2019 Self Study - Part II, Standard 7: Resources, Facilities and Equipment

Executive summary:

Standard 7 has been a problem area for the department for more than a decade. But the department and the university have made efforts to improve the resources, facilities, and equipment provided to the department.

During the 2008 site team visit, the department was found out of compliance with Standard 7 because the department’s budget had not increased since 1992 and because Frist Hall was not meeting the needs of the department. Following that visit the department’s annual budget was doubled from $16,000 to $32,000. In 2014, the site team found the department in compliance with Standard 7 thanks to renovations to the TV studio and classroom in Metro Hall. But the site team warned that the department needed to be relocated from Frist Hall to improved facilities.

Today the department’s annual budget is the largest it has even been. The university is currently renovating Lupton Hall, the old library building, with plans to move the department into the second floor once renovations are complete in July 2020. The move will provide the department with room for additional facilities including an additional laboratory classroom, an equipment storage room, audio recording facilities, and video editing facilities. In the last year, the department has significantly improved the audio and visual equipment available for use by students.

Yet the department still remains under-resourced in one key area: faculty. The growth rate of full-time faculty lines has lagged behind growth rates in SCH and major enrollment, however in the past two years the department has added several lecturers.

 

  1. Complete and attach Table 10, “Budget.” If necessary, provide a supplementary explanation.

Table 10. Budget

Show below the annual unit budget for each of the three years preceding the accreditation visit. “Annual budget” refers to funds directly under control of the unit for the entire year (12 months). Budget figures should not include expenditures for building maintenance, retirement allowances, scholarships, prizes or student aid. List student newspaper budget only if it is under control of unit and is used in instruction.                                                                                               

Budget                                                                                                     

 

Budget Item

2016- 2017

2017 - 2018

2018 – 2019

(Self-study year)

 

Administrative salaries

70,336

47,971

49,362

 

Teaching salaries (full time)

535,146

598,566

635,114

 

Teaching salaries (part time/adjunct)

25,190

27,413

43,603

 

Teaching assistants

 

 

 

 

Clerical salaries

31,133

34,399

32,599

 

Equipment

***

***

***

 

Equipment maintenance

***

***

***

 

Supplies

17,666

36,604

17,666

 

Library resources

 

 

 

 

Databases,
online information services

 

 

 

 

Travel

4,740

4,740

13,040

 

Research

 

 

 

 

Other (please list)

Media Processing

Communication

Prof Svc, Membership

Contract, Spc. Services

Other Services

 

2,900

5,091

3,550

4,819

15,000

 

2,900

4,852

3,550

4,819

14,546

 

2,900

5,091

3,550

4,819

17,892

 

TOTAL ANNUAL JOURNALISM/
MASS COMMUNICATIONS BUDGET

715,571

780,360

825,636

***  Equipment and equipment maintenance is largely paid for with lab fees and is not included in the department’s annual budget. A table showing actual expenditures, including expenditures from the lab fees, is provided below. Equipment & equipment maintenance are combined and reported under equipment.                 

 

Actual Expenditures                                                                              

 

Budget Item

2016- 2017

2017 - 2018

2018 – 2019

(Self-study year)

 

Administrative salaries

67,107

47,970

49,362

 

Teaching salaries (full time)

539,973

548,004

629,620

 

Teaching salaries (part time/adjunct)

25,190

27,413

43,603

 

Teaching assistants

 

 

 

 

Clerical salaries

29,169

27,372

35,352

 

Equipment

18,307

17,653

78,267

 

Equipment maintenance

 

 

 

 

Supplies

14,446

42,744**

13,948

 

Library resources

 

 

 

 

Databases,
online information services

 

 

 

 

Travel

12,743

15,931

18,205

 

Research

 

 

 

 

Other (please list)

Media Processing

Communication

Prof Svc, Membership

Contract, Spc. Services

Other Services

 

6,305

4,188

2,375

7,443

0

 

4,519

3,737

3,058

14,624

106

 

7,624

5,221

5,011

13,898

833

 

TOTAL ANNUAL JOURNALISM/
MASS COMMUNICATIONS BUDGET

727,246

753,131

900,944


**Includes some equipment bought with general funds. When equipment is bought with general funds it is charged to supplies. 

