings the ratio of students to faculty down to 11.6:1, a significant improvement even over the current ratio of 13.1:1.
With that more compact student body size as an essential ingredient, and with other programmatic initiatives designed to build on our strengths as a residential institution, we believe we can target, not immediately but over a reasonable course of time, a 125-point increase in average SAT scores (old scale) per class from the current level of last year's entering class, and an increase of $3000 (to $12000) in average net revenues per student (in 1995 terms) over the current entering class -- goals which are set below the mid-point of a set of other relevant institutions. Many other colleges and universities, without the faculty and program quality found at Rochester, achieve those targets now, and we see no reason why they are not achievable by the College with careful planning and coordinated effort of the faculty and the administration.
Simple arithmetic will show that, upon reaching this goal, the College will have about 10 percent greater total tuition revenue than it now has with a student body of 4500 undergraduates. It is absolutely imperative that the faculty and staff work in concert to achieve this goal; the alternatives are expenditure reductions far deeper than we are implementing as a part of the Renaissance Plan.
Establishing Merit Aid Programs. From an experiment we conducted last year, we know that merit aid, offered to selected out-of-state students, doubled the yield on high-quality students. (Since this program was not advertised to the applicant pool, it did not in this case affect the number of applications. By contrast, the Meliora Grant program increased applications from New York State students by 22 percent.) We also learned that an offer of $3000 alone to an otherwise-unaided student had little effect on yield. Offers of $5000 to $8000 had dramatic effects. We have used information from that experiment to design a merit program for the class we are recruiting to enter in the fall of 1996, one which targets students with SATs above 1350 (new scale).
Timing. Reductions in class size and the awarding of merit aid will begin immediately. Since this only affects the entering class, this provides an automatic phase-in over four years -- which is neither too precipitous nor too slow. Waiting serves no purpose, and phasing in with smaller reductions (e.g., 1,000 per class) blurs the effect of our intended changes.
Dynamic Effects. Early improvements in student quality (and tuition revenues) will lead to later improvements in these areas as well. We are confident that higher average student quality will in turn attract applications and enrollments from more of the nation's best undergraduate applicants. Similarly, as we become more selective, we will have more students enrolled who made Rochester their first -- not a second or third -- choice. This will enhance student morale and engagement with the College.
We acknowledge that the course we have laid out cannot be guaranteed to work as planned, although we have good reason to believe that it will. The Trustees have offered their unqualified endorsement for this course of action over a five-year period, recognizing the immediate revenue consequences of a reduced class size. Despite the risks, we feel confident that this course offers a significantly better prospect for a greatly renewed and improved College and University than other courses open to us (as discussed subsequently). It also contains the promise of a true renaissance of the College, a promise that we believe stands a high chance of fulfillment.
Cost Controlling Measures
We cannot stake the University's future entirely on the revenue and quality increases discussed above; they must be coupled with serious steps toward reduction of the costs of operating the College and the University. The Plan, as adopted, includes the following measures.
A. Administrative Costs Imposed on the College and Other Academic Units
We believe that it would be irresponsible to consider significant reductions in faculty and academic programs without first seeking every opportunity to reduce other cost components of the University. To this end, we continue a major administrative review of every facet of the University, from telecommunications to purchasing services to the organizational structure of student services, designed to eliminate duplication and, where possible, both increase service and reduce costs.
We have identified a series of administrative cost reductions that we believe can be achieved, without harming the nature of service provided, reductions of at least $5 million annually for the University, approximately $2 million of which will directly help to resolve the financial problems of the College. Some of these reductions will be obtained through outsourcing of services currently provided directly by the University, in part following upon recommendations from the Administrative Cost Review Task Force's report from the past spring.
B. Academic Program and Faculty Reductions
The growth of our faculty and academic program, in common with other higher educational institutions, has overtaken our ability to garner revenues, and we must responsibly seek reductions in expenditures as a part of the overall balancing of revenues and costs. Our analysis has led us to conclude that a College faculty size of approximately 306 is sustainable, given the revenue increases that we reasonably can anticipate through plans discussed above, down from our current faculty size of 343, and from an all time high of 393. To the extent that sustainable revenue growth actually hits or exceeds our long range goals, this target faculty size could be increased, but until we have proven our ability to sustain that growth, it would be irresponsible to suggest any larger faculty size than the 306 indicated here. Increasing beyond our sustainable size brings the painful necessity of a later downsizing, such as the one we have recently experienced, and we would not willingly set the College forth on such a path again.
