Faculty Assembly presentation announces planned financial deficit

by Katherine Burns / Beacon Staff • February 25, 2016

At the faculty assembly on Tuesday, it was announced that Emerson will likely have a planned financial deficit in the 2018 fiscal year.

Maureen Murphy, vice president for administration and finance, said this deficit is a result of the renovations to the Little Building. Because a third of on-campus students live there, the college will lose the room and board revenue. It’s expected to be just under $7 million, Murphy said.  

Murphy said the sum of the budget surpluses from the last two years—approximately $7.4 million in total—will exceed the deficit. Murphy built these in because she expected the shortage. Both exceeded the prediction, and Murphy said the college has budgeted another surplus for 2020.

Murphy said she will be bringing these numbers to the Board of Trustees next week for approval.

There was a 4.4 percent increase in student enrollment for 2017, according to Murphy. She said this is expected to continue increasing in part due to the new residence halls.

At Tuesday’s meeting, President M. Lee Pelton said that the college hopes to increase alumni endowments in the future. Pelton said that 40 percent of the 30,000 Emerson alumni graduated within the last 10 years due to Emerson’s increasing size. He said this demographic is not equipped to give large endowments to the school, but suggested the launch of a campaign in the next nine months to help develop a philanthropic culture.

Amy Ansell, dean of liberal arts, also discussed changes to course evaluations for this semester. Ansell said the main difference is that the course evaluation will be less instructor-centric.

The new course evaluation will include a student self-assessment, instructor assessment, and assessment of the course itself.

Amy Vashlishan Murray, assistant professor in the institute of liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies, also participated in the course evaluation revisions. She said the numerical questions will now include a limited text box to allow students to justify their answers.

The assembly voted in favor of adding these changes to course evaluations.