Feb. 19, 2014

Dear Marquette Colleagues:

Since returning to Marquette last fall, I have written several times about our efforts to address the financial pressures facing American higher education. As part of this work, the deans and vice presidents conducted reviews of their colleges and operating divisions and submitted plans in December for achieving cost reductions and needed operational efficiencies. Since then, the members of the President’s Advisory Group have collaborated with leaders in the colleges and divisions to review these proposals carefully and discern how to incorporate them into our plans for the future.

With families stretched to the limit in their ability to afford additional tuition costs, these challenging times require us to take difficult but necessary steps. Only by aligning our operations and resources with our fiscal realities can we keep a Marquette education affordable for our students. We must do this while ensuring the long-term health of the university and continuing to pursue important new initiatives as called for in our strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries.

The most difficult step is consolidating work and eliminating positions in our university workforce. I am sad to share that 25 of our Marquette colleagues have been told or are in the process of being told that their employment with Marquette has ended. The employees impacted are staff; no members of the faculty are affected.

The colleagues affected by this news are wonderful people who have contributed well to the university. Each person is receiving a severance package that includes extended pay and benefits, and is being offered spiritual and career transition assistance. Individual supervisors and the offices of Human Resources and Mission and Ministry are working with them to make sure they receive the support and respect that they deserve as members of our community.

The President’s Advisory Group used the following goals and principles to guide our work on these issues: prioritizing academics and the transformative educational experience of our students; favoring solutions that improve efficiencies while conserving resources; and positioning Marquette for smaller future tuition increases and balanced budgets that continue to grow a contingency fund to provide greater financial flexibility.

Decisions such as these are among the toughest we face as university leaders.  Although Marquette has operated with positive margins for the past 16 years, they have remained thin. The decisions announced today are steps we must take to ensure the university’s long-term fiscal health.

Looking ahead, we remain engaged in a larger effort to make certain that Marquette is well positioned in a higher education environment that is both challenging and changing. Today’s reductions, combined with future employee turnover, retirements and not filling some current vacancies is expected to bring us to a total reduction of approximately 105 positions out of our current employee base of 2,800.

We are working with the deans and vice presidents on creative ideas to target new revenues, while maintaining efficiencies. We are also revitalizing our enrollment strategies to be sure we are doing our best to connect with prospective students — undergraduates, graduates, transfers, professional program and summer study participants. And we continue to focus on increasing philanthropic support for operations and current-use scholarships, in a way that has already produced encouraging results this year.

I encourage you to visit a site where you can find additional information and answers. Please seek out your supervisor for questions more specific to your area.

Thank you for everything you do to further the work of Marquette and to achieve our mission for the benefit of our students and our world. May our loving and gracious God bless all members of the Marquette community.

Robert A. Wild, S.J.
Interim President
Marquette University

Strategic Planning image

Beyond Boundaries

Branded Strategic Plan Document CoverApproved by Marquette's Board of Trustees in
May 2013, Beyond Boundaries: Setting the Course for Marquette's Future builds on the bold spirit that has always blessed Marquette University. In seeking to carry forward this tradition today, the university community collectively developed a clear vision of the qualities that must distinguish the Marquette of tomorrow. This strategic plan website was established as a vehicle for the campus community to learn about the strategic plan development and implementation process.