We also strongly believe that it is necessary to focus our efforts in graduate education more carefully. The logic for choosing which programs to pursue with vigor, which to curtail, and which to suspend, is consistent with the College Vision statement distributed to you earlier this year, revised in light of your many thoughtful comments; the revised version accompanies this letter. We can continue to support graduate education (which, in general, is not self-sustaining financially) only where it supports undergraduate education, the creation and dissemination of new knowledge, or both, with a quality of graduate education that adds luster to the University, or can be brought to such a level with reasonable investment of resources. While we do not intend to discuss in this memorandum the decisions about PhD program suspension on a case by case basis -- Dean Aslin's accompanying memorandum is designed to do that -- we believe firmly that this set of decisions, combined with the faculty reductions we have planned, creates a focused use of resources in doctoral education that serves the College mission better than any other sustainable set of programs we can envision.
Our focus on the institution's quality, in its core faculty, and -- because of its centrality in supporting all else that we wish to do -- in the undergraduate student body and the environment in which they learn and live, rests in considerable measure on the vision we hold for the College. That vision encompasses the dual teaching and research missions of the College and the University. This commitment to research stands as a central part of the very self definition of the University of Rochester, and must continue as a central feature as we reshape ourselves for the future. We wish to reemphasize here the importance of research and scholarship by all our faculty. As a part of the Rochester Renaissance Plan, we will necessarily bring to a close enrollment in some doctoral programs in the College, thereby -- without question -- altering the nature of research carried out by faculty in affected departments. We are completely convinced, however, that research and scholarship can and must continue in all cases -- those with continuing doctoral programs, those with refocused doctoral programs, and those where doctoral enrollment will be suspended. The style of research will change in some cases, and we will need to (and are committed to) providing new resources as necessary to support the research and scholarship of all faculty across the College.
For doctoral programs remaining in the College, we hold high expectations for their future success and achievement. Many of those programs now reside in the top quarter to top third of all programs in their disciplines. While our programs operate with an intrinsic handicap of small size, we set forth an admittedly ambitious goal of seeing most, if not all, of our doctoral programs achieve that stature in the future. Careful faculty recruiting, stronger doctoral stipends, and thoughtful consideration of new opportunities we will face in the future, can all help support our success in this part of our quality-related endeavors.
We have paid special attention to the question of whether we can maintain (and enhance) our reputation as a national research university with somewhat fewer PhD programs. The companion memorandum from Dean Aslin outlines why we believe that our plan, which includes a more focused set of PhD programs, will not jeopardize our overall reputation as a first-rate private research university.
Dean Aslin's memorandum discusses the specific doctoral program decisions more fully. In brief, programs that will have enrollment suspended immediately are: Chemical Engineering; Comparative Literature; Linguistics; and Mathematics. Four other doctoral programs (Earth and Environmental Sciences, History, Mechanical Engineering, and Philosophy) will be retained in a more focused form, subject to approval of a strategic plan developed by each department's faculty.
Some Interactions Between Proposed Changes. Although we have highlighted some of the interactions between these proposed changes, several deserve special mention. We have noted the improvement in student/faculty ratio through these changes, despite the reduction in faculty size. We will also see effects as a consequence of the shift from graduate to undergraduate teaching. These changes, combined, reduce the average size of each course section (a "class") from the current level of 35 students per section to under 30 per section. This will greatly increase the number of small classes available for undergraduates, including most importantly for student retention, first-year Quest courses. Thus, the faculty downsizing, doctoral program enrollment suspension, and curricular reform all come together to achieve the goal of improved undergraduate teaching, and hence, improved outcomes in student quality and revenue.
Process Used in Formulating the Plan
The process of analysis, evaluation, and deliberation for possible courses of action included a number of discrete steps:
A conscious effort of self-def@tion, including development of a College vision that, in significant part, rests on the new curriculum adopted by you, the College faculty, this past spring.
