YCQM - John Bramley - Oct. 30, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - John Bramley - Oct. 30, 2012

October 30, 2011 -- John Bramley, the interim president at the University of Vermont, joins Anson Tebbetts of WCAX and Emerson Lynn of the St. Albans Messenger to discuss the status of UVM.

>> Announcer: FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>>> A GOOD SUNDAY MORNING TO YOU. TODAY WE'RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT. JOINING US ON THIS OCCASION IS THE INTERIM PRESIDENT OF UVM, JOHN BRAMLEY.

>> GOOD TO BE HERE.

>> AND JOINING US WITH THE QUESTIONING TODAY IS EMERSON LYNN WITH THE ST. ALBANS MESSENGER. EMERSON, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> THANK YOU.

>> GO RIGHT AHEAD.

>> JOHN, YOU'RE THE INTERIM PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT AND THAT MEANS THAT YOU'VE GOT EIGHT MONTHS, SHORT OR LONG DEPENDING ON YOUR INTERPRETATION, TO PREPARE YOUR UK SES SORE. WHAT ARE YOUR PRIMARY GOALS IN LAYING OUT THE FRAMEWORK FOR HIM OR HER?

>> THE PRIMARY GOALS, I MEAN AT ONE LEVEL, MY PRIMARY HAS BEEN OBVIOUSLY KEEP CRITICAL THINGS MOVING ALONG, NOT HAVE A HIATUS, AND I THINK WE -- SOME OF THAT IS AROUND FINANCIAL PLANNING, SOME OF THAT AROUND ACADEMIC CHANGE, AND SO ON. BEYONDS THAT, I'M REALLY HOPING THAT WE CAN PROVIDE THE NEXT PRESIDENT WITH A BLUEPRINT OF STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN THAT WILL ENSURE THAT WE'RE FINANCIALLY SUSTAINABLE, THAT ENSURE WE'RE STILL AFFORDABLE AND COMPETITIVE FOR OUR STUDENTS, THAT WE'RE MAKING THE RIGHT SORT OF STEPS ACADEMICALLY. AND ALSO, THAT WE THINK ABOUT HOW WE FIND-TUNE AND -- FIEN-TUNE AND IMPROVE OUR RELATIONSHIP AND SERVICE TO THE STATE OF VERMONT, SO THOSE ARE ALL THINGS THAT I'D REALLY LIKE TO TRY AND CREATE SOME FRAMEWORK FOR MY SUCCESSOR TO KEEP THE BALL ROLLING, IF YOU LIKE.

>> AND DO YOU HAVE SOME THINGS THAT ARE MORE CRITICAL THAN OTHERS? I NOTICED IN YOUR SPEECH TO THE TRUSTEES LAST WEEK THAT YOU BEGAN THE SPEECH SAYING, LOOK, WE NEEDED TO GROW AND WE DID THAT, AND SO WE ARE CONSIDERABLY LARGER AND WE'VE GOTTEN -- WE'VE HAD A BUDGET THAT'S GONE FROM $150 MILLION TO $300 MILLION ALMOST, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, NOW THAT YOU'VE GOT SOMETHING THAT'S FAIRLY LARGE AND IS IT GOING TO BE DIFFICULT TO SUSTAIN THAT? IS THAT THE PRIMARY CHALLENGE?

>> I THINK THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE THERE. YOU KNOW, THAT WE DID SPEND A DECADE OF GROWTH THERE, AND AS YOU SAY, THE GENERAL FUND BUDGET ESSENTIALLY DOUBLED OVER THAT PERIOD. YOU CAN'T GROW FOREVER. WE'RE NOT IN A POSITION WHERE WE CAN INCREASE OUR UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT ANY SIGNIFICANT DEGREE AT ALL. IN FACT, THERE MAY BE SOME ADVANTAGES IN IT BEING SLIGHTLY SMALLER. I'D LIKE TO SEE US GROW GRADUALLY IN ENROLLMENT A LITTLE BIT, BUT I THINK THE CHALLENGE IS, WE KNOW THE FEDERAL BUDGET IS GOING TO BE UNDER A LOT OF CONSTRAINT. THAT'S GOING TO AFFECT THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING FOR OUR RESEARCH ENTERPRISE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE VERY MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE AND COST -- AND INTEGRATED AND THINKING TO GET GRANTS FROM A MUCH SMALLER PART AS WE GO FORWARD. THE STATE'S GOING TO HAVE LESS MONEY TO SUPPORT ALL SORTS OF THINGS, I SUSPECT, AND THAT'S BEFORE IRENE, WHICH IS CLEARLY GOING TO HAVE INFRASTRUCTURAL CHALLENGES FOR THE STATE TO ADDRESS, AND OUR FAMILIES AND STUDENTS, THEY CAN'T AFFORD 5 AND 6% INCREASES IN TUITION. WE CAN'T GO THAT WAY. SO THE BEAUTY AND FACT OF HAVING GROWN IS THAT WE'VE GONE, IF YOU LIKE, FROM BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE, A LARGER TURNOVER, GREATER RESOURCES TO PLAY WITH, BUT WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE INVEST IN THE THINGS THE INSTITUTION NEEDS TO DO TO BE COMPETITIVE OUT OF BEING SMARTER AND THE ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES WE HAVE RATHER THAN THINKING THERE'S GOING TO BE A BIG INFLUX OF MORE RESOURCES FROM GROWTH OR FROM OUTSIDE.

