Trustees Discuss Budget Challenges and Progress toward Strategic Goals

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KNOXVILLE — Members of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees focused their attention on budget concerns and goals for enhancing efficiency during its fall meeting held Thursday and Friday in Knoxville.

Reductions in state funding have affected all UT campuses, and top administrators shared information on how to preserve the quality of programs in this next year.

UT President John Petersen addressed the board about the state budget challenges which have required the reduction of $38 million across the system during this fiscal year.

“Our responsibility is to deliver an education that will best prepare the sons and daughters of Tennessee to compete in a global economy,” Petersen said, stressing the need to preserve the university’s core mission of education, research and service.

All campuses and institutes are focusing resources on programs that advance the university’s strategic goals even through challenging economic times.

“We will continue to optimize the dollars we have through many initiatives currently underway, among them being the board committee on Effectiveness and Efficiency (for the Future) so that we can look at the short-term and long-term efficiency we can gain,” Petersen said. For more information on the committee, visit http://bot.tennessee.edu/committees/eef/.

The president also gave a progress report on the UT System Scorecard –- the second such annual report since the UT adoption of the strategic plan in 2006. The scorecard monitors progress toward strategic goals of access and success, research and economic development and outreach and globalization. View the scorecard at http://president.tennessee.edu/docs/scorecard08.pdf.

Healthy progress has been made on goals for economic development and outreach, but improvement is needed in areas of student access and success and research and globalization, he said.

Measurements that received an unsatisfactory rating include the statewide graduation rate of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors.

Enhancing achievement and graduation of students in STEM fields is one of the three factors that measures student success, according to the scorecard report. Petersen pointed out the direct link to the nation’s competitiveness and the ability to educate talented students in these fields.

Another area targeted for improvement is the availability of UT-sponsored international study experiences. Healthy progress was, however, measured in the number of active international collaborations.

In other action, the board:

-Approved the election of Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida, as Chancellor of the Knoxville campus. See release at http://www.utk.edu/news/article.php?id=4805.

-Approved the transition of the Audiology and Speech Pathology program from UT Knoxville to the UT Health Science Center. See release at http://www.utk.edu/news/article.php?id=4806.

-Approved the naming of the Dr. William M. Bass Anthropology Center — A new building at the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility, also known as the Body Farm, named in honor of Bass, the facility’s founder and professor emeritus. Bass has committed $250,000 toward construction, and Jimmy and Dee Haslam have pledged the remaining $750,000.

-Approved the naming of UT Knoxville’s new business building after James A. Haslam II and the soon to be built music building after Natalie Leach Haslam.

Jim Haslam is founder and chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and is also chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp. The new building -– now called the James A. Haslam II Business Building -– will open for classes in the spring semester. An alumnus of the college, Haslam and his family have been generous supporters of the university and the college.

The new music building will be called the Natalie Leach Haslam Music Center to honor the UT alumna who majored in French in the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to support for so many UT programs, Natalie Haslam’s support of the arts, in particular the Knoxville Symphony and Knoxville Opera, have had a profound impact on the community.

-Approved the naming of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building — Department and building named in honor of Dr. Min H. Kao, founder of Garmin Ltd. and a graduate of the College of Engineering. Kao gave $17.5 million to the university, and $12.5 million is being used for construction of the new building along Middle Way Drive at the corner of Cumberland Avenue and Estabrook Road. The university also received $24 million in state funding for the project, which is now under construction.

-Approved proposals to add two new academic degrees: a Master of Science in Athletic Training at UT Chattanooga and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in Natural Resources and Environmental Economics at UT Knoxville.

The master’s degree for UTC was originally approved in 1997 by the board but was transitioned to a concentration in the Master of Science in Health and Human Performance in 2002. Last year, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education required a new standard that all athletic training education programs be an undergraduate or graduate program that offers a degree or degree in athletic training.

The new bachelor’s degree would allow graduates to work in private, public and non-profit sectors promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and protection of environmental quality. The major will address a growing need for professionals who can assist in the process of balancing economic and environmental tradeoffs.

Both proposals must be also approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

View Dr. Petersen’s annual report to the board at http://president.tennessee.edu/annual/.


Contact:

Karen Collins, (865) 974-5186, karen.collins@tennessee.edu

Gina Stafford (865) 974-0741 or stafford@tennessee.edu