THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON
UNIVERSITY FACULTY AND ASSOCIATES
The Fall Meeting of the University Faculty and Associates was held at 4:00 p.m., on Tuesday, October 21, 2003, in the University Center Rosebud Theatre. Interim President Charles A. Sorber presided.
Recognition of New Faculty and Associates. Interim President Sorber asked the new faculty and associates to stand for recognition.
Recognition of Professors Emeriti. Four retired professors were conferred with the honorary title of Professor Emeritus because of their exemplary service and dedication to the University and the community. Each individual received a framed certificate and a lapel pin. Recognized this year were: Tommy J. Lawley, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Clinton E. Parker, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Fred R. Payne, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; and Lawrence L. Schkade, Information Systems and Operations Management.
Remarks by the Interim President. Interim President Sorber gave some positive highlights of what’s been going on at UTA during the last few months. Fall 2003 enrollment at just under 25,000 is very close to 1991’s record of 25,135. Semester Credit Hours did set a new record, up more than 7.5%. UTA Fort Worth is serving over 700 student registrations this Fall, an increase of 25%. The Undergraduate Assembly recommended raising admission standards for incoming freshmen, and we expect approval by the Board of Regents next month. On November 6, we will break ground for a $40 million new Chemistry/Physics building. Student housing construction continues. This Fall all UTA housing was filled—almost 4,000 beds, with 1,200 students on the waiting list. We have received a $2 million cash gift to the College of Business Administration to create four new professorships and the Goolsby Academy. These professorships will permit us to recruit and retain more outstanding faculty. The presidential search is proceeding, with five finalist candidates visiting campus.
There are some downsides we have to deal with. UTA’s annual operating budget for this fiscal year is $266.7 million and reflects an overall reduction of approximately 9.5% in total general revenue. Funding for the instruction and academic and support areas did increase by 1% this year. This budget reflects a 12.5% across the board reduction in the state general revenue funding for our special items (i.e., Automation and Robotics Research Institute, the Center for Mexican American Students, the African International Exchange Program). Areas hardest hit by expenditure reductions for this fiscal year are those supporting the operation and maintenance of the physical plant, including utilities. We were only able to fund this budget by using almost $3.5 million of one-time funds, primarily to fund growth in the academic areas. This year’s budget does not include funding for employee salary increases. The Legislature was faced with a $10 billion deficient, and we are not unique in receiving reductions in the operating budget.
A major shift in public policy was crafted as a result of this budget situation. The Legislature decided that it would no longer manage tuition on a $2 by $2 increment year after year, but rather cut budgets and through tuition deregulation gave governing boards the authority to set designated tuition at their institutions. The UT System has asked us to put a plan in place. A tuition review committee was created, and a UTA administrative team presented a proposal. The committee is deliberating and will make recommendations to me, and then I will make a recommendation as to our tuition plan for Spring 2004 and Fall 2004 to the Chancellor by November 1.
Tuition Proposal Presentation. Interim President Sorber turned the meeting over to Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dana Dunn, and Interim Vice President for Administration and Campus Operations, John Hall, who shared a slide presentation on the tuition proposal that was presented to the tuition review committee. This is a summary of the challenges facing the University with the decline in state aid as well as the proposal and some information presented to students. The challenges facing UTA includes maintaining adequate services, accommodating enrollment growth, and enhancing the quality of education services. Dr. Dunn and Mr. Hall answered questions after the meeting adjourned.
Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m., with an invitation to attend the reception in the foyer.
Michael K. Moore