UT President Joe Johnson Calls For Smart Management

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Smart management is the key to the University of Tennessee coping with financial limitations, UT President Joe Johnson told the school’s trustees Thursday.

“There is no pot of gold in Washington, D.C., or in Nashville,” Johnson said in his annual report.

“If we want to start new programs, we must search for the resources by raising more private dollars, streamlining our operations and increasing our productivity,” he said.

Johnson said UT will continue to “work hard to get our share of funding from the state.”

The trustees adopted a $943 million belt-tightening budget and approved fee increases ranging from 3 percent for in-state undergraduate and graduate students at UT-Knoxville and UT-Martin to 15 percent out-of-state tuition for students in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.

UT’s resources are being stretched increasingly thinner, Johnson told the trustees.

“We must streamline management, break down bureaucracy,” he said. UT will operate with fewer employees next year, Johnson said.

Examples of cost-efficiency, he said, include:

* UT saving up to $200,000 a year on airline tickets by arranging a 5 percent rebate from travel agents.

* The UT Space Institute graduating more students with 15 percent fewer faculty than six years ago.

* UT-Martin’s plans to replace a high-cost engineering technology program with one which prepares graduates for certification. The trustees approved the new degree, subject to approval by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. It would require 37 percent fewer courses and increase enrollment by more than 150 percent.

“Technology is helping us make more efficient use of our resources,” Johnson said. “As we beam classes across the state, using two-way television and two-way radio, we serve students far from our campuses in a cost-effective way.”

UT’s $250 million fund-raising campaign, of which more than $179 million has been given or pledged, will help make UT’s future financially secure, Johnson said.

The campaign’s goals are to add scholarships, reward faculty for outstanding teaching, and upgrade laboratories and other facilities.

UT treasurer Charles Peccolo told trustees UT earned 9.2 percent, or $14.4 million, for the 12 months through March 31. The earnings for the first quarter alone were $10.4 million, he said.

UT has formed several partnerships with schools to help K-12 teachers stay current and improve their classroom skills, and with business to exchange ideas and open doors of opportunity to graduating students, Johnson said.

“Higher education alone cannot shape the future, but working with other institutions we can make a difference,” Johnson said.

“It is our responsibility to stay ahead of society — to anticipate, guide and stimulate.”

Bill Rice, UT’s vice president for health affairs, told trustees the TennCare financial situation has improved recently because the state is reinstating money that was cut from UT’s graduate medical education program earlier this year. While UT had to reduce its entering class by 30 students, those positions will be restored for the next class.

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