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Dear Campus Community,
 
I hope this message finds you well. This week has included a couple of big announcements. Earlier this week, I sent an admin general announcing the results of the comprehensive financial review our CFO Susan Simmers completed, resulting in the news of a $2.7 million deficit, but now most likely significantly more, adding in financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic. I know this was difficult news to hear and I’m sure many of you are worried about the budget.

We have years of compounded financial problems to tackle but rest assured, I have experienced these issues before and know what needs to be done to put us back on the right track. I know it’s easy to want to assign blame in these situations but focusing on solving the problem and moving forward is the best course of action.

Next week, I plan to form a campus-wide Executive Budget Committee (EBC). The first task of the EBC will be recommending budgetary actions to balance next year’s budget. The second task is to help create a larger University Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC). UBAC’s role will be to recommend the budgets for consecutive years. I really wanted UBAC in place for FY20, but we did not have enough time to properly establish it until now. Unfortunately, the comprehensive financial review took much longer than anticipated.

If you are interested in serving on the EBC, please email chancellor@msubillings.edu by 12 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21. That afternoon, Cabinet and I will determine the members of the EBC which will be announced shortly thereafter. We need strong, collaborative, and committed individuals to be part of the EBC and I encourage your participation, especially if you enjoy a challenge.

We also announced the results of the Strategic Program Alignment (SPA) phase II on Wednesday. I want again to thank everyone who participated in the SPA process and to the SPA committees who dedicated hundreds of hours to this initiative and for seeing it through. Aligning our program offerings with student and workforce demands will help MSU Billings become even more competitive and strong it its offerings and be a place where many more students will want to obtain their education from.

I know there was some confusion in the manner the Billings Gazette listed the programs that will be phased out. To help clear up any confusion, see the SPA webpage and download the SPA Phase II program phase out & maintain spreadsheet, which shows the programs that will be phased out (highlighted in yellow) and programs that are remaining by college and department. The spreadsheet has five tabs, one for each college.
 
This week, we received some good questions for the Check-in with the Chancellor video regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our fall recruitment efforts, CARES Act funding, online summer classes, and financial aid. Watch the video here to get the information. We also received some questions that were more personal in nature, and we will respond to you directly. Thanks again for submitting questions and as always, submit them by 1 p.m. on Thursdays for inclusion in Friday’s video to chancellor@msubillings.edu.
 
I would also like to remind everyone that summer classes will be online only unless we receive the green light from OCHE to move forward with in-person classes. If we do receive the green light, second semester summer classes will be conducted in person. We’ve announced that summer classes will be online on our website homepage, on the COVID-19 webpage, my second Q&A video, and on our social media channels. Please help spread the word.
 
I’d also like to remind everyone that summer and fall registration is open. Whether you’re a student, faculty or staff member, please encourage potential students or current students to register for summer and fall classes, so they can secure spots in the classes they need to take. Our Advising Center is open virtually and they have online “walk-in” hours available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through the chat feature on their webpage. They’re also available via phone at 657-2240 or email advising@msubillings.edu. For City College advising, call 247-3019 or email ccadvising@msubillings.edu.
 
I’m proud to be part of the MSU Billings family and to be working alongside such dedicated and resilient individuals. We won’t be social distancing forever, so I ask you to remain patient and strong while we, along with the rest of the nation and world work through these challenging times.
 
Please take care of yourselves, your families, and your community.
 
Be well,
Office of the Chancellor
McMullen Hall, Room 207
406.657.2300