>> YOU'VE TOLD THE TRUSTEES THAT YOU WANT TO STAY ON THE, ON THE TUITION INCREASE, YOU WANT TO STAY AT 3.5%, IS THAT --

>> 3.5% OR LESS.

>> OR LESS.

>> THAT'S WHAT I SAID.

>> THAT HAS A LOT OF PARENTS MAYBE WATCHING THIS, STUDENTS WATCHING THAT, THEY CAN INTERPRET THAT AS GOOD NEWS COMPARED TO THE PAST INCREASES, BUT THERE COULD BE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES OF LESS INCOME COMING IN, LESS INCOME COMING IN, YOU GOT TO MAKE CUTS, RIGHT?

>> WELL, NO, I DON'T SEE IT THAT WAY. I MEAN, I THINK THAT WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE'VE SEEN A HUGE INCREASE IN THE DEMAND FOR FINANCIAL AID OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS. IN PART, IT'S BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY THAT WE'VE BEEN IN. HOW, HOPEFULLY, AS WE START TO IMPROVE THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE COUNTRY, AND WE'VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR A WHILE, THAT IN A SENSE REDUCES SOME OF THE RATE OF GROWTH OF OUR FINANCIAL AID. AT THE SAME TIME, WE'RE IN A POSITION WHERE AS LONG AS WE CAN HAVE MODERATE BUT COMPETITIVE INCREASES IN COMPENSATION FOR OUR EMPLOYEES, I THINK IT'S QUITE POSSIBLE FOR US TO BE AT THAT SORT OF LEVEL OF FINANCIAL AID WITHOUT, WITHOUT CUTS. IN FACT, WE'RE QUITE SURE, AS WE LOOK AT NEXT YEAR, WE DON'T SEE ANY GAP IN THE BUDGET AS LONG AS THE VARIOUS PREDICTIONS THAT WE'RE MAKING COME TO PASS OKAY, AND THAT INCLUDES 3.5% OR LESS ON THE TUITION SIDE.

>> AND CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG ON SOME OF THESE FIGURE. IT'S ABOUT WHAT? 33,000 FOR OUT OF STATE AND ABOUT 30,000 FOR INSTATE? IS THAT --

>> DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT. IF YOU LOOK ON THE TUITION SIDE OF THAT, IT'S AROUND ABOUT 12,000-PLUS ON THE IN-STATE SIDE AND ABOUT 30,000-PLUS ON THE OUT OF STATE SIDE. BUT TUITION IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE GET CONFUSED ABOUT SO LET ME JUST TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE VERMONT SIDE OF THAT, IF I CAN. SO BY THE TIME YOU PUT TUITION AND FEES TOGETHER, YOU'RE TALKING, IF A VERMONTER, ABOUT $14,000. IT'S ACTUALLY JUST ABOUT THE SAME AS IT COST TO PUT A YOUNG MAN OR YOUNG WOMAN THROUGH THE K-12 EDUCATION SYSTEM IN VERMONT, ABOUT THE SAME. SO IN THAT SENSE, THAT DOESN'T SOUND TO ME A BAD NUMBER. WHAT'S MORE, WE PROVIDE A LOT OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT WITHIN THAT, SO A THIRD OF ALL VERMONTERS PAY NO TUITION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT. NO TUITION AT ALL. THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD DEAL. AND OVERALL, BY THE TIME YOU WORK IT OUT, THE NET TUITION FOR A VERMONTER AVERAGES ABOUT $6,500, SO WE'RE ACTUALLY VERY AFFORDABLE. WE'VE WORKED REALLY HARD TO DO THAT FOR VERMONTERS, AND WE PUT IN, FROM UNIVERSITY RESOURCES, MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF RESOURCES TO MAKE SURE THAT WE STAY AFFORDABLE AND COMPETITIVE FOR VERMONTERS. THAT'S A BIG PRIORITY. SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT THINGS LIKE THE STORIES AROUND DEBT THAT WE'RE SEEING IN THE PAPERS AT THE MOMENT, YES, ABOUT -- THE AVERAGE DEBT FOR A VERMONTER GRADUATING FROM UVM IS AROUND ABOUT $14,000, AGAIN. SO ABOUT A YEAR'S TUITION, IF YOU LOOK AT IT IN THOSE TERMS.

