An air of optimism filled the Auditorium at President Michael Benson’s Fall 2009 Campus Forum where he addressed SUU faculty and staff about the University’s recent accomplishments and future objectives. In addition to crediting faculty and staff for their efforts and impact, the President remained optimistic in a discussion about the University’s current economic challenges, stating “The one thing you can choose everyday is your attitude,” and “we have reason to be optimistic.”
While recognizing that the University would, indeed, need to tighten some areas of its budget, Benson emphasized that SUU is in a good position moving into a possible second round of budget cuts. Specifically, Benson noted SUU’s success in balancing growth and budget: though the University continues to increase enrollment year after year, the student body is not growing so fast that University resources can not keep stride, which is important in an uncertain economic climate.
Looking to the future, Benson plans to shift the focus from increasing enrollment to preserving quality and enhancing the SUU experience. He explained this experience as a liberal arts approach to higher education, where students gain a breadth of knowledge beyond their academic major, that enhances the depth students will continue to develop within their chosen major. Ultimately, Benson asserted, this approach will yield more well-rounded graduates prepared to critically apply their studies to myriad professional and personal opportunities.
Benson’s presentation concluded with a call to action: “Even in these tough times, many great things have happened on our campus; while the future is uncertain and will have its challenges, there is no reason why great things can’t continue to happen at SUU.”