Welcome to a new school year. In the coming days, a cohort of cadets will begin arriving on campus, and I look forward to continuing our centuries-long tradition of preparing students to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before.
There was much positive news for the Academy over the summer break. In the newest QS rankings, we improved by two positions and are now in a three-way tie for sixty-third in the Alpha Quadrant with the Pakled Institute of Technology and Cornell. We also broke ground on the construction of a new dormitory and satellite campus to serve students in the growing Borg Collective market, thanks to the generosity of a record number of anonymous donors.
But despite living in a post-scarcity utopia, in which all of our material needs are satisfied by replicators and the infinite energy supplied by dilithium reactors, recent increases in the price of antimatter, declining domestic enrollments, and intensifying competition for intergalactic students mean that we are facing some tough economic headwinds. Last year, we forecasted student growth of over 50 percent, but in hindsight this was optimistic. The expected influx of students from the Gamma Quadrant never materialized, as tensions rose between the Federation and the Dominion, and young people are taking advantage of the tight labor market by becoming plumbers or joining the Maquis rebellion.
We now face a budget shortfall of forty-five million bars of gold-pressed latinum this year, and we will need to make some difficult choices as we embark on a new mission: to return the Academy to financial sustainability.
I have been working closely with members of senior leadership and consultants from Ferenginar to identify opportunities for positive transformation, and we’ve developed an action plan, which we will be progressing with the utmost urgency and transparency over the next month.
Under the action plan:
- Due to falling enrollments, we can no longer offer courses in Romulan, Klingon, or Vulcan. Staff teaching in these languages and Classical Greek will be let go, and resources reallocated to more profitable subjects, because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or in the case of Greek, the one. (Sorry, Leonard.)
- The Departments of Intergalactic Diplomacy, Xenobiology, Space Exploration, and other areas now secondary to our core mission will be placed under review.
- We can no longer provide staff with Transporter Accident Insurance, including Heisenberg compensation.
- The annual end-of-year celebration for staff will now be a potluck.
But it’s not all bad news. Our plan also calls for:
- A new look for the 25th century: We are retiring the traditional “delta” and adopting a sleek logo that reflects who we are today: “Starfleet Academy.” in bold Helvetica. (Don’t forget the period!)
- Better tools for teaching: The LMS will be updated to the newest version of Canvas, which uses advanced warp field coils to alter the local space-time manifold, letting you finish grading your students’ essays on time. (We’ve also reorganized the staff intranet again. Good luck.)
- Better work-life balance: Last year’s pilot project to improve staff well-being will be expanded, allowing all faculty the option to use the transporters to create twins to share teaching and administration duties. TAs can be duplicated as needed.
- Recognizing staff excellence: All Emergency Medical Holograms activated to teach pre-med courses last year will be promoted to the new rank of “Visiting Assistant Ensign.”
- Reaching new students and fostering diversity: The Federation Council has approved exemptions to the Prime Directive, which will allow students from pre-warp civilizations to take courses with us for the first time. We will offer new revenue-generating micro-credentials in subjects popular with non-spacefaring species, such as deflector shield engineering and photon torpedo design, regardless of the risks to their societies or possible disruptions to their species’ natural paths of evolution.
We are entering a time of many challenges, but through our efforts and sacrifices, I am confident we will live long and prosper. Feedback on the action plan will be accepted on the staff intranet until this Thursday.