>> WHEN YOU ARE SPEAKING BEFORE THE TRUSTEES AND PURSUANT TO ANSON'S QUESTION ABOUT NEEDING TO CUT, YOU SAY THAT YOU MAY NOT NEED TO CUT ANYTHING. YOU'VE ALSO LAID OUT A FAIRLY STRATEGIC PLAN GOING FORWARD TOO, BECAUSE WHAT YOU'RE ALSO -- AT LEAST THE MESSAGE I'M CATCHING HERE, IS THAT YOU SAID, LOOK, WE'RE REALLY GOOD AT STARTING THINGS. WE'RE NOT REAL GOOD ABOUT PARING THINGS THAT WE DON'T DO WELL, WHICH MEANS IN MY ESTIMATION, YOU'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT THINGS THAT WORK AND THINGS THAT DON'T WORK. THAT MAY BE HOW YOU ALIGN -- IS THAT THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION?

>> THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I'M THINKING AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE THINGS WE ARE DOING ARE STILL RELEVANT AND OF HIGH QUALITY AND WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTINUE THEM AND INVEST IN THEM APPROPRIATELY. THERE ARE GOING TO BE THINGS, I'M SURE, TA WE'RE CURRENTLY DOING THAT WE PROBABLY SHOULDN'T BE DOING ANY LONGER.

>> AND THAT'S WHAT YOUR ANALYZING --

>> I'M NOT PROCESS THAT'S GOING ON NOW AND THAT'S WHEN I SAID TO ANSON THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE AN INFLUX OF NEW RESOURCES, SO IT'S REALLY ABOUT MAKING SURE WE USE OUR EXISTING RESOURCES WELL AND THAT MEANS, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER BUSINESS, JUST LIKE THE ST. ALBANS MESS SENGENGERMESSENGER, YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE DOING, HOW YOU SERVE YOUR MISSION OR GOALS OR OBJECTIVES MOST EFFECTIVELY AND WHAT DECISIONS YOU NEED TO MAKE AROUND THAT. TYPICALLY, HIGHER ED HAS BEEN MUCH BETTER AT CREATING NEW IDEAS. YOU GOT A WHOLE BUNCH OF VERY BRIGHT PEOPLE WHO CAN THINK OF ALL SORTS OF NEAT AND CLEVER AND EXCITING THINGS TO DO, BUT WE'RE NOT USUALLY AS ADEPT AT SAYING, WELL, MAYBE, MAYBE WE SHOULDN'T PUT AS MUCH EMPHASIS ON, THAT MAYBE WE SHOULDN'T DO THAT AT ALL. WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS.

>> YOU PREFACED THIS, WHEN YOU SAID LOOK, THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT IS A DIFFERENT INSTITUTION NOW THAN IT WAS WHEN IT BEGAN, AND YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE BIG CHANGES THAT YOU PUT OUT THERE IS THAT WE'VE GOT A VERMONT STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM NOW THAT HAS 10,000 VERMONT STUDENTS IN IT. SO WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT LOOKING AT WHAT YOU DO WITH ALSO VERMONT STATE COLLEGES RISING IN ITS PROMINENCE OR ENROLLMENT, IS THERE ALSOS A TACIT UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE A DISCUSSION BETWEEN UVM AND VERMONT STATE COLLEGES IN TERMS OF THIS IS WHAT YOU DO, THAT IS WHAT WE DO, AND LET'S NOT DUPLICATE THINGS? IS THAT ALSO A WAY TO CUT EXPENSE?

