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Messages - The Yak

#1
Your Turn / Re: Israel
April 27, 2024, 05:01:00 PM
Seems to me that Ben Shapiro was right when he said (I'm going from memory, so it might not be exact):

QuoteIf the Palestinians / Hamas laid down their rifles, there would be a two-state solution.

If Israel laid down their rifles, there would be a genocide.

I think he's right.  FWIW.  That and, what, 8 bucks (just thinking of inflation) will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
#2
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
February 20, 2024, 04:35:15 PM
Quote from: Mark Janke on February 18, 2024, 06:05:14 PM
Quote from: Jeremy_Loesch on February 18, 2024, 05:51:08 PMAnd one other thing...if the 9 million dollar debt is roughly equal between the two campuses, why has the talk been of drastic changes at Ann Arbor and minor changes at Mequon? I know that Mequon took over Ann Arbor but is the relationship  between the two schools one of show pony and rented mule? Seems like Ann Arbor is being treated as the one who created the problem so they have to bear the brunt of the consequences.

I imagine the difference in enrollments is the main reason. Ann Arbor has about 1,300 students, which means the deficit is about $3,400 per student per year, while Mequon has about 7,700 students, which is about $600 per student per year. That means the operation at Mequon is much closer to breakeven.

Please note that our new OT/PT administrators and faculty are required to be hired 6-12 months in advance.  This is a significant cost rolled into the numbers being shared before we see any benefit and contributes to the operating deficit for FY23 of $4.7 mil.  Once we do see the benefit of these programs, an analysis done by the former CEO and former Interim President says the following: "3 years from now when these programs achieve normal capacity 5.6 mil of adtl profitability could be added to AA, making AA annually profitable."

Moreover, there are strong indications that once the investment from the endowment and advancement (fundraising) is added in, we will be in the black in terms of an increase in net assets this financial year as a university (i.e., CUWAA).

FY24 is looking like we will drastically reduce the operating deficit at CUAA.  If all things go to plan, it will be even better FY25.

What would fix a good chunk of the structural deficits is building a new dorm.

Operating deficits will be helped by: a) the new programs at the North Building in OT and PT; b) reducing the number of sports teams; and c) looking at decreasing the discount rate.  There are incremental options that can be taken.

Drastic and immediate measures that fundamentally change the campus are premature, given the likely net increase in assets, the lack of incremental steps to this point, and the support in the larger church that is clearly available.
#3
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
February 16, 2024, 01:36:51 PM
Quote from: RDPreus on February 16, 2024, 01:31:15 PMWhat percentage of the student body at Ann Arbor is Lutheran?

About 25% Lutheran, over 90% Christian.
#4
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
February 14, 2024, 06:28:11 PM
Quote from: John_Hannah on February 14, 2024, 06:09:49 PM
Quote from: The Yak on February 14, 2024, 05:55:23 PMHere's what I posted recently on Facebook:

For those who don't know, CUWAA administration is advocating for and imposing the effective closure of Concordia University Ann Arbor (the fasted growing small university in Michigan, as well as one dedicated to the proclamation of Christ).  Please see the comments (I think it's about the 7th comment in) for the email that was sent out of the blue to faculty and staff at CUAA after a "third party audit" was performed, the results reported last week, and then days later the announcement was made.

In relation to what's going on at Concordia University Ann Arbor :

"Luke 12:13–21 (ESV): 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." 14 But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?" 15 And he said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 16 And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' 18 And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." ' 20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

God is in charge at both Mequon and Ann Arbor. This is His ministry. Trust Him to provide.

Also, the whole process MUST be transparent. So far, it was sprung on us without warning from a brand new president when, overall, the university is relatively healthy financially. It's not like absorbing a year of relatively negative financials couldn't be addressed in light of the mission that God is doing here.

Why the rush? Why the lack of conversation? Why the lack of transparency? How could anyone trust this process that will effectively close the university within 2-3 weeks of an announcement whose financials were just released at the end of last week?

What were the numbers?  Why weren't they shared?  I hear that there are conflicting analyses.  Why weren't those numbers also shared?

And most importantly, why the quick abandonment of God's work here? Every year is a year when hundreds of people are impacted by the Gospel.

