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Questions and Answers

Has Clemson changed its vision or its goals?
No. Clemson intends to be one of the nation’s top-20 public universities and to fulfill its historic responsibility to students and the state of South Carolina by

  • providing talent — both faculty and student / alumni — to the new economy;
  • driving innovation to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and solve problems; and
  • serving the public good.

Has Clemson changed its eight emphasis areas?
No. The emphasis areas adopted in 2001 remain our institutional focus. But the Clemson 2020 Road Map zeroes in on specific areas that address some of the great challenges of the 21st century — national priorities that align with Clemson’s existing strengths in such areas as energy, health, transportation and sustainable environment.

How will Clemson demonstrate its commitment to these new priorities?
By making strategic investments in activities to

  • enhance student quality and performance;
  • provide engagement and leadership opportunities for all students;
  • attract, retain and reward top people; and
  • build competitive facilities, infrastructure and technology resources.

How will Clemson fund its new investments?
State funding and tuition will continue to be primary sources of funding for core educational and student support programs. But the majority of new investments in the 2020 plan will be funded by divesting in some areas, and also by generating new revenues. State funding is declining, and tuition and fee increases must be kept to a reasonable and modest level. This is the “new normal” for higher education funding. Clemson recognizes that its largest resource is its existing funding, which can be reallocated to fund priorities. That means divesting in some areas and investing in others.

How will new revenues be generated?
By leveraging the strong Clemson brand to increase public-private partnerships, create new summer programs, online and distance education, and grow private and research support. Every department is encouraged to be entrepreneurial and creative in seeking new sources of funds.

What is meant by “providing engagement and leadership opportunities for all students?”
Society and our economy have changed. Few college graduates today go into jobs that will last until retirement. Most will change jobs and even careers multiple times. Today’s college graduates must know their fields of study, but also be creative and entrepreneurial in managing their own careers or starting their own companies. Clemson will expand existing programs like Creative Inquiry, service learning and study abroad, and create new ones, such as internal “co-op” and professional internships on campus and around the state.

How will Clemson recruit, train and reward top people?
By offering competitive compensation. Clemson has cut more than 550 positions through attrition and incentive programs. It is time to invest strategically in people by rewarding performance and contributions to the bottom line. A compensation strategy is being developed in consultation with faculty and staff leaders and trustees. Compensation guidelines and funding strategies will be established on an annual basis.

Searches will get under way this fall to fill seven endowed chairs previously approved through the S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) program. Also, we will add approximately 80 research faculty or teams over the next five years in areas that align with our priorities, and “champions” will be identified for major initiatives.

What new facilities are in the plan, and why are they needed?

There has been no state capital bond bill for more than a decade. Much of Clemson’s core academic and administrative space is older than 49 years, we have a $230 million deferred maintenance backlog and an aging utility system.

The majority of projects in the Clemson 2020 Road Map can be funded with existing debt capacity, private gifts and generated revenues. Over the next five years, Clemson plans to

  • complete major projects under way, including Lee Hall, the Academic Success Center and the Life Sciences complex;
  • double annual expenditures for maintenance and renovation;
  • complete the first phase of a large utility system upgrade, including a move from coal to other fuels;
  • enhance teaching and research facilities in engineering and science, the Restoration Institute, Sirrine Hall, Charleston Architecture Center; and
  • expand and enhance student housing, student life and athletics facilities.

When will decisions be announced on raises and bonuses mentioned in the plan?
Competitive compensation is a priority under the plan, but guidelines and funding strategies will have to be developed on an annual basis. The administration is working on those guidelines, in cooperation with the Compensation Advisory Group that includes Faculty Senate and Staff Senate representation. That work must be completed before detailed decisions can be announced.

Will there be restructuring, department and program realignments in other colleges as there have been in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences?

That is always a possibility as academic fields change and majors increase or decrease in popularity. As colleges and administrative units implement their strategic plans there is likely to be some restructuring to enhance quality, build faculty capacity and create opportunities for new degree programs or better student services. One example is the merger of the Michelin Career Center and the Cooperative Education program to give students a one-stop shop for these services.

Who will be eligible for retirement incentive programs?
At this time, no voluntary severance incentive programs are under way. Colleges and administrative departments will decide whether or not to participate in severance programs on the basis of their specific strategic plans. Human Resources would contact any individual who is eligible to participate.