>> I THINK THAT'S AN ABSOLUTE RESPONSIBILITY, BOTH TIM DONOVAN WHO IS CHANCELLOR OF VERMONT STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM AND MYSELF ARE OFTEN IN CONVERSATION, AND I THINK WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO THE TAXPAYERS OF VERMONT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE USE THE PROPORTION OF OUR BUDGET THAT COMES FROM STATE RESOURCES, TAXPAYERS, AS EFFECTIVELY AS WE CAN. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. WHEN I WAS PROVOST AND, YOU KNOW, I CONCLUDED THAT IT MADE NO SENSE FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT TO HAVE ONE ASSOCIATES DEGREE PROGRAM LEFT IN ITS REPERTOIRE, THE DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM. AT THAT TIME, BOB CLARK WAS THE CHANCELLOR, AND WE WORKED TOGETHER TO MOVE THE DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT TO THE STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM. IT WASN'T ENTIRELY POPULAR AT THE TIME I DID IT. I USED TO JOKINGLY SAY THAT FOR ABOUT SIX MONTHS, I HAD TO GO AND GET MY TEETH CLEANED OUTSIDE THE STATE OF VERMONT, BUT IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND THAT PROGRAM IS BLOSSOMING. I THINK THAT WE HAVE THAT SAME RESPONSIBILITY STILL TODAY TO LOOK AT THINGS THAT MAYBE THE STATE COLLEGE SHOULD DO THIS AND THE UNIVERSITY SHOULDN'T. AND I'M NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT PARTICULAR EXAMPLES, BUT I THINK WE OUGHT TO HAVE A DIALOGUE BECAUSE THE DEMOGRAPHICS IN VERMONT ARE LESS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES, AND AS YOU SAID, 50 YEARS AGO, THERE WAS NO STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM AND NOW WE HAVE THREE FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES PLUS THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT PLUS THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PLUS VERMONT TECH, WHICH IS A TWO-YEAR COLLEGE WITH SEVERAL FOUR-YEAR PROGRAMS. WE OUGHT TO BE LOOKING VERY CAREFULLY AT HOW THE SORT OF $60 MILLION THAT GO BETWEEN THE STATE COLLEGES AND THE UNIVERSITY FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE ARE BEING USED MOST EFFECTIVELY. AND AT THE UVM END, I EMPHASIZE, WE ARE THE STATE'S ONLY RESEARCH UNIVERSITY AND WE'RE GOING -- WE HAVE BEEN FOR THE PAST 200 YEARS AND WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO BE FOR THE NEXT 200 YEARS TOO. SO THE ROLES OR THE THINGS THAT WE DO THAT THE STATE COLLEGES DON'T DO, I THINK THERE ARE THINGS THAT THE STATE COLLEGES SHOULD BE DOING THAT WE PROBABLY DON'T DO.

>> IS YOUR TASK MUCH HARDER BECAUSE OF HOW PRESIDENT FOGLE LEFT? YOU HAD THE COMPENSATION PACKAGE, YOU HAD THE PROFESSOR CONTRACT, AND NOW YOU HAVE TO GO TO A LEGISLATIVE BODY AND ASK, YOU KNOW, FOR FUNDING AND YOU HAVE TO GO AROUND THE STATE ASKING. IS THAT -- HAS IT BEEN DIFFICULT IN THAT POLITICAL CLIMATE? AND YOU'VE ALSO GOT --

>> THERE HAVE BEEN SOME PEOPLE UPSET, ANSON. YOU PROBABLY NOTICED THAT AND I CERTAINLY DID. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH DAN FOGLE'S DEPARTURE OR THE TERMS OF IT AND I THINK PEOPLE KNOW THAT. I THINK THE -- I'VE BEEN FORTUNATE, I'VE BEEN IN THIS STATE A LONG TIME, AS YOU KNOW, AND I'VE BEEN MUCH INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE AND EXTENSION IN THE STATE AND I KNOW THAT THIS IS THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT AND IT'S NOT THE UNIVERSITY OF BURLINGTON. AND SO, IN FACT, I MEAN, YESTERDAY I WAS IN RUTLAND. A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I WAS UP IN FRANKLIN COUNTY AND NEXT WEEK I'M IN WINDHAM AND WINDSOR COUNTY. I KNOW THE STATE AND I RESPECT AND LIKE THE PEOPLE. I CAN GET OUT THERE AND TALK ABOUT WHO WE ARE AND LISTEN TO WHAT THEY THINK AND USE THAT TO SHAPE WHERE WE GO. SO I THINK THAT ACTUALLY, PEOPLE ARE VERY KEEN TO HAVE A DIALOGUE AND THINK ABOUT WHERE WE'RE GOING, NOT WHERE WE'VE BEEN, AND THAT'S THE MESSAGE THAT I'M PICKING UP.

>> JUST TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT, ONE OF THE THINGS I FOUND THAT WAS INTERESTING IN YOUR SPEECH PURSUANT TO THIS IS THAT YOU SAID, LOOK, I'VE BEEN OUT IN THE STATE FOR, YOU KNOW, FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS, AND FRANKLY, I'VE BEEN A LITTLE BIT SURPRISED BECAUSE THERE'S THIS CONFUSED PERCEPTION OF VERMONT, AND YOU SAID, YOU KNOW, IT PUZZLED YOU, NUMBER ONE, AND NUMBER TWO, YOU SAID IT'S PARTLY UVM'S FAULT FOR ITS LACK OF CLARITY IN ITS MISSION. SO TALK TO ME A BIT ABOUT WHY THIS HAPPENED AND HOW YOU CHANGE IT.

