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Fall Town Hall for Faculty, Staff

10/26/2016
Plans for New Business Facility and Other Important News Shared at Iona’s Annual Fall Town Hall

Architectural rendering of new business building
Faculty, administrators and staff members came together in Spellman Hall’s Thomas J. Burke Lounge Tuesday afternoon, October 25, for Iona College’s Annual Fall Town Hall Meeting. Among other topics discussed was an update on plans for the new School of Business building, which is scheduled to break ground as early as late spring contingent on continued strong fundraising and requisite City of New Rochelle approvals. Town Hall Meetings are held in an effort to share important information and provide open opportunities for senior College administrators to answer faculty and staff questions.
 
Enrollment
Leading off the presentations was Lauren Mounty, Ph.D., interim vice president for Enrollment Management, who shared some of the progress in recruiting the new class for fall 2017. Mounty discussed the Comprehensive Enrollment Plan, which brings together efforts from across campus and the extended Iona community to inspire students to enroll and succeed at Iona College. Mounty discussed yield and summer melt prevention initiatives (“melt” is the admissions’ phenomenon in which students who have deposited decide for various reasons before fall matriculation not to attend). Mounty also discussed plans to engage students and make more effective personal connections with undergraduate prospects.
 
Town Hall Fall 2016The Junior Faculty Award was presented to Thomas Moretti, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, during the Annual Fall Town Hall Meeting.
Retention
Vincent Calluzzo, Ph.D., provost, shared an update on work to improve the College’s retention of students, including expanding hours of the Rudin Center, identifying and intervening with at risk students,  and creating a strong sense of community and Iona identity with incoming and continuing  students.
 
“Our goal for retention is 85 percent,” Calluzzo said. “We have a lot of work to do, but I’m encouraged by the collective efforts and planning.”
 
Fundraising and Iona Forever
It’s been just over a year since the public launch of the Iona Forever campaign, said Paul J. Sutera, senior vice president for Advancement & External Affairs, which now stands at nearly $80 million, thanks to the College’s alumni, friends, faculty and staff.
 
Iona Forever is our historic $150 million initiative to increase student scholarships, advance our world class faculty and programs, and enhance learning and living environments on the beautiful Iona campus.
 
College Finances
Anne Marie Schettini-Lynch, senior vice president for Finance and Administration, shared the College is fiscally sound, allowing a continued focus on affordability for students and their families. She noted the important work being done to curb tuition increases to the lowest levels in almost 15 years and raising scholarship funding for students. She commended the College on its judicious use of resources during a very stressed time in higher education. Although the 2016-2017 budget included no raises, Ms. Schettini-Lynch is working with the Budget Committee to rework the budget to responsibly fund a 2 percent raise pool allocation, inclusive of funding required due to FLSA changes (which may be as high as 1 percent).  This would be in addition to the increases that have already occurred and continue to occur this year resulting from phase 1 of the compensation study, which in aggregate amount to approximately 2 percent. 
 
Ms. Schettini-Lynch underscored that the changes required by the federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) will require Iona and other colleges and employers to ensure that individuals currently exempt from overtime earn a minimum salary or be eligible for overtime – a requirement that will impact the College’s budget. She closed by noting this year’s Committee on Budget is recommending the raise pool be increased by an additional 1 percent, which is above the recommended amount. Schettini-Lynch is supportive of the increase, but noted it will require cuts to the existing budget and she will work with the committee to evaluate budget cuts and to determine if the recommendation is feasible.
 
Architectural rendering of new business building
New Business School Facility
President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., and CFO Schettini-Lynch shared plans and architectural illustrations of the new School of Business building that will be constructed utilizing the front fa├žade and iconic cupola of Hagan Hall – yet will add considerably to the size and quality of space available for student, faculty and others in the Iona community.
 
“This is our first new academic building in over two decades. Importantly, the design incorporates the history of Iona while embracing the future,” President Nyre said. “We are grateful to the students, faculty and staff who met regularly to provide the architects valuable input to ensure the building meets the needs of the Community well into the future. I am grateful to Mr. LaPenta for his historic gift.”
 
Ms. Schettini-Lynch added, “It’s important to understand the project is being funded thanks to donors, not through the operating budget.”
 
See more about the new School of Business project.
 
Following updates from across the College, Vice Provost for Student Development Denise Hopkins facilitated a question and answer opportunity in which faculty and staff asked about how they can help with retention efforts.  Additional questions related to the timing of the business school building were addressed by President Nyre, who noted that timing for construction is dependent on zoning approvals and fundraising, though the goal is to break ground spring or early summer 2017 and the facility being completed within 18 months. Working with the business school and registrar, classes and other functions of the school will be accommodated during the construction period.

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