What does the university stand for, anyway?

Can't we just slow this whole thing down and work it out?  What's going on here?


Are you saying that Ann Arbor is definitely closing at the end of this semester? I didn't read that into the memos to faculty and students.

Peace, JOHN

No, I am saying that the principle proposals are an "effective closure."  From what I've heard from people close to the discussions, all that will remain are a handful of largely graduate programs housed at the North Building while the main campus will be sold.  At this point due to the lack of communication, it's not even clear that church work programs will be preserved in any sustainable fashion on our campus even though they are critical to our mission.  That is an "effective closure", though not a "closure" per se.

It's also my understanding that if people will get involved ASAP, this might not happen or the damage can at least be mitigated.  I'm hopeful and prayerful that the larger church will step in -- at least to slow the process down so that other options might be considered and not on a 3 week or so timeline.
#5
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
February 14, 2024, 05:55:23 PM
Here's what I posted recently on Facebook:

For those who don't know, CUWAA administration is advocating for and imposing the effective closure of Concordia University Ann Arbor (the fasted growing small university in Michigan, as well as one dedicated to the proclamation of Christ).  Please see the comments (I think it's about the 7th comment in) for the email that was sent out of the blue to faculty and staff at CUAA after a "third party audit" was performed, the results reported last week, and then days later the announcement was made.

In relation to what's going on at Concordia University Ann Arbor :

"Luke 12:13–21 (ESV): 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." 14 But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?" 15 And he said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 16 And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' 18 And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." ' 20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

God is in charge at both Mequon and Ann Arbor. This is His ministry. Trust Him to provide.

Also, the whole process MUST be transparent. So far, it was sprung on us without warning from a brand new president when, overall, the university is relatively healthy financially. It's not like absorbing a year of relatively negative financials couldn't be addressed in light of the mission that God is doing here.

Why the rush? Why the lack of conversation? Why the lack of transparency? How could anyone trust this process that will effectively close the university within 2-3 weeks of an announcement whose financials were just released at the end of last week?

What were the numbers?  Why weren't they shared?  I hear that there are conflicting analyses.  Why weren't those numbers also shared?

And most importantly, why the quick abandonment of God's work here? Every year is a year when hundreds of people are impacted by the Gospel.

What does the university stand for, anyway?

Can't we just slow this whole thing down and work it out?  What's going on here?
#6
Your Turn / Re: Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
February 14, 2024, 10:56:30 AM
Emailed to the students yesterday:

QuoteDear CUAA students,

Earlier today, I gave an important update to our faculty and staff, and in the spirit of transparency, I'm writing to share some developments with you.

Before we get into the details, I want to assure you that your educational experience at Concordia University is our number one priority and will remain our priority.

Having said that, as part of our strategic plan, we recently completed a financial health check on our institution. Based on that financial analysis, it's clear that we must reduce our costs to operate sustainably within our existing revenues. To put it simply, we are spending more money as a university than we are taking in. This is especially true at our Ann Arbor campus despite the enrollment growth that we have experienced in the past few years. It is also true at our Wisconsin campus, though to a lesser degree.

To address these challenges, the Ann Arbor campus must be reimagined. By next fall, we must significantly reduce operations to prioritize our mission and those programs that we know can generate enough revenue to sustain its operations. It will likely involve both staff reductions and the disposition of property, facilities, and equipment. We have more time to address our financial challenges at CUW and will likely make some changes to our academic and co-curricular programming over the next few years. Our Board of Regents has been briefed on these fiscal issues. They asked for a tentative plan to address our financial deficit by the end of this month. So, I can share more details with you after we meet again with the board, likely in early March.

We will share more details as soon as we are able to. I know this news is not easy to find out, and the kinds of changes we need to make will likely cause anxiety and uncertainty. In the coming weeks, I am committed to keeping you updated and will provide the support and assistance you might need to ensure you complete your education.

In the meantime, if you would like to talk to someone who can address your concerns and help you decide whether to continue your education here or seek other options, please get in touch with your advisor or contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at caps@cuaa.edu or 734-995-7441.