>> WELL, I THINK IT IS, IT IS INTERESTING TO ME AND, YOU KNOW, JUST FOR EXAMPLE, YOU KNOW, THERE'S THE BELIEF OR THE PRESS OR THE COMMENTS TO SAY, YOU KNOW, UVM IS NOT AFFORDABLE. FROM THE THINGS I'VE ALREADY SAID, I THINK ACTUALLY UVM IS EXTREMELY AFFORDABLE AND WE'VE WORKED REALLY HARD TO DO THAT, BUT WE HAVEN'T GOT THAT MESSAGE OUT VERY WELL AND THAT'S, I THINK, BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT HAD AN EFFECTIVE AND STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION STRATEGY TO TALK ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON AND I THINK WE HAVE TO DO THAT BETTER. YOU MAY EVEN NOTICED, I THINK WE ARE DOING THAT BETTER AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT BETTER. BUT THE OTHER PIECE, YOU KNOW, ANSON, THAT THERE'S BEEN A SORT OF SCHIZOPHRENIA BETWEEN THE SORT OF PRIVATE LIBERAL ARTS UVM AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, AND THE PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN AGRICULTURE AND EXTENSION AND MEDICINE AND SO ON, AND SOMETIMES THEY HAVE BEEN LOOKED AT AS BEING ALTERNATIVES OR COMPETING, AND THE REALITY IS, IT'S ALL UVM. IT'S ALL OF WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING, AND WE CAN SERVE THE STATE SO WELL AND STILL BE TRUE TO A HIGH-QUALITY, LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION, AND A GREAT EXTENSION SYSTEM, AND FABULOUS RESEARCH AND SO. WE JUST HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT IN THOSE COORDINATED TERMS AND NOT AS SORT OF COMPETING PIECES OF THE INSTITUTION. AND I THINK THAT PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY GETTING QUITE EXCITED ABOUT THING ABOUT -- THINKING ABOUT THAT. I KNOW WE TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS WE WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN AROUND FOOD SYSTEMS, BUT FOR EXAMPLE, YOU TAKE SOMETHING LIKE FOOD SYSTEMS. FOOD SYSTEMS ENGAGES, I THINK, NEARLY EVERY CORNER OF THE UNIVERSITY THAT YOU CAN IMAGINE. I CAN'T REALLY THINK OF AN AREA OF DISCIPLINE THAT CAN'T CONTRIBUTE TO THAT, WHETHER ITS OBVIOUSLY THE AGRICULTURE END OR WHETHER IT'S ANTHROPOLOGY.

>> WE'LL PICK THAT UP IN JUST A FEW MOMENTS. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A QUICK Girl: MOM, CAN I HAVE A DOLLAR? YEAH. IT'S RIGHT-- I THINK MY PURSE IS UPSTAIRS ON THE BED. IT'S NOT HERE. CHECK THE DINING ROOM. NOPE. WHAT ABOUT YOUR SISTER'S ROOM? NOT THERE, EITHER. THE UPSTAIRS CLOSET? THE DOWNSTAIRS CLOSET. THERE ARE NO MORE CLOSETS. Announcer: MOMS EVERYWHERE ARE FINDING WAYS TO KEEP KIDS ACTIVE AND HEALTHY. GET IDEAS. GET INVOLVED. GET GOING AT LETSMOVE.GOV.

>>> WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE OUR DISCUSSION WITH THE UVM INTERIM PRESIDENT JOHN BRAMLEY. EMERSON, YOU'VE DONE A LITTLE BIT OF RESEARCH ON THIS FOOD SYSTEMS PROPOSAL, AND WE'LL CONTINUE THAT DISCUSSION.

>> YES. JOHN, IS THIS ONE OF YOUR -- I DON'T KNOW OF YOUR --

>> ABSOLUTELY. I MEAN, --

>> BACK TO YOUR SPEECH, YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT SETTING UP AN AS ASPEN INSTITUTE EAST TYPE OF SEMINAR AND THE FIRST ONE WOULD BE IN 2012 AND IT WOULD CENTER AROUND THE FOOD SYSTEMS, WHICH IS ONE OF THE DISCIPLINARY INITIATIVES. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE THINKING BEHIND THAT AND WHAT YOUR DREAM IS?