An historical analysis of our past successes and failures, exploring relevant causes.
A comparison of financial status and student quality with actual and "aspirational" peers.
A delineation of available options, and careful analysis of their consequences for student quality and financial outcomes.
The development of measures of quality of our teaching and research programs, both internally and by use of the recently-issued National Research Council study of graduate programs.
A rigorous understanding of the productivity in teaching and research of each department in the College, through a process initiated by President O'Brien, that provided data on each department's teaching efforts, space use, costs, and research output.
More than 75 one-on-one discussions with College faculty about their departments' quality, interrelationships with other programs, and consequences to them of having their department size reduced (or increased) and (if necessary) having enrollments in their doctoral program suspended. This process also involved discussions with all deans in the University, to make certain that programmatic changes would not affect them in unanticipated ways, as well as discussions of the general directions and goals with the Cabinet of Department Chairs in the College and the steering committee of the Faculty Council of the College.
An extensive series of written communications with yoi4 initiated by memoranda from us to help illuminate the problems we confront (January, 1995), the process we initiated to bring your input into the decision making process (March, 1995), and the general outlines of the conclusions we had reached (September, 1995). In each case, we have received significant and valuable input from many members of the faculty of the College to help guide our thinking.
Discussions of directions, assumptions, and details with individual Trustees.
No change from the status quo is painless, and no reasonable course of action is without risk. Nonetheless, we believe there is a way to emphasize and build upon our strengths, while at the same time recognizing the fiscal realities that press upon all institutions of higher education. Some within the College will, at least in the short term, see themselves as adversely affected by the reduction in size or suspension of enrollment in graduate programs, by the reduction in faculty size, or both. We hope it will be clear to all, however, that we must proceed with the changes that are necessary to the long-term success of the College.
We believe, based in part on extensive discussions with you over the past year (including the 75 visits between your representatives and Dean Aslin and Provost Phelps) that there is a broad consensus among the faculty on the need both to focus our resources and to favor quality over quantity of programs or current program size. We also believe that there is equally strong consensus that we should not reduce programs across the board. One cannot act from this premise without a concrete subset of departments that would be affected more than others (although all departments and their faculties indisputably contribute to the shaping of the overall College program). The relevant question is whether the path chosen is the most promising for the institution as a whole. We believe that it is.
Alternatives Considered and Rejected
In comparison to the Plan presented here, we think it useful for you to understand other approaches we considered, some obviously stronger than others, but all listed here for completeness. The choices we faced included the following (omitting here, for reasons of space, the full arguments for and against each alternative):
A. Follow the current path of continual cost cutting and budget squeezing, leaving unchanged the general nature of the College, its programs, and its overall size. We viewed this option as completely unacceptable, on the grounds that it would worsen, not improve our revenue potential, and simply continue to magnify existing problems as time passes.
B. Cut faculty size sufficiently so that current revenues would sustain the remaining expenditures. Such cuts could be made either uniformly across departments, or selectively, but in either case, the target faculty size that we could sustain with current revenues (something on the order of 250-275 overall faculty in the College, compared with the current level of 343) would without question cripple our ability to deliver an educational product that would meet the market test of quality and desirability. This path, too, ultimately diminishes our quality as an institution, and is likely to lead to reduced revenue in the future, putting us again out of balance. For these reasons, we firmly rejected this approach.
C. Eliminate all graduate programs in the College. This choice -- which essentially sees the University as having an undergraduate college with several professional schools -- significantly alters the nature of the University, casting away an important feature of both our self-image and external reputation. Even if it could succeed in solving our financial problems, it would place us more directly in competition with a very well-established group of liberal arts colleges throughout the Northeast and the country where we would have little comparative advantage. We rejected this option as well.
D. Eliminate "severable" portions of the College -- i.e., those disciplines not "central" to a basic undergraduate education. In reality, this would have meant -- and this was suggested to us by a number of serious commentators both within and without the College -- completely disbanding the engineering and applied sciences departments of the College. This choice, too, would have thrown away valuable and prestigious elements of the College, and perhaps more important, would not have helped solve some of the fundamental problems we confront. Since its students are, on average, neither better nor worse than others we admit to the College, eliminating engineering risks decaying the student body quality for any given undergraduate student body size, where improving that quality has been a highest priority. We did not choose this path.
