“We will be the number one private university on Long Island,” said Dr. Kimberly Cline, LIU’s new president, in response to critical reports regarding the university’s finances that were published this past summer.
An article published in Forbes Magazine in August, titled, “Is Your College Going Broke? The Most And Least Financially Fit Schools In America” claimed that LIU has been running at an operating deficit for the last three years.
“I think the Forbes article was really talking about issues that happened previously and so I believe that life is a runway and you have to look forward,” Dr. Cline said.
To combat low enrollment at Post, which the Forbes article estimated as the school needing to fill at least 250 empty seats in its 2017 class, the university has been targeting high school students. “I know for a fact that if we’re out in the schools and we’re out talking to principals, superintendents, and guidance counselors and we tell them enough of what we have to offer here, we’re going to have many more applications than we need to do really well,” said Cline.
One hit to enrollment, Cline speculated, happened last October. “I understand it as when Hurricane Sandy [hit] last year that was when the open house was. It was never rescheduled and that was damaging.”
Post hosts several open houses and informational sessions throughout the year. The open houses are opportunities for transfer, graduate, and high school students to learn about residence life, clubs and activities, faculty and academic programs.
“It’s not damaging permanently; it was an unfortunate incident of weather,” Dr. Cline went on to say. “Like I said, the [high school] guidance counselors recognize that we have great programs.”
In July, Newsday published an article titled, “LIU Restructured Under New President.” Professors and other employees
speaking with anonymity, according to the reporter Candice Ferette, said 25 to 30 jobs were cut.
“I started July 1, so a number of those folks were members that weren’t let go, but took early retirement in January and some other folks were at the end of June,” Dr. Cline said.
“We want people to stay here; we aren’t looking to let people go,” she added.
Also under the restructuing was the elimination of the Provost position, which was held by Dr. Paul Forestell, who was in charge of day-to-day campus operations.
Dr. Forestell is currently working as the director of experiential learning and service learn- ing, according to Cline.
Over at Brooklyn, Gale Stevens Hanes, vice president chief operating office and legal counsel, still serves as the LIU Brooklyn Provost,
Cline stated. “For now, she [Hanes] retains the title of provost and this one [at Post] technically is vacant, but we’re going through a process,” said Dr. Cline. “We’re hearing from faculty, we want to make sure it makes sense [to retain the position] and if it does, we’ll make that decision in January,” she added.
Dr. Cline spends her days between the Brooklyn and Post campuses, fundraising and meeting donors. She also spends her time talking to students and LIU community members about the changes they want to see.
“We want to hear what students want because we could all sit around a room as administrators and faculty and put things forward, but there are things that are in our head and [students] may have some different views.”
Dr. Cline has been on the job for four months and has tackled some of the challenges associated with being president. However, getting to know the students, departments, faculty members, and campuses has been one of the most exciting aspects of the new job. “We’re good, but we could be extraordinary if we all work together,” she stated.