>> I WILL LOVE TO. I MEAN, YOU'RE RIGHT. IT WOULD BE -- THE UNIVERSITY SET OUT WITH SOME SPIRES OF EXCELLENCE AS THEY WERE CALLED AND THEY WERE REALLY, IN ALL HONESTY, THEY WERE FOCAL AREAS IN WHICH YOU TRY TO INTEGRATE RESEARCH AND TEACHING AND SO ON, BUT THEY ACTUALLY CROSS DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES, SO ONE OF THEM IS FOOD SYSTEMS. AND FOOD SYSTEMS HAS REALLY BEEN AN INTEREST OF MINE BECAUSE IN ALL HONESTY, HAVING WORKED IN AGRICULTURE MY ENTIRE PROFESSIONAL LIFE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, AND BEEN INVOLVED IN IT IN VERMONT FOR 20-SOMETHING YEARS, I THINK WE'VE REACH THE CONCLUSION AND I THINK MANY PEOPLE HAVE REACHED THE CONCLUSION THAT OUR CURRENT AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM, FRANKLY, IS BROKEN. WE'VE TRIED TO MEND IT IN VARIOUS WAYS. LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE MADE GOOD ATTEMPTS TO DO SO, BUT IT'S REALLY FAILED VERMONT FARMERS IN MANY RESPECTS. IT'S CERTAINLY FAILED VERMONT RURAL COMMUNITIES IN MANY RESPECTS. I DON'T THINK IT'S PROTECTED OUR WORKING LANDSCAPE TO THE EXTENT THAT WE THINK IS POSSIBLE. I DON'T THINK IT'S REALLY -- IT'S PROVIDED CHEAP FOOD IN ONE WAY OF LOOKING AT IT, BUT IN FACT, IF YOU REALLY LOOKED AT ALL THE EXTERNALALITY ALITYITYIES WITH SOME OF THE WAYS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR FOOD, I DON'T THINK IT'S AS CHEAP AS IT SEEMS. SO FRAMP, WE HAVE A POPULATION THAT'S BECOMING MORE OBESE, GREATER INCIDENCE OF TYPE 2 DIABETES, A SERIES OF HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT ARE GOING TO ACTUALLY CRIPPLE US FINANCIALLY UNLESS WE START TO CHANGE THEM, AND THESE THINGS ARE ALL CONNECTED. AND SO FOR THE UNIVERSITY TO BE THINKING ABOUT FOOD SYSTEMS IS -- PARTICULARLY A UNIVERSITY THAT HAS ALL THE COMPONENT PARTS IS CRITICAL, BUT IT'S NOT SOMETHING WE CAN DO ALONE. THE EXCITING THING FOR ME IS I SEE MORE POSITIVE THINGS HAPPENING IN AGRICULTURE AND FOOD IN THIS STATE THAN I'VE SEEN AT ANY TIME SINCE I HAVE BEEN HERE. WHETHER IT'S CSAs, WHETHER IT'S NEW ENTERPRISE SORT OF VENTURES AND ADDED VALUE COMING IN IN ART TIS MALCHEESE OR GROWING HOPS OR MICROBREWS, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. THERE'S ALL SORTS OF THINGS HAPPENING. WE CAN TRANSFORM HOW WE GROW OUR FOOD, HOW WE EAT, HOW WE TRANSPORT AND PACKAGE OUR FOOD, HOW WE GENERATE OUR ENERGY, ALL OF THOSE THINGS, AND VERMONT IS THE PLACE THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY DO THIS.

>> WHAT'S YOUR IDEA HERE IN TERMS OF THE INSTITUTE ITSELF? AND FOCUSING ON HA?

>> I THINK THE INSTITUTE BECOMES A FOOL FOR US TO HAVE DIALOGUE HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT TRANSFORMATION OF THE FOOD SYSTEM, HOW DO WE INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY WE CAN GENERATE FROM FARMS, HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT WE CREATE MECHANISMS IN WHICH THE DIETS THAT WE'RE HAVING FOR OUR KIDS AND OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS AND OUR INSTITUTIONS AND SO, ARE GOING TO PROMOTE HEALTH AND NOT PROMOTE ILLNESS? HOW DO WE DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS? SO A THINK TANK IS PART OF THIS. GETTING PEOPLE TOGETHER FROM ALL ACROSS VERMONT AND BEYOND IS PART OF THIS, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. UVM CAN BE A CATALYST, BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. THERE'S PEOPLE UP IN HARDWICK WHO HAVE GREAT THINGS TO TALK ABOUT. THERE'S PEOPLE DOWN IN BRATTLEBORO PRODUCING BIOFUELS AND DOING INTERESTING STUFF. THERE'S GREAT ACTIVITY GOING ON IN RUT LAND, THAT'S ALL SORTS OF THINGS AND WE HAVE TO CATALYZE THAT AND THE CONCEPT OF AN ASPEN INSTITUTE WHICH BRINGS THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST FROM THE STATE AND BEYOND THE STATE TO TALK ABOUT THINGS LIKE TRANSFORMERS IS AN EXCITING IDEA. FOOD SHOULD BE PART OF IT, BUT I THINK YOU CAN DO IT WITH ALL SORTS OF AREAS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY THAT WE'RE ENGAGED IN.

