Minutes of the Campus Faculty Meeting
November 19, 2014
3:30 p.m. - Giffels Auditorium
Neil Allison, Chair
Linda Jones, Secretary
Minutes Status: Approved
Campus Faculty November 19, 2014
I. Call to order
Meeting called to order at 3:37 by the Chair, Neil Allison
II. Approval of the agenda
III. Approval of the minutes
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
Our University: Past, Present, and Future - Chancellor Gearhart and Provost Gaber
1) Budget Budget
- UA is in good financial shape; best for some time.
- Unrestricted/designated funds are at $140 million; $14 million of this is totally unrestricted, not a very high figure. Would like to see the $14 million more at the level of $50 million.
- E-versity loan amount - approached about the possibility to tap our reserves to help with E-versity - $1.5 million. The Chancellor objected to it as we don't want to tap our $14 million. Nevertheless, the Board will fund E-versity with some of our funds and those of other campuses. The loan should be paid back within 10 years with 1.75 in interest. Pay back only takes place if the funding is there to provide for it.
- Faculty Senate did pass a resolution regarding its concerns with the E-versity.
- One can participate in the E-versity but one must ensure that he/she is fulfilling their duties at the UA.
- We have met the Governor's challenge and have increased our graduation rate.
- We don't know where we will be with the new state government. If they do cut taxes, that could impact the UA. So, we are in the process of trying to figure out what we might need to hold back in reserve if our budget is cut. We must be prudent. A big unknown at this point.
- Some information emerging that insurance costs could go up dramatically.
2) Growth - Enrollment - Salaries
- Faculty lines grew faster than we thought they would. Brought in more students than expected this year.
- We are the 7th fastest growing public research institution in the nation. A testament to the UA faculty. Board scores and GPA the highest they've ever been.
- Need to keep graduate student growth on our radar; the rate of graduate students has not grown at the same rate as undergraduates. Must think about the careful balance of undergraduate and graduate student growth. Mus also increase the number of assistantships. Have brought the floor of the assistantship up to $9000 for 9 months. Have added about 40-50 graduate assistantships across campus.
- Must continue to increase the faculty numbers. Thus far, instructors and lecturers have grown at a faster rate compared to assistant professors, and so on. More lines have been allocated than have been filled. There's a shortfall of about 13 tenure-track positions across campus that have not been filled by tenure-track faculty.
- In terms of salary comparisons, we are below average compared to peers at the Professor and Associate Professor levels; we are above average at the Assistant Professor level. When we compare our college salaries to the SUG - Southern University Group Institutions - as of Fall 2013, we are below average. Much of our campus is below average. Our funds often keep us from making a big dent in our salary increases.
3) Top 50
- Top 50 isn't about chasing a ranking. It's about doing the right things and the good things that our university can do for our students, for our state, to enhance the number of good students with Bachelor's degrees who can help the needs of Arkansas. It's about generating research funding to stimulate innovation, new knowledge, and economic development for Arkansas. It's about helping Arkansas as an economic engine.
- Have to improve our graduation rates and we are! Different things have helped: University Perspectives, online degree audit, December graduation, intersession classes, etc. So many great initiatives in place to help students graduate.
- In 2014 - ranked 211 for graduation and retention; we should be higher next year. Important for students and state!
- The number of courses we have with less than 20 students has also increased - 44% of on-campus courses have less than 20 students. 18% of our courses have more than 50 students.
4) Facilities, Renovations, and Additions
- The state of Arkansas does not provide funding for capital projects except with funds that the Governor has access to. In many states, funding for buildings is linked to enrollment.
- We are the most underfunded campus in the state at 53%. Thus it is difficult to keep our facilities up.
- Did implement a facilities fund in 2008. This helped! Private gifts have helped as well. We have other facilities we need to look at including: Kimpel Hall, Science Building, Fine Arts Building, Mullins Library, playing fields, Business Building, Union, Memorial Hall, Old Agriculture Building, and so on. Have approached the Board with a potential facility fee -- may ask for an additional 1% to help us tackle a number of the projects, in conjunction with private funds.
- Campus does look great because of private money and facility fee. If we don't do this work now, in 10--15 years, it will be that much more expensive!
- With regards our Global Campus and E-Versity, we believe our courses and programs are of superior quality. We want to keep our programs of high quality. We aren't so concerned about competition because we have a brand and a pipeline. Feels that we are strong enough that it won't hurt us. BUT, taking our resources is not so ideal though we do respect the Board's decision. Bobbitt believes that E-versity will appeal to a different type of student. So, that is something to keep in mind.
- Provost is aware that more office space is needed, in addition to research space.
- Chancellor is proud of the university, it's faculty and students. He loves the enthusiasm for the UA, for our football team and their recent SEC victory, and for our fantastic coach. So glad folks have hung in there.
- Chairman Allison commented on how he appreciates serving again as Faculty Chair and welcomes the transparency that exists with the Chancellor and Provost and looks forward to working with them these next few semesters.
Meeting adjourned at 4:37.