  1. Describe the process through which the unit develops its budget, including preparation of the budget request and spending plan, review and approval, and the role of faculty in the process.

The current budget process for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a “top-down” system. The budget for each college and academic department is determined by an administrative committee composed of UTC’s chancellor, provost, vice chancellor for finance and operations, and associate vice chancellor for business and financial affairs. However, each spring every College of Arts & Sciences department head makes a presentation to the dean as to any additional budgetary needs.  Heads are typically notified in the summer what the budget will be for the next fiscal year.  Also, if there are any excess funds in May, heads are advised to “spend it down by June 30.”

The department also receives money from online fees.  For each online class offered in the department, students are charged an online fee.  The department is then able to use these fees for some faculty travel, along with any reaccreditation costs.

 

  1. Describe the adequacy of resources for the unit and the sources of revenue for those resources (university funds, fees, private funding, other). Describe how the unit will supplement its annual budget from other sources or reallocate resources to reach its strategic goals.

Financial Resources

The department’s annual base operating budget has increased over the last three years, growing from $41,925 in fiscal year 2017 to $46,471 in fiscal year 2019.

The department supplements its base operating budget with revenue collected from laboratory fees, online fees, summer incentive funds, and gifts to the department.

Students enrolled in laboratory classes are charged a $50 fee, with the entire fee going to the department. The funds can be rolled over to future years, with the approval of the Provost.

The amount collected each semester varies with enrollment. In Fall 2019, the department expects to collect approximately $24,000 in laboratory fees. The laboratory fees pay for new equipment, the maintenance of existing equipment, and the purchase of some software.

Over the last year these fees have allowed the department to make substantial purchases of audio and video equipment. Starting next year, the department will have to pay for Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions for all the department’s computer labs and for all faculty. It is unclear how this will impact our laboratory fee account.

Students enrolled in online classes are charged an online fee. These funds are distributed to a number of entities within the institution, with the department receiving a portion of the fee. Online fees can only be spent on expenses related to online learning, as defined and approved by the university. The university is allowing these funds to be used for reaccreditation purposes. As of August 2019, the department has $17,130 in online fees available. So far, the department has only been able to spend a small portion of these fees. The department is looking at ways these fees could be used to further online learning.

The department also has a small gift fund made up of contributions to the department. The spending of those funds is at the discretion of the department head. As of Spring 2019 the gift fund had approximately $8,000.

Faculty Resources

The department has seen significant growth in major enrollment, minor enrollment and scheduled credit hour production (SCH). Between 2006-18 major enrollment grew 72.72% (4.66% annual growth rate). Between 2009-2018 minor enrollment grew 56.06% (3.88% annual growth rate). Between 2010-18 SCH grew 78.77% (7.53% annual growth rate). Between 2006-18 the number of full-time faculty lines grew 61% (4.07% annual growth rate).

The growth rate of full-time faculty lines has lagged behind growth rates in SCH and major enrollment. This growth, coupled with the fact the department was already understaffed in 2006, has resulted in the department having the highest major-to-full-time faculty line ratio in the college and 4th highest in the university. In 2017-2018, the department had 410 majors and 9.25 full-time faculty FTE lines, resulting in a student to full-time faculty ratio of 44.32 to 1.

In the last two years the department has added several non-tenure track lecturers to the faculty, which has helped reduce the student to full-time faculty ratio some. As of Fall 2019, the department has 451 majors and 13 full-time faculty lines, resulting in a student to full-time faculty ratio of 34.69 to 1. In December 2019, the department successfully hired a new tenure-track, assistant professor who is set to join the faculty in August 2020. In December 2019, the university announced the department will add a lecturer in Fall 2020. In Fall 2019, a tenured associate professor announced she would retire at the end of this academic year. The university has yet to authorize the hiring of her replacement. In Fall 2020, it is predicted the department will have 13-14 full-time faculty.  

 

  1. Describe how the resources provided by the institution compare with the resources for similar units on your campus.

Faculty Resources (2017-18 Comparison)

During the 2017-18 academic year, COMM had the highest student-to-faculty ratio (full-time faculty FTE to undergraduate and graduate enrollment) in the College of Arts and Sciences.