>> LET'S GO BACK TO THE INITIATIVE. YOU CAN'T SEPARATE FOOD FROM COMPLEX SYSTEMS WHICH IS ANOTHER AND SCIENCE AND HEALTH.

>> IT IS A XOM PREX SYSTEM.

>> DOES THAT LEAD US BACK TO THE INITIATIVE STATEMENT THAT WHAT YOU'RE REALLY LOOKING FOR IS TO INCREASE THE FOCUS AT THE GRADUATE LEVEL?

>> IT'S CERTAINLY PART OF IT.

>> AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND DOES THAT ALSO HELP GET THE MESSAGE OUT THAT UVM WANTS TO GET OUT IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC DIVO. IN THE STATE?

>> I THINK THAT'S AN ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL ROLE FOR US AND IT'S ONE TA WE HAVE CERTAINLY CONTRIBUTED TO PERHAPS MOST OBVIOUSLY AROUND THE SORT OF HEALTH MEDICINE AREA. IF YOU LOOK AT SPIN-OFF COMPANIES, IT'S TENDED TO BE THAT AREA. WE'RE GROWING THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES. ONE OF OUR FACULTY WAS ACTUALLY RECRUITED TO SORT OF COME INTO THAT COMPLEX SYSTEMS AREA, WHICH WAS ONE OF THE SPIRES. JOSH BAUMGARD IS JUST ONE, RECOGNIZED BY A PRESIDENTIAL AWARD, A VERY YOUNG SCIENTIST IN THE NATION, ONE OF ONLY 90. WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY BE WORLD-CLASS IN CERTAIN AREAS, AND THESE ARE SOME OF THEM. AND IT'S ALSO, I THINK, A WAY IN WHICH WE CAN GROW SOME GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND ALSO A ROLE THAT DISTINGUISHES AND COMPLEMENTS THAT OF THE STATE COLLEGES.

>> AND THE REAL CHALLENGE GOING FORWARD, WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE COMPETITION WITH THE DEMOGRAPHICS, HAVING FEWER STUDENTS AND YOU HAVE OTHER STATES WHO ARE HAVING TO DO THE SAME THING, THEY'RE GOING TO BE COMPETING FOR THE SAME STUDENTS WE USED TO GET. IS THAT HOW UVM DEFINES ITSELF, IS JUST THIS --

>> WELL, I THINK IT -- YOU KNOW, UVM IS STILL GOING TO HAVE A VERY MAJOR UNDERGRADUATE ROLE. I MEAN, WE'RE NOT BY ANY JUDGMENT, BUT I THINK THAT WE NEED TO CERTAINLY EMPHASIZE OUR ROLE AS A LAND GRANT RESEARCH INSTITUTION, AND YOU'RE RIGHT. I MEAN, UVM IS ESSENTIALLY FUNDED ITSELF AND SUPPORTED ITSELVES VERMONT STUDENTS' ACCESS BY ATTRACTING STUDENTS FROM OUT OF STATE. THAT'S BEEN THE MODEL FOR 50 YEARS, AND YOU'RE EQUALLY RIGHT TO SAY THAT WHAT IS NOW GOING TO HAPPEN IS THAT AS PUBLIC FUNDING FOR UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES DECLINES IN VIRTUALLY EVERY STATE IN THE NATION, THEY'RE GOING TO DO THE SAME THING. SO THEY'RE GOING TO COMPETE FOR OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY AS UVM HAS, SO THAT IS GOING TO PUT A PRESSURE ON US TO MAINTAIN WHAT WE'RE DOING AND TO DO IT WITH QUALITY. I THINK WE CAN DO THAT, BUT IT WILL BE A CHALLENGE.

>> WHEN YOU TRAVEL ARGED THE STATE AND MEET A FARMER OR TALK TO A FARM GROUP, WHAT DO THEY WANT THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT TO PROVIDE TO THEM?

