To the editor:
In the Oct. 19 issue of The Rider News, James Shepherd reported on a forum on the university’s strategic planning process hosted by President Gregory Dell’Omo. The planning process described seems useful as Rider needs to be clear on where it is going, and it is commendable that the process permits collaboration and the contribution of different views. I used to teach that all of us are smarter than any one of us. The outcomes from this process will be most useful for the medium and long-term.
What concerns me is that participants in this process, particularly central members of the administration, will be heavily involved in this engaging and complex process between now and its February deadline. That’s a period of about four months, and the strategic plan may not be fully complete and finished by then. Time management was a topic covered in the management skills course I taught in the College of Business, and an important principle in time management is to work on the urgent and important tasks first.
Where time needs to be applied now, it seems to me, is on tasks central to dramatically improving student enrollment and university revenue — revenue from enrollment, but also from selling naming rights, obtaining endowments for named chairs and gifts for particular purposes, and from contributions to the university’s endowment fund. The endowment fund generates interest that is used to pay for operating expenses, and it is low compared to other private universities in the area. The short-term goal must be to put an end to the deficits. New thinking, greater effort, and perhaps new and additional staff have to be applied to these tasks as they have been elsewhere, and they need to be applied now.
A return to fiscal health will hopefully bring an end to the persistent stream of requests made by the university’s administrators for significant concessions from the committed educators and many others who comprise the Rider family. We are there for students, and we are here for the long-term. I do not believe that it is known how corrosive these requests and concessions are.
—Gerald D. Klein
Professor emeritus, Organizational Behavior and Management
Printed in the 11/2/16 issue.