President’s Message – January 22, 2009

Dear members of the university community:

As a nation we experienced an historic week. The inauguration of President Barack Obama reminds us of our good fortune to live in this great nation where the highest office in the land is handed over to a new administration amidst celebration, rather than violence, as is still the case in many countries around the world. The peaceful transfer of power is indeed a privilege to witness.

As we rejoice in the hope this new administration brings, we are also reminded that we have a great deal of work ahead as a nation – and as a university community.

As you know, during a special legislative session, our state allocation for the current fiscal year was slashed four percent. While we will not need to make further cuts at FIU this year because we anticipated this reduction, we are very concerned about next year’s budget, which will be decided during the regular legislative session, which begins March 3, 2009.

Many of you have asked about summer classes in light of the additional budget cuts we expect. We currently have no plans to alter the traditional summer offerings in sessions A, B and C.

Modified summer hours

One decision we are able to make at this time regarding the summer is related to our summer hours of operation. I’ve accepted the recommendation of the Operations Committee to bring back the modified summer schedule — four-day, 10-hour work week — for about six weeks during the summer B term.

We have learned that the modified summer schedule not only helped us save precious dollars-we nearly reached our target of $250,000 during the summer of 2008-it is also good for you. A survey conducted by the Division of Human Resources and answered by more than 1,500 of you indicates that 79 percent of respondents were satisfied with the summer schedule and wanted to see the program implemented again. With more time to plan this year, and having learned from our experience last year, we are confident that the savings will be even greater as will the benefit to the environment and to you and your family.

For this initiative to succeed in surpassing the savings we realized last summer, we need your input and participation. I urge individuals, departments and divisions to begin sketching out ideas and putting systems in place that will help us save as much as possible. Please look for a full memorandum from Human Resources in the coming days with more details, including the start and end dates for the modified schedule.

Frost Museum

This week I was pleased to learn that more than 6,000 people have visited our exceptional new Frost Art Museum building since its opening in late November. If you have not yet visited the Frost, make it a point to stop by with your family and enjoy this remarkable facility and the cultural wealth it houses.

The Frost is a symbol of how a university can reach out beyond its students and faculty to touch the larger community. This building was built entirely from donations that supplemented the generous lead gift of the Frost family. We are fortunate to be part of an institution that has harnessed such wonderful resources in our short history.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or ideas about how we can best cut costs, increase revenues and manage our shrinking state allocation, please send me an email at

Modesto A. Maidique