>> CLEARLY AT ONE LEVEL, THEY STILL WANT SOME LEVEL OF TECHNICAL EXPERTISE AND SUPPORT, AND YOU KNOW, AND SAY WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT I CAN DO TO MAKE SURE THAT I'M NOT PUTTING PHOSPHORUS IN THIS STREAM, YOU KNOW, SO THERE'S THAT SORT OF LEVEL OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE. I THINK INCREASINGLY, THEY LOOK TO US TO SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT? HOW COULD I ACTUALLY GET INTO A MORE DIVERSIFIED -- HOW CAN I GET SOME ADDED VALUE IN WHAT I'M DOING? I DON'T WANT TO BE JUST RELYING ON THE PRICE OF MILK ON THE COMMODITY MARKET. HOW CAN YOU HELP ME BUILD A BUSINESS PLAN? LOOK, MY CHILDREN DON'T WANT TO STAY ON THE FARM, HOW CAN WE KEEP THIS LAND OPEN AND IN AGRICULTURE? THOSE ARE THE SORTS OF THINGS THAT I HEAR PEOPLE WORRYING ABOUT AND LOOKING FOR OUR HELP, AND OF COURSE, I'D SAY THAT, YOU KNOW, TRAGICALLY, THE WHOLE IRENE THING WAS A DEMONSTRATION OF THE VALUE OF THE EXTENSION SYSTEM IN THIS STATE IN A HUGE WAY. I MEAN, MY FOLKS HAVE JUST BEEN OUT THERE WORKING INCREDIBLY HARD, AND, YOU KNOW, WE THEN -- OF COURSE THE STATE LOST A LOT OF ITS LABORATORY CAPACITY IN WATERBURY AND THOSE FOLKS HAVE MOVED INTO UVM AND THAT'S GREAT. THAT'S THE SORT OF PARTNERSHIPS WE HAVE TO BE THINKING ABOUT, NOT JUST WHEN WE HAVE A TROPICAL STORM, BUT FURTHER.

>> WE JUST HAVE A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT TO WRAP UP A COUPLE OF ISSUES, AND MAYBE SOME GLOBAL ISSUES. YOU'RE INTERIM, I GUESS YOU'RE SCHEDULED TO BE THERE UNTIL JULY. BRIEFLY UPDATE US ON THE SEARCH FOR A PERMANENT PRESIDENT.

>> WELL, THE SEARCH IS GOING ALONG. I THINK IT'S WELL. I'M NOT DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN IT, BUT THE EXPECTATION, ANSON, IS THAT THERE WILL BE A SORT OF PUBLIC PHASE OF THAT WHEN THE COMMITTEE GETS DOWN TO A SMALL NUMBER OF CANDIDATES, MAYBE FOUR, FIVE, SOMETHING OF THAT ORDER. THEY WILL BE ON CAMPUS JANUARY, FEBRUARY IS THE TIMING. THE BOARD WOULD THEN MAKE AN APPOINTMENT SO THAT SOMEBODY MIGHT BE ANNOUNCED AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF UVM, YOU KNOW, AT SOME POINT IN THE SPRING LIKE THAT. AND PROBABLY TAKE OFFICE JULY 1.

>> ONE MINUTE LEFT. ARE YOU, TO GET THE UNIVERSITY SORT OF IN A LITTLE PACKAGE FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT OR IS IT GOING TO BE A SITUATION WHERE THE NEW PRESIDENT COMES IN AND HAVE NEW INITIATIVES? HAS THE BOARD GIVEN YOU ANY DIRECTION OF HOW THEY WILL LIKE THIS TRANSITION TO GO?

>> I CAN'T SPEAK FOR WHAT THE NEXT PRESIDENT Z GOING TO DO AND IT WOULD BE PRESUMPTUOUS OF ME TO DO SO. I THINK THE BOARD WOULD LIKE ME TO PROVIDE THAT PERSON WITH AT MUCH BACKGROUND AND AS MUCH STRUCTURE AND AS MUCH WAY TO GO FORWARD AS POSSIBLE, WHICH ALLOWS HIM OR HER TO GET TO UNDERSTANDING THE INSTITUTION AND THE STATE IT'S IN. IN OTHER WORDS, THAT YOU DON'T -- I MEAN, BY THE STATE IT'S IN, I MEANT VERMONT, NOT THE STATE IT'S IN. SO I THINK IT'S CRITICAL TO HELP THAT PROCESS AS BEST I CAN AND ALLOW SOMEBODY SOME BREATHING ROOM TO GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE, TO GET TO KNOW THE PLACE, AND THEN SHAPE HOW IT GOES FROM THERE BUT NOT HAVE A BIG GAP OF NOTHING HAPPENING.

>> BELL WELL, BEST OF LUCK TO YOU AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME. I ENJOYED IT.

>> AND THANK YOU EMERSON LYNN FROM THE ST. ALBANS MESSENGER.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THAT'S OUR SHOW FOR THIS WEEK. I'M ANSON TEBBETTS. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY. CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC www.captionassociates.com

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