President Struppa gives update on financial budgets, academic achievements, and the expansion crisis

“Everything you’ll hear today is positive news,” Struppa said as he spoke to an open forum on Dec 5. Photo by Leslie Song.

President Daniele Struppa said this week that Chapman plans to spend over $20 million to fulfill the objectives of the second year in the comprehensive five-year board-approved plan.

Struppa spoke to an open forum on Dec. 5, updating Chapman’s efforts towards initiatives included in the Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion as well as a summary of the pending financial budget for 2019-2020.

Several goals such as decreasing the total number of accepted students, growing the population of first-generation and underrepresented students, offering resources for these students to succeed, providing more on-campus housing, and increasing the endowment are some of the major goals for the upcoming year, said Struppa.

Although the university is in a stable position with its finances and goal achievements, the administration is still looking for ways to grow, Struppa said.

“We need to keep being watchful. Even though we are doing well, we need to be careful of where we are,” Struppa said. “We want to create an environment where we can ensure that students succeed.”

In the past year, the university has created a Latinx and Latin American Studies minor, made progress with current construction for on-campus housing and accepted a smaller incoming class than the previous year for fall 2018, Struppa said.

The 2019-2020 budget propositions totaling over $20 million includes the largest expenditure of $8.65 million towards efforts to make Rinker campus more inclusive to the main campus, adding to the landscape plan, purchasing equipment and adjusting faculty salaries and operations.

Following that is $7.05 million towards the Fowler School of Engineering, $3.2 million towards the Chapman experience which includes adding positions to HR, IT and other departments to create a more satisfying experience for students and staff, $1.2 million towards comprehensive campaigns that deal with outreach marketing and operations funding, $350,000 towards changing student profiles by increasing financial aid for first-generation students and $293,000 towards research funding, according to Struppa.  

Chapman’s diversity project model contains five goals which include curriculum, recruitment, climate, community, and institutional prioritization.

The university wants to focus more on internal improvement beginning with staff and faculty satisfaction, said Struppa.

Wanting to create a place for faculty members that will offer excitement every day and improve their overall Chapman experience – which is the satisfaction they feel about the community and their encounters – even Struppa admits that he could see improvement in his life at Chapman.

“I don’t feel [excitement] every day. I feel it more often than I don’t, but I don’t feel it every day,” Struppa said.

The university’s budget has been approved by the Finances and Budget Committee but will be voted by the Board on Dec 10. Administrators are confident that the proposed initiatives will pass without challenge, according to Struppa.

Undergraduate tuition will see a 4.2 percent increase which is the same as last year and there will be an increase in institutional financial aid of $9.4 million, Struppa said. Increasing the endowment to support students, particularly those that are first-generation and come from disadvantaged backgrounds, remains a priority, said Struppa. The university plans on doing this by diversifying its investments to increase funds.

As of 2017, the endowment was $352,616,000. The goal is to reach half a billion dollars and the university aims for 80 percent of the endowment to go towards tuition funding, Struppa said.

“We are really committed to that long-term problem,” Struppa said.

Expansion was another topic of concern.

With a goal to house at least 50 percent of students on university property, construction is being done across from the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at the Villa Park Orchards residence hall. The anticipated completion date is fall 2019 and the structure will house 400 beds, Struppa said.

“Space is a tremendous premium,” Struppa said.

The Hilbert Museum, an art exhibition at Chapman, will also expand into downtown Orange to create an art zone for the entire city. This will also create more space for a dance studio, according to Struppa.

Plans to renovate the Davis apartments to house 600 beds, compared to the current 150, in addition to creating a parking structure away from the main campus are being discussed.

However, due to the lack of financing, these construction projects will be revisited at another time, Struppa said.

Leslie Song

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