E. Grow ourselves into greater excellence. This approach, at its essence, relies upon the well known relationships between size and reputation, arguing that, if we only could increase our size by x Percent (often 10-20 percent, or perhaps 50-100 percent) we would gain the national stature that would bring us students and revenue to help solve our problem. This approach suffers from several flaws. First, we would likely have to increase the size of our faculty enormously to succeed in this approach, and even then there would be no guarantee of success. We note that this essentially was the approach sought in 1986 when the endowment spending increased from 5 percent to 7.5 percent, and the faculty size from 340 to 383, without succeeding in attracting the students and revenue that we need to sustain such a strategy. In addition, this approach is very difficult to back out of (as our past five years have provided ample demonstration). We seriously doubt that we could have convinced the Board of Trustees to go down this path again, even if we believed it to be the proper choice (which we do not).
F. Continue to expand the student body to increase revenue to support the College. This approach, in some sense, mirrors the defacto strategy taken over the last 15 years, during which time the undergraduate population has increased by I 000 students. Several obvious problems come with this approach. First and foremost, added students inevitably bring with them added costs, not only of instruction, but dormitory capacity, classroom capacity, laboratories, space in the student union, dining facilities, and other areas of the campus. But most important, this approach would make us less rather than more competitive in student quality, eroding the essential nature of the College. We cannot go down this path again with any confidence that it will succeed.
G. Add new programs to attract new undergraduate students, e.g., an undergraduate business major. Particularly with a business major (discussed frequently and intensively about five years ago), we have several major concerns. First, only a few other top schools (Pennsylvania and Washington University are examples) have found this an attractive program to mount. Second, the number of intended majors in undergraduate business has plummeted steadily in recent years, now to half its peak scale, and this pool of majors has significantly lower quality than the remaining pool of college prospects. Heading in this direction would dilute our effort to increase the student body quality (see below). And finally, such a program would require expenditure of significant new resources and expand the scope of activities we undertake, conflicting with our overall desire to bring an increased focus and coherence to our undergraduate experience here. We reject this alternative as well.
H. "National Meliom." We considered as an alternative a national extension of the Meliora program implemented last year in New York State. That program was in fact quite successful in its own right; applications and enrollments increased from New York, and the combination of a stronger applicant pool from within state and our ability to substitute into that pool to replace weaker students from out of state, were in significant part responsible for an increase of 34 SAT points in the most recent entering class compared with a year ago. The program was also responsible for a modest increase in the financial outcomes of the College, compared with (to our best judgement) the alternative of doing nothing. Taking this program nationally, however, would likely lead to quite different and less favorable outcomes, and we have chosen not to do this. First, the financial consequences differ, because the mix of full-tuition and financially aided students differs greatly between in-state and out-of-state pools. This is in significant part due, we believe, to the particular competition we face from the SUNY system in New York. This and other facets of the program we learned while conducting the NY "experiment" have led us to conclude that, for outside of New York, a program focused more specifically on very high quality students would best serve the College, and we have in fact implemented such a merit aid program already for the coming class.
Our Common Task. We must all work together to bring this plan to fruition -- the future of the College depends upon successful cooperation by all. Faculty across all departments must work to enhance the undergraduate experience of our students, for our success in this arena absolutely and irretrievably defines our ability to carry out other missions of the College, including graduate education, research, and other scholarly activity, and co-curricular activities within the College. Departments that continue their graduate programs will need to focus more on undergraduate education, through innovative additions to the Quest Program and thoughtful response to the new curriculum as approved by the College Faculty Council this past spring. Departments that have had their doctoral programs suspended will need to develop their new roles in a positive and supportive fashion. Departments whose programs are scheduled for further review will have to responsibly examine the nature of operating a more focused PhD program.