COMM’s student-to-faculty ratio was 5.7 times more than History’s ratio and more than 10 times the ratio for other departments in the humanities division of the college.

 

 

Department

Enrollment

(UG & G)

Full-Time Faculty FTE

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

 

Communication

410

9.25

44.32

 

Psychology

624

16

39

 

Biology, Geology, Environmental Science

1018

26.12

38.97

 

Political Science & Public Service

227

9

25.22

 

Social, Cultural & Justice Studies

523

22.25

23.51

 

Art

248

13

19.08

 

Performing Arts

101

9.25

10.92

 

Chemistry & Physics

201

19.17

10.49

 

History

93

12

7.75

 

Modern & Classic Languages & Literature

48

11

4.36

 

English

217

50

4.34

 

Philosophy & Religion

29

7

4.14

 

Mathematics

94

26.5

3.55

 

COMM had the 4th highest student-to-faculty ratio in the university.

 

Department

Enrollment

(UG & G)

Full-Time Faculty FTE

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

 

Marketing and Entrepreneurship

694

8.25

84.12

 

School of Education

895

19

47.11

 

Health & Human Performance

877

19.68

44.56

 

Communication

410

9.25

44.32

 

  1. Describe the unit’s classrooms, offices, computer labs or other building spaces, as well as technology support services. If the unit administers university media or student publications, include a description of equipment and facilities devoted to those operations.

The department has three computer classrooms under its control. Two of these classrooms are located in Frist Hall and one is located in Metro Annex near the department’s television studio. Each of these classrooms contain 16 Macintosh computers for student use, a discussion area, web camera conferencing technology, a digital projector, a white board, and an instructor’s podium containing a Macintosh computer, a document camera, and audio-visual equipment. The Macintosh computers include both the Adobe Creative suite and Microsoft Office suite.

The department also has use of a 40-seat classroom for small lectures. This classroom is equipped with web camera conferencing technology, a digital projector, a white board, and an instructor’s podium containing a Macintosh computer, a document camera, and audio-visual equipment.

Frist Hall also contains two small computer labs for use by students outside of class. These labs also contain printers, including three printers dedicated to our photojournalism courses.

Metro Annex contains the department’s television studio and control room. The studio is regularly used by the department’s Television News Production class and is also used by the independent student-media organization, Mocs News. Since the last site-team visit, the studio and control room were converted from analog to fully digital. The studio includes a news set, a talk-show set, and a green screen.

All full-time faculty are housed in Frist Hall. Tenure-tenure track faculty currently have individual offices while lecturers share offices. When the search for a new assistant professor is completed in August 2020, the department will run out of office space in Frist Hall. 

Technology support for classrooms and faculty computers is provided by the university’s IT department.

 

  1. Describe the unit’s most urgent needs for resources, if any, and the plan to address these needs.

The department urgently needs additional resources in two areas: faculty and facilities.

Faculty Resources

As mentioned under questions 3 and 4, the department still needs to expand its full-time faculty. In late Fall 2018, the department presented college and university administrators with a report detailing the need to add full-time faculty lines to the department. In response, administration authorized the hiring of one lecturer, to start in August 2019 (in addition to the new lecturer who started in January 2019) and one tenure-track assistant professor, to start in August 2020. Although the addition of two lecturers since Fall 2018 has helped decrease the student-to-faculty ratio, the ratio remains high and teaching loads of full-time faculty have not changed.

Facilities

The majority of the department’s facilities still reside in Frist Hall, the home of the department for more than two decades. In 2014, the University announced plans to demolish Frist Hall, but the University has struggled to find a new home for the department.

In late Spring 2018, the University announced plans for the department to move to Lupton Hall. Lupton Hall, former home of the library, is currently undergoing renovations. Once the renovations are complete in July 2020, the department will move into part of the second floor of Lupton Hall. The move will provide the department with much needed room for additional facilities including an additional laboratory classroom, an equipment storage room, audio recording facilities, and video editing facilities. 

The department’s TV studio and one of the department’s classrooms will continue to be housed in Metro Annex.

 


2019 Self-Study