A trustee asked me recently what I thought was the biggest challenge facing the University. My answer was quick: "We must close the gap between our aspirations and our resources."
I told this trustee I believe there are three critical issues we must address to narrow the gap:
1. We need to make wise budget decisions;
2. We need a carefully designed academic space plan; and
3. We need to greatly increase our fund-raising results.
We are gaining on all these fronts. The budget decisions of the last decade have taken us from a projected $40 million deficit in 1991 to a break-even year in 1998-99. We are engaged in the most comprehensive space-planning effort in the Universitys history. And the Commitment to Learning campaign surpassed its goal of $300 million one year ahead of schedule and is now well on the way to reaching $350 million by the end of this year. In addition, our endowment and reserves have reached the $1 billion mark, another first for Syracuse.
But these accomplishments are not enoughnot if we are to realize our vision and join the ranks of some of the more competitive institutions in the country.
Now we must set our sights on several objectives that, if met, will propel us forward. Among these is the matter of faculty compensation at Syracuse. A high-quality faculty is the key to all other aspects of this enterprise. We know that to retain the best and attract the brightest, we must do much more in this area.
Accordingly, we have launched two broad-based initiatives. The first is a strategic development fund to correct market disparities and thus bring Syracuses salaries closer to those offered by the competition. The second, made possible by an anonymous funding source, will create the equivalent of 20 to 30 Trustee Professorships and 5 Alumni Professorships. The Trustee Professorships will be given to individuals who have achieved international recognition as researchers, who are gifted teachers, and whose contributions as citizens of this campus will be most welcome. The Alumni Professorships will be given to truly outstanding associate professors who have recently achieved tenure and are on the way to becoming the academic luminaries of tomorrow.
These and other key initiatives, plus the generosity of our alumni and friends, will close the aspiration/resource gap and make this a far better institution.