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December 1, 2010
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
As we near the end of the fall semester, I want to give you a quick update on various issues and begin a universitywide conversation about ways we can work creatively to solve budget challenges.
Your Ideas Are Needed: Dr. Dressman and Vice President Bradley are working together to address our budget situation, and I am also asking faculty and staff to send us ideas on ways we can be more efficient. UHD has already set aside money for a 5 percent reduction in state appropriated funds for the current fiscal year (FY 2011). The Governor's office recently asked us to set aside another 2 to 3 percent for this year, which is an additional $600,000 to $800,000. We expect to use lapsed salary dollars and other funds to cover a large portion of this reduction. However, next fiscal year (FY 2012) we expect to see another reduction of at least 10 percent or $2.6 million, which will need to be addressed largely through base budget reductions. We want to hear your recommendations. I especially would like to hear your ideas on two questions.
Q1: Do you have a good idea about how the university can (a) cut costs, (b) generate additional revenue, or (c) become more efficient? If so, please share your ideas with me via email. I will ensure that every reasonable idea is given serious consideration during the budget planning/reduction process.
Q2: With a reduced budget, it will become more important than ever that we avoid redundancy and work more efficiently. Have you encountered any practice or requirement in the university (at department, college or university level) that makes no sense to you or seems redundant or unnecessary? If so, please send me an email describing the practice/rule.
Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will read and consider all comments.
We will post ideas you submit on my website - in summary form - under "Budget Discussions." While we cannot guarantee all comments will be posted, I want to thank you for taking time to respond.
Legislative Update: The next State Legislative session begins in January and as all have read and heard, this session will be very challenging, particularly for higher education. While Texas faces many budget challenges, UHD's legislative request still includes two important new special items. One request is for authority to issue $41.4 million in tuition revenue bonds to fund the construction of a 120,000-square-foot building to house the College of Sciences and Technology and the other is a $1.6 million request for UHD's award-winning Scholars Academy.
Name Change: We are continuing to work with the Chancellor, the Board of Regents and the legislative delegation on this issue. We will likely know more about what to expect within the first month of the session.
Enrollment Goals: Enrollment is the major source of revenue for the university and we are exploring innovative ways to increase enrollment. Our first Winter Term offers students an online mini-session in December and January. This online mini-session will help students graduate early and will bolster our semester credit hours during a base funding year. We hope to enroll 703 more students for spring semester compared to last year to reach a total of 12,738 students. I trust all of you will encourage prospective students and current students to see an advisor and to enroll early.
Strategic Planning: With the budget reductions we know about and those we anticipate, planning is critical. We are not likely to have new monies. Even so, we must build on the planning process we started, focusing on strategic priorities. We have identified a Strategic Planning Committee. Penny Cureton, executive director, special projects, will staff the committee, which will begin work on a Strategic Plan in spring 2011.
Provost Search: Search Committee Chair Don Bates expects to have a list of finalists later this week. Interviews are tentatively scheduled on campus the week of December 6. Information about finalists will be posted on the Provost Search website and in Skyline News as soon as it is available. The pool of candidates is very robust and the committee looks forward to announcing the finalists.
In this holiday season, I want to thank you for all you do for the University. These are challenging times for the important work we do. I appreciate your efforts on behalf of our students and on behalf of UHD.
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Last updated or reviewed on 2/21/11