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think faculty are pleased about the process,” she said.
Faculty are also happy that Metro State has earmarked
stimulus funding for a retirement-incentive program, the
idea for which originated from the faculty. The voluntary
program, called Capstone, allows senior faculty who want
to retire by July 2011 to shift out of the classroom and work
on special projects that will be of long-term benefit to the
school. Meanwhile, their salaries will be paid out of stimulus
funding—the total cost is anticipated to be between $1
million and $2 million, depending on the response—and
Metro State can hire less expensive faculty to fill their tenure-
track positions.
Anne Hatcher, professor of human services and co-
director of the school’s Center for Addiction Studies, is one
of three faculty members who have signed up to participate.
Thanks to the stimulus funding, Hatcher has been able to
drastically reduce her teaching load and devote her time to
designing a master’s program in her field that she hopes will
be approved and implemented within a few years.
“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to do this, because I
worked really hard to build this program, and I think this will
just make it stronger,” said Hatcher, adding that many people
have told her this is the best legacy she could leave the school.
Metro State also spent stimulus money designing
curricula so it could fast-track plans for its very first master’s
degree programs. Pending final approval by the North
Central Association of Colleges and Schools, all three
programs—in teacher education, accountancy and social
work—are slated to be offered starting in fall 2010; they are
expected to generate income within three years.
Other uses of the stimulus monies include hiring grant
writers, who are expected to be self-supporting, and paying
for scholarships and some adjunct faculty, which frees up
money from the general operating budget
for different expenditures, such as replacing
outdated equipment.
“At the very time when you would expect
the institution to be contracting at all levels,
we’ve used this as an opportunity to re-look
at ourselves and make ourselves better,” said
Cohen, the board vice chair.
Indeed, on the Metro State campus,
there is a sense that the school is gaining
rather than losing ground. In addition to
the stimulus-funded projects, Metro State
is proceeding with plans to construct both
a new student services building and a hotel
where students majoring in hospitality
will train. It is working to better serve and
recruit Hispanic students en route to its
goal of earning Hispanic Serving Institution
designation. It is laying the groundwork for its first-ever
capital campaign. And, in the interest of branding, it is
exploring the idea of changing its name to something less
“Despite everything going on around us, it feels like we’re
really moving forward,” said Sandra Haynes, dean of the
school of professional studies.
If there is a downside to Jordan’s entrepreneurial
leadership, said Phelan, it’s that Metro State may wind up
being a victim of its own success. “My worry is that if you
present yourself as too self-sufficient, the politicians will latch
onto that,” she said.
Lynn Kaersvang, the faculty senate president, shares that
concern. She gives Steve Jordan credit for going to bat for
the college, and for making the most of scarce resources. But
she wonders: “At what point does it become impossible to do
more with less? At what point does the infrastructure get thin
enough so that it just breaks?”
Freelance writer KathyWitkowsky lives inMissoula, Montana.
Founded in 1965,
Metro State
is one of the
nation’s largest
institutions, with
a steadily growing
enrollment of just
over 23,000.
Lynn Kaersvang, president of Metro State’s faculty senate, says
many faculty members are excited about the addition of new