The timing of this announcement was purposeful to allow students to make informed decisions about your future plans. Again, we'll likely be able to share more details in early March, and everyone will be able to finish this semester as planned. We are here to help you throughout the transition.

Grace and Peace,

Erik Ankerberg
CUWAA President
#7
Your Turn / Concordia - Ann Arbor and Wisconsin
February 14, 2024, 10:54:29 AM
Emailed to the faculty yesterday:

QuoteDear CUWAA faculty and staff,

Earlier today, in the monthly briefing, I gave a financial update, which, regrettably, was difficult news to share.

As you know, some of the most important goals of our new strategic plan involve looking realistically at the costs of operating our university campuses, demonstrating data-informed fiscal discipline and accountability, and pursuing a strategic model that will ensure our financial stability in the years ahead. As part of that process, we've been conducting a financial health check of our institution. Based on the analysis we just completed, it's clear that we must reduce our costs to operate sustainably within our existing revenues.

The situation is most acute at our Ann Arbor campus. This may be surprising to many of you since Ann Arbor has enjoyed impressive growth in enrollment over the past decade. This fall, we welcomed a record incoming class that helped take overall enrollment to more than 1350 students, the highest it has ever been.

Sadly, as many colleges and universities have discovered in these challenging times, growth alone is sometimes not enough. Although our tuition revenue has increased gradually at Ann Arbor, so too have our costs. The simple truth is this: the Ann Arbor campus faces a structural deficit large enough that it cannot be overcome without a significant change to the strategic model of how we operate.

The situation at our Wisconsin campus is slightly better but still needs attention and significant change. Here, too, we face an ongoing operational deficit created by an imbalance between the money we spend annually and the revenues we generate.

So, knowing these fiscal realities with the clarity we now possess, the question is, what do we do? First, as a relatively new president, I know that many of you are still getting to know me, and even more importantly, you are still deciding whether to place your trust in my leadership. Trust will be especially important as we navigate the financial challenges ahead, so I want to make these promises as we chart a path forward:

We will continue to live our mission with a Christ-centered focus and a deep sense of empathy for each member of our university community.

I and every member of our leadership team will speak truthfully throughout this process, and we will act with integrity, sharing our plans as they are finalized.

We will do what's necessary to ensure our financial position is strong, allowing us to pursue excellence across the university with our resources.

So, in that spirit of honesty and transparency, let me tell you everything I can at this time about the process we will follow in the months ahead.

We must move most quickly to address the ongoing operational deficit at the Ann Arbor campus. The campus must be reimagined, and we must significantly reduce operations by next fall to missional programs and those programs that we know can generate enough revenue to sustain its operations. It will likely involve both staff reductions and the disposition of property, facilities, and equipment.

We have a little more time to address the ongoing operational deficit at CUW. This will require a thorough analysis of our curricular and non-curricular programming to identify the efficiencies needed to rebalance our costs with our projected revenues. This, too, will involve staff reductions.

We wish this kind of dramatic action was not necessary. But to secure our future together as an institution, it is.

I do not have more specific information to share with you today. As I mentioned, we have only just completed our financial analysis and are still coming to terms with what it means. I briefed our Board of Regents late last week on these fiscal issues. They asked for a tentative plan to address our ongoing operational deficit by the end of this month. So, I can share more with you after we meet again with the board to provide those details, likely in early March.

Throughout the next few months, please know that I have identified a team who will seek your help and advice in making final decisions, and they will brief me with your insights, concerns, and ideas. Members of this team include:

Dr. Steve Taylor, Chief of Staff
Ms. Danielle Marsh, Interim CFO and VP of Finance
Ms. Kimberly Masenthin, AVP of Human Resources
Rev. David C. Fleming, Vice Chair, Board of Regents
Rev. Jonah P. Burakowski, Board of Regents
Mr. Timothy Sheldon, Foundation Board

I'll share more details as soon as I am able about how we can use this moment, as fraught as it is, to strengthen our communication and for you to build the kind of trust in me that I hope you will find I deserve.

I know this news is not easy to find out, and the kinds of changes we need to make will surely cause anxiety and hurt. I also don't wish to trivialize the hardships that may result from the reductions in faculty and staff we will need to make in the coming months.