Commitment to Scholarship. The change in the scope of doctoral programs in the College does not mean that we have abandoned in any way the intent that these departments and their faculty will vigorously pursue research and scholarship in their respective disciplines. Indeed, we will continue to expect and require research productivity from these faculty colleagues. We recognize that, in every discipline, there are crucial elements necessary to pursue scholarly activities. We have set aside modest funds to support the scholarly efforts of faculty in departments who will no longer carry out doctoral training, to assist in their continued intellectual activity in scholarship and research,
In programs where doctoral studies continue, we have programmed an investment in doctoral stipend levels for a number of them, in order to enhance the attractiveness of Rochester for the very best students. This step, we view, is essential to continue to attract the strongest students to our strongest programs, and it is a step we cannot afford to take while attempting to operate our current range of doctoral programs.
Rewards for Success. As the Rochester Renaissance is successful, new resources will be created to reward those departments that have been most successful in supporting the new endeavor of the College. Departments successful in attracting majors, minors, students to clusters, and high quality "service" functions (a necessary part of any college curriculum) will find new rewards in the future, in terms of higher compensation, enhanced support for departmental activities, and ultimately, in enhanced faculty positions allocated to departments. We wish to make clear that, in the new College environment, resources will flow more generously to those departments which succeed best in supporting the overall goals of the Renaissance Plan, relating both to undergraduate teaching outcomes and to the production and dissemination of new knowledge. We understand that the processes by which these goals can be accomplished vary across departments who have (and do not have) active doctoral programs, but we wish to emphasize here the primacy of the goals in both teaching and scholarship.
Other Investments. The fiscal plans we have developed include vital investment in the infrastructure of our University, both physical plant and new intellectual resources. This Plan contains a program to add (incremental over time and building to) approximately $1.5 million per year to River Campus physical plant replacement and renovation beyond current spending, to be used, for example, for classroom improvement and modernization (including computing in the classrooms), and general improvement of the campus appearance. In addition, we have set aside $.3 million per year to improve our "information" resources, including the library, computer networking capability, and related investments. (These funds are not intended to provide "end user" computing capability, which remains a responsibility of the College and individual departments, but rather for central resources that affect all faculty and students.)
Organizational Structure. To help support the new College, we will analyze the opportunities for a substantially more independent, free-standing administrative entity, in parallel with the considerable independence of the major professional schools of the University (which all have school-based admissions, marketing, and development functions, as well as dedicated separate endowments). The current College structure cannot yet support such independence, but we will move steadily towards a reorganization of functions that will lead directly to this goal. This degree of independence from central administration is a natural follow-on to the previous recombination of the Colleges of Arts and Science and Engineering and Applied Science that we introduced a year ago.
Evaluation Time Frame. We have asked the Board of Trustees for -- and they have agreed to -- a five-year horizon to evaluate the shift from the current environment to the new College, smaller in scale, more compact in its focus of graduate programs, much more residential in its nature, and with a dramatically enhanced quality of the student body. The transition will assuredly require excessive use (i.e., more than the target 5.5 percent annual draw) of the University's unrestricted endowment, but we cannot set forth on this course and then reverse it within a few years because of nervousness over whether the ultimate financial goals can be met. Thus, the Trustees have agreed to allow this Plan to proceed for five full years, allowing a full year of operation with all four classes at the newly-sized College undergraduate population, before re-evaluating the plan. As of now, the College no longer operates on a year-to-year basis, but rather on a five-year plan, so that programmatic and related objectives can be pursued clearly, consistently, and with a reasonable time horizon.
If these plans prove successful, implementation and refinement can continue apace, If the revenue gains anticipated from these changes do not emerge, several alternatives are available at that time, including (as a first step) a reversal of the decision to downsize the undergraduate class. This approach, unlike previous strategies to increase the faculty size, is readily reversible without major financial or organizational trauma to the College and the University. Together we can succeed with this plan, if all faculty and staff work to achieve it. It will require change and adaptation from many, but the potential rewards are great -- a highly focused and coherent undergraduate educational program, a significantly stronger student body, smaller classes, excellence in our graduate programs, and perhaps best of all, a stable and positive financial future for the College that we can all look forward to and depend upon. The alternatives, as outlined earlier, present a bleak picture for the College. Thus, we set forth the Rochester Renaissance Plan as the path along which we move together. We look forward with the strongest possible enthusiasm to proceeding together with you towards these new goals.
Sincerely, Thomas H. Jackson
Charles E. Phelps
Richard N. Aslin