In her August 18 State of the Campus Address, Chancellor Linda P. Brady described a new normal, an era in which UNCG must continue to improve despite scarce public funds. She outlined a grim budget picture for the near future and a bold vision of what UNCG must do to thrive.
Chancellor Linda P. Brady delivers the State of the Campus address.
Colleges and universities across this country are examining their missions and reinventing themselves to position their institutions for the future, she said. There has been much talk of how we will get through the current economic crisis, as if when the crisis ends we will return to a previous, normal state of affairs. I am convinced we must prepare for a new normal, a future that will demand we recommit this university to academic quality and student success.
Despite legislators' strong support for the UNC system, a flagging economy has led to another budget cut. This year's $6.4 million reduction comes on the heels of last year's permanent $6.9 million cut, which primarily affected administrative, non-classroom functions.
To offset that budget cut, and to increase the amount available for need-based financial aid, student success programming, and faculty recruitment and retention, tuition has been raised $653 for full-time undergraduates and $683 for full-time graduate students.
While we are sensitive to the additional burden this tuition increase imposes on students and their families, we must protect the quality of a UNCG education, and our ability to provide students with the classes and support they need to keep on track. … And despite this increase, UNCG's tuition and fees remain well below our national peers. Only one of our 17 peer institutions has lower tuition and fees for in-state students.
North Carolina anticipates more budget trouble ahead: The deficit in the next biennial budget could exceed $3 billion, a shortfall of about 16 percent. UNC General Administration has instructed the individual campuses to prepare draft plans for cuts of 5 percent and 10 percent in 2011-12. A 10 percent cut for UNCG translates into more than $17 million.
UNCG has long been known for educating bright and talented individuals whose personal and professional accomplishments as students and as graduates make us all very proud. At the same time, during the past decade the quality of first-time freshmen at UNCG has declined vis-a-vis our sister institutions within the UNC system.
At nine UNC campuses, average SAT scores of the freshman class rose in 2009. UNCG was among seven campuses where the average SAT scores dropped.
This summer the Deans Council considered the impact of several proposals to raise the minimum SATs required for admission to UNCG in fall 2011. Following extensive review of the impact of a change on our student profile, the decision was made to raise significantly the minimum SATs required for admission to UNCG.
The minimum SAT required for admission for fall 2011 will be 900, a move expected to shrink the freshman class by about 350 students compared to fall 2010.
Brady also spoke about a planned academic restructuring to create a single, larger academic unit (school or college) focused on health and human development.
While faculty, staff and students in the schools of Human Environmental Sciences and Health and Human Performance have a special interest in this discussion, so do faculty, staff and students in Nursing and other disciplines and programs. These conversations must, and will, engage any and all groups on the campus who want to contribute to building a more visible and successful academic unit focused on health and human development.
The goal is to engage UNCG's restructuring process in the fall and act on recommendations by this time next year. The outcome should result in one fewer major academic division, producing significant financial savings and efficiencies over time. I commit to you that this process will occur in the context of the values of collaboration, transparency, inclusiveness and shared governance for which our campus is known.