University Concludes 5-Year Plan and
Looks to Future
Chancellor Bill Stacy and the University's Stragetic Planning Committee hope there will be a lot more to celebrate at UTC this coming year&emdash;more students, more faculty members, more scholarships, more diversity, more facilities, and even more salaries.
The group met with Stacy recently to establish the benchmarks for the final year of the University's five-year plan, which began in fiscal year 1994-95 and concludes with 1998-99.
"As we develop new plans that will take us into the next millennium, we need to complete our current plan," said Stacy. "We have made a lot of progress toward meeting very sensible objectives, and those accomplishments are important in the life of UTC."
The University will work toward an enrollment this year of between 8,550 and 8,600 students, an approximate 1 percent enrollment growth. Within this growth, University officials hope to see enrollment gains in graduate students to 16 percent of the overall student body.
Efforts will be made to award scholarships to a more students while at the same time reorganizing UTC's scholarship programs to make them more fiscally responsible. Also, additional dollars will be sought to make available more scholarships to African-American students and University Honors students.
"We want to attract and retain the best students to UTC, and to do that we have seen the tremendous value of academic scholarships," said Stacy. "We needed to refine our scholarship awards to allow us to plan appropriately for our financial commitments as we recognize student achievement and continue bringing the academically gifted to UTC."
Another goal is to reduce the University's reliance on part-time faculty, from 25 percent to 20 percent. The University will seek to hire additional faculty members, bringing the faculty FTE to 405 for fall 1998, up from 396 in 1997. In support of this objective, four new faculty lines have been authorized for fall 1998.
Faculty and staff salaries will also be examined for potential increases. The University's long-standing goal has been to pay faculty salaries of 105 percent of our regional peer institutional average; currently they are at 94 percent. the goal for administrators' and staff members' salaries remains 100 percent of the average of these same comparison universities.
"Just like we want to recruit the best students, we want to recruit and retain the best faculty and staff members," said Stacy. "From what I have seen, UTC's faculty and staff do a great job, and I want them to be rewarded appropriately. During the first four years of our strategic plan, UTC salaries have not made progress toward achieving the goals. In fact, salaries have moved farther below regional and national comparisons, but I believe salary goals must remain a high priority."
To celebrate diversity on campus, the plan sets a goal of 15.7 percent enrollment of African-Americans among undergraduate students and a 10 percent enrollment of African-Americans among graduate students, compared to the University's mandated goals of 15.7 percent for undergraduates and 6.6 percent for graduates. The plan also retains an objective for the percentage of minority faculty members to rise to 12 percent, up from 5.6 percent.
Efforts to improve campus facilities will include the move into the Metropolitan Hospital building, the planning phase for a new engineering, math, and computer science building, and substantive progress in a campus master land-use plan. The year will also see work toward additional student housing and renovation of the University Center, as well as discussions about a track, enhanced intramural areas, and a fraternity/sorority row.
Perhaps the most dramatic changes in 1998-99 will result from the campus claiming the assets of technology. The University will be creating four new computer labs with substantial enhancements to two others, advancing library technology, purchasing software licenses, using our new fiber optic infrastructure, and implementing its new multi-million dollar Banner administrative and student services software and hardware.
Additionally, the University will be creating community parnterships and seeking to increase its grant and donor support for academic and student programs of excellence.
The first four years of the current plan saw record enrollments, growth in the University of Chattanooga Foundation endowment to record levels, the addition of several undergraduate and graduate degree programs, the renovation of Fletcher Hall, the construction of two student apartment complexes, and the community's completion of Finley Stadium and Frost Stadium.
Stacy plans to seek substantial input from the campus and the Chattanooga community in development of a new five-year operations plan and a campus physical master plan for UTC. These plans will guide UTC from 1999 to 2004.
"The first four years of our current strategic plan have seen remarkable achievements at UTC," said Stacy. "Faculty, staff, students, and friends of this University have achieved or surpassed nearly every annual goal. Academic excellence has been the first priority. Sudent success has been the constant. Faculty and staff have made excellence obtainable by their dedication to UTC, especially to our students, in spite of financial shortfalls that prevented anticipated funding for most years. The biggest disappointments have likely been shortfalls of funds for faculty and staff compensation and absence of adequate equipment, technology, and facilities investment.
"The fifth year may allow the campus to retain its momentum in achieving academic excellence and to begin to address some of those areas of the plan not yet achieved."
Last updated: May 25, 1998.
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