President Hundert Speaks at Graduate Student Senate Meeting

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Thu, 03/09/2006 - 17:42.




Thursday at 12:15 p.m. Case President Edward Hundert and Provost John Anderson spoke to graduate students after a graduate student senate meeting. Hundert began by thanking the group of approximately 40 students for giving him the opportunity to answer their questions and address their concerns.



Case Provost, John Anderson 

Hundert discussed several important issues; the reason for the budget deficit,  actions being taken to reduce the deficit, and long term goals for the University.

In 2002/2003 the University began an agressive investment campaign that necessitated working with a budget deficit. When Hundert first came to the University many forums were held to find out what people wanted for the future of Case. Two ideas dominated the forums: the need for greater national visibility and the need to take greater risks because Case had long been under invested. Hunderts administration made investments like hiring many new faculty (Hundert said the new chair of the art history department, Charles Burroughs, was a major hire), building new dorms and acquiring the Triangle property. While these investments have made Case strong in intellectual capital, Case is week in financial capital. Of Case's 4 sources of income: endowment, tuition, unrestricted philanthropy, and research, two sources of income did not meet expectations. Expected income from research and philanthropy have fallen short for various unforeseen reasons. Despite this the deficit is still close to what was planned for this year in 2002/2003.

To make up for the shortfall, 17 million is being cut from central administrative costs. Hundert explained that he wants to cut only what is "not core to the student experience."  

Some may question why the University is using credit when it has an endowment of over one billion; Hundert explained that the endowment earns significantly higher interest (12-15%) than the interest on the debt (3-4%) therefore paying the deficit with the endowment would not make financial sense. 

While most would not argue that the intentions are good; Case needed to invest for the future and a stronger presence on the world stage is necessary, some students voiced concern in the way achieving those large goals effects more intimate aspects of the University. Case's Shakespeare scholar, Tom Bishop is leaving and will not be replaced.  English majors are understandabley upset and feel that the new cognitive science department is being favored. The Dean of Arts and Sciences, Mark Turner, is a cognivitive scientist who was hired to develop this department. Hundert explained that it is up to the departments to decide  what positions to fill with the funds  that are available (essentially, it is not his decision whether Case has a Shakespeare scholar or not).

Hundert's response to the no confidence vote is to build relationships person by person. He stated that his goal for a year from now is that no one would think of having a no confidence vote. Hundert said he met with Lawrence Krauss the professor who initiated the no confidence vote on Sunday and had a productive meeting. He joked that it is very hard to get good news printed in the press. The Plain Dealer has been receiving daily updates from Hundert's office, but they chose not to run the information about Hundert and Krauss's meeting.

Although I was impressed by President Hundert and found the discussion informative, I was disappointed by the low turnout for this important and well publicized event.  Drawing only 40 graduate students , in a university where 2/3 of the student body are graduate students is pathetic. Earlier in the week I was surprised that many of the students I spoke to knew very little about the no confidence vote and had not even read about it in the newspaper. Case students seem to be on the way to making Case the most uninformed, lazy and apathetic learning environment in the world.

Do you have a stake in Case? Please post your comments. 


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I thought it was funny that in their PD coverage of the Hundert meeting with the students the other day the student congress asked the media to leave when the President spoke - the PD would usually raise a stink but they let it slide, and we have no idea what is going on at one of the most important institutions in the region - state - country. So thank you so much for bringing us the inside scoop - tell us way more, and keep on the story as its the only way we can learn what is going on... and have a voice in the future of our region.

No Confidence

Evelyn, thanks for your comments.  I attended the Explanation given by President Hundert and Provost Anderson and it amounted to a series of bureaucratic failures:  renaming the school to drop the revered phrase 'Western Reserve University' in an effort to re-brand the 'world's most powerful learning environment', outsourcing staff (namely the annual fund program - a calling center for valued endowments), and not receiving anticipated grant funding were all keys to this low-point in University history.


I hope Hundert and Anderson can right ship and do something transformative with the University.  This would begin with sound organizational development consulting.  And a revenue structure that isn't majority-derived from tuition rather than endowment wouldn't hurt.  More later. 

My thoughts on this situation so far...

Nice to see Case dialog on this

Thanks for pointing this out - GREAT BLOG!!! Interesting to see the dialog among Case students and faculty. Interesting so much is about the finances, and not the causes. I guess if you are paying so much a year, you want to know it is being spent well. Seems lots of anger about "retired at work" profs milking the gravy train and trashing the school's rep... yep, sounds like ruins. Next steps?

Case administration's wisdom to community

Here's the official word to the community on the Case meltdown - pretty lame. No ability for community to engage - very top down - not inspiring. If, as Hundert says, "Success is dependent on our continuing ability to work together to provide fresh and innovative answers to the hard questions that have been posed to us", then Case is history.


One interesting twist - Hundert writes "Long term, development resources need to be repositioned to support the major-gift and annual-fund activities of our eight schools" - looks like the rebranding is about to be reversed... let's hope they buy local this time. Read the program at Case at