However, as we embark on this process, I think it's important to remember why we decided during the past year of strategic planning to prioritize taking a more realistic, data-informed stance regarding our finances and to hold ourselves accountable for acting on what we learned. Too many colleges and universities are content to scrape by each year, moving from crisis to crisis, existing in unending austerity. That will not be our path. Instead, by creating a new, more sustainable business model for our university, we will, in fact, unleash our potential to realize the vision and goals of our strategic plan.

We will position ourselves to better live our mission for our students, the church, and the world.
We will forge the kind of financial stability we need to create truly transformational experiences for students.
We will ensure that our campus facilities are well maintained, beautiful, and modernized and that we have the resources we need to invest in our faculty and staff members and the amazing programs they build.
 
All these good things, our very ability to serve our Lord and the students we are blessed to receive, rests on our first having the strength to create an enduring and sustainable fiscal foundation. Together, this is a challenge I know we can meet.

Grace and Peace,

EA
#8
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Classical College
December 03, 2023, 05:10:15 PM
Quote from: Buckeye Deaconess on December 02, 2023, 07:46:41 PMThough I have my doubts about that Yakimow guy in the Theology department given his college football allegiance.

No worries, 'lil bro.  We got you.
#9
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Classical College
October 26, 2023, 03:41:00 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on October 25, 2023, 06:37:02 PMIf and as Professor Schulz moves from hiatus at CUW to LC will others follow him/are there others headed from Concordias to LC?

This is an interesting question that probably deserves more investigation if he does make the move, given the events that have occurred.
#10
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Classical College
October 26, 2023, 03:38:31 PM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on October 25, 2023, 03:39:53 PMAnd let's not forget what a marvelous job they did in bringing Concordia, Ann Arbor back from the brink.

And we're thriving now, thanks to what they did in 2013 (while I was still at CU-Portland).
#11
Your Turn / Re: A fun evening with chatbot
September 18, 2023, 12:59:37 PM
Oh, dear.  I'm about to lose lots and lots of time.  I just threw some Dionysius the Areopagite in there, and boy can it translate quickly...
#12
Your Turn / Re: LCMS 2023 Convention
August 08, 2023, 04:02:47 PM
Quote from: Dave Benke on August 07, 2023, 10:23:07 PM
The victory of one of "our own", Scott Yakimow, was undoubtedly the election highlight, however.

I've been at a rustic cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the past week with no cell service.  So imagine my surprise when the "RevEv" (Evan Gaertner) sends me a text while I'm picking up ice from a small shop along Route 550 where I could get a weak signal that I won an election that there was no chance of me winning because I wasn't on "The List."

I'm pretty thrilled, and I look forward to getting back into helping with foreign missions -- the only reason I left my engineering job in the first place.
#13
Your Turn / Re: Earned or Honorary?
July 14, 2023, 04:01:59 PM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on July 14, 2023, 06:33:06 AM
Quote from: The Yak on July 13, 2023, 03:02:48 PM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on July 13, 2023, 12:36:08 PM
When my wife calls me "pastor" at home, I know I'm in trouble.  ;D

I keep going for "Reverend Doctor," but no dice.

If she calls me "reverend," I'm in more trouble than "pastor"!  :o

I'm in trouble plenty, but it's usually just "Scott."
#14
Your Turn / Re: Earned or Honorary?
July 13, 2023, 08:54:20 PM
Quote from: RPG on July 13, 2023, 05:19:07 PM
Quote from: The Yak on July 13, 2023, 03:02:48 PM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on July 13, 2023, 12:36:08 PM
When my wife calls me "pastor" at home, I know I'm in trouble.  ;D

I keep going for "Reverend Doctor," but no dice.
Yeah, my daughters won't go for "Reverend Father" either. Unless they are up to no good...

When I got my Ph.D., my youngest daughter asked (she was 6 at the time): "So, are you one of the doctors that help people?"

Me: "Sorry, but no.  Not one of those doctors."
#15
Your Turn / Re: Earned or Honorary?
July 13, 2023, 03:02:48 PM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on July 13, 2023, 12:36:08 PM
When my wife calls me "pastor" at home, I know I'm in trouble.  ;D

I keep going for "Reverend Doctor," but no dice.
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