Suggestion Box Summary

Submissions Received as of 11/06/17 (PDF)

  • Over 160 suggestions/comments have been submitted to date
  • Ideas and suggestions that are addressed in the review questionnaires are not part of this summary
  • All suggestions will be directed to the appropriate office to be considered as part of their questionnaire response process
  • Items added since last update are bolded

Tuition/Enrollment

  1. consider increasing enrollment to 3,100 – 3,200 level from several years ago
  2. certificate programs?
  3. evening/weekend programs for non-traditional age population
  4. summer courses: online, non-degree?
  5. evaluate including textbook cost as part of comprehensive fee revenue to increase bookstore revenues
  6. consider a 3-year degree program
  7. can we improve transfer policies to attract more students
  8. consider increasing the number of course collaborations with Carleton or aligning the two academic calendars to facilitate collaboration
  9. enhance experiential learning by offering $2,000 towards study abroad, internship or research funding
  10. consider a gap year or gap semester to leverage international study experiences

Technology

  1. conduct a utilization study of student computer labs to determine if # of labs and machines could be reduced
  2. explore a “go paperless campaign” to reduce paper and printing costs
  3. eliminate individual office/department printers and utilize multi-function copier fleet on floor or multi-department arrangement
  4. eliminate office phones and implement other voice technologies
  5. conduct an inventory of software purchases and eliminate redundancies
  6. identify existing technologies that could be leveraged to replace other things, example: digital signage replaced by mobile apps, R25 replaced by Google scheduler
  7. are there technology partnership opportunities to operate the bookstore, or certain functions of the bookstore, i.e. use ecampus.com for textbook operation

Events

  1. reduce the amount of food served at events and meetings
  2. expand external events business (weddings, reunions, etc.) to more fully utilize facilities during slow times; generates revenue from Bon App
  3. conduct a return on investment analysis of events to determine if all are necessary, or should be scaled back

Facilities

  1. invest in modern residence halls to meet student needs and provide revenue opportunities for expanded camps/clinics
  2. invest in more renewable energy sources if return on investment is positive
  3. increase sustainable plantings to reduce the amount of green space that requires maintenance
  4. explore the opportunities to generate additional revenue with the use of College land, i.e. Ole Village, land leases, etc.
  5. consider motion sensor timers for lighting in areas not currently monitored
  6. consider consolidating similar functions that now occur in more than one building into a single building, example: student student centers or multiple libraries
  7. centralize evening/weekend study areas to reduce having all buildings open into the evenings

Benefits

  1. explore the possibility of creating, or participating in, a health insurance consortium
  2. explore flexibilities regarding flex time, summer hours, closing between Christmas and New Year
  3. consider employee health care cost based on a percentage of salary
  4. consider incentives for covered employees who can get health care coverage elsewhere
  5. compare St. Olaf’s benefit package against peer and aspirational organizations and recommend changes to current policies (Benefits Review Group)

Staffing

  1. There were many suggestions for individual positions to be examined for: restructuring within or across departments, combining positions, added value of positions, growth in staffing levels, use of temp agency, use of student work force, outsourcing, etc. The review questionnaires ask departments to address these items.
  2. consider reducing the number of sabbaticals granted each year
  3. reconsider IPAT funding
  4. identify level 100-courses within one’s department and over the summer reassign a 100-level substitute for the low enrollment course; the reassignment would benefit first-year students who would have another course offering to choose from in the fall (or possibly interim)

Ice Arena

This facility is the only “brick and mortar” component of the $200M comprehensive campaign. As such, it is being funded with $6M of donor contributions, or 3% of the total campaign, and leveraged with St. Olaf capital funding that would have been invested in the facility regardless of whether or not an arena were constructed. The project is moving forward because to delay it will increase cost. We have been advised that construction materials predicted to increase three times the current cost by next spring because of demand in the Gulf Coast and Florida created by this fall’s hurricanes. Delaying this project would mean that capital funding for other projects in the queue be redirected to the ice arena. This project also provides revenue opportunities for student recruitment and camps/clinics.

General

  1. respect the dignity and value that each individual brings to St. Olaf
  2. acknowledge and allow for time needed to complete multiple major initiatives occurring along simultaneous time lines; consider “carving out” time to focus on these initiatives
  3. provide more communication regarding College finances and the various components of the operating budget
  4. identify the difference between operating budget and capital budget – two different pools of funding
  5. identify how endowment earnings are used in budget
  6. identify existing budget review and accountability processes