• University Leadership Council
    University Leadership Council


DATE: February 12, 2014
TO: University Leadership Council
FROM: Sidney A. McPhee, President

Dr.  McPhee asked that I forward this article to you so that you could see what is going on at one of our sister institutions. This emphasizes the importance of our student success initiatives so we might avoid a similar situation.

University of Memphis budget to cut $10.6 million from academic affairs

By Jennifer Backer
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

University of Memphis Provost M. David Rudd unveiled plans Monday to plug part of the university’s $20 million budget hole for the 2014-2015 school year by trimming costs in academic affairs by $10.6 million.

The university’s fiscal year begins July 1.

While the $10.6 million budget cut to academic affairs spared faculty and staff positions — at least for now — the cuts still do “damage to the university,” said Richard Evans, U of M Faculty Senate President.

Another $4.5 million in cuts will be rolled into the next fiscal year.

“We understand the financial situation we are in and that we needed to make cuts,” Evans said. “The purpose of the budget-cutting group was to do as little damage as possible — but you can’t be stronger.”

About one-third of the cuts are through administrative cost-cutting measures such as not replacing workers who have retired or left, another one-third are through the recovery of designated tuition and fee funds, while the remainder are direct hits to core academic delivery.

Much of the university’s current financial woes stems from a 1,500-student drop in enrollment over the past two years. That decline in enrollment created a $14 million hit to tuition revenue.

But a confluence of factors have added to the challenges — a loss of $44 million in state appropriations over six years and the end of another $66 million in federal stimulus funding.

With a graduation rate of 44 percent, the U of M has been hard hit by 2010 changes in the focus and funding of Tennessee’s public higher education. The law, The Complete College Tennessee Act, moved the state away from the old model of funding public universities, community colleges and technical institutes based on enrollment to a new model based on graduation rates and student outcomes.

As many as 25 percent of the university’s freshman drop out before their sophomore year, and another 18 to 20 percent leave after their sophomore years.

Until recently, U of M administrators could use reserve cash to plug budget gaps that emerged in August after enrollment figures were tallied, Evans said.

But without any cash reserves, the university has had to tap “last resort sources of money.”

Rudd has told faculty members that unless the school makes structural cuts to the university’s operational budget — the $20 million budget gap will be a recurring annual problem in the U of M’s $478 million annual operational budget.

Last year, Rudd proposed consolidating four colleges into two and handing over control of a speech therapy clinic to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, for an additional $7 million in cost savings.

Rudd said the university also hopes to raise new revenue by boosting enrollment, student retention and degree completion.

“Without a stable increase in revenue, we can’t support the current budget at the level we had been operating,” he said. “We will have to raise money through new revenue or we will have to take another look at the budget.”

The cuts will spare departments like engineering, health sciences and business in an effort to position them for future growth. Rudd did not provide information on specific department-level cuts in other areas.

DATE: January 24, 2014
TO: University Leadership Council
FROM: Sidney A. McPhee, President

SAVE THE DATE:  Monday, February 3, 2014 (8AM - 3PM)

GUEST:  Dr. Richard DuFour, one of the nation’s leading experts, author, and researcher in educational leadership and best practices for increasing student achievement will meet with the University Leadership Council.

8:00 - 8:20 am University Leadership Council
Continental Breakfast
Room 201: Student Government Parliamentary Room
8:20 - 10:30 am University Leadership Council
Purpose of the Meeting

President Sidney McPhee
Dr. Bob Eaker
Dr. Rick DuFour
10:20 - 11 am Break  
11:00 am - Noon Chairs Council
Room 201: Student Government Parliamentary Room

Dr. Rick DuFour
12:15 - 2:00 pm Brad Bartel
Michael Allen
Mark Byrnes
Ken Paulson
David Urban
Terry Whiteside
Bonnie Allen
Mike Boyle
Bud Fischer
Lana Seivers
John Vile
Working Lunch
Room 280: President's Executive Conference Room

Dr. Rick DuFour
2:00 - 2:30 pm Break  
2:30 - 3:00 pm Exit / Wrap-up
President's Office
President Sidney McPhee
Dr. Rick DuFour
Dr. Bob Eaker
Dr. Deb Sells

DATE:December 11, 2009
TO: University Leadership Council
FROM:Sidney A. McPhee, President

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank those of you who participated in our first "Administrative Council"; meeting last month. I was very encouraged by your enthusiastic attendance as well as the quality of our discussion, and I look forward to working with each of you in the New Year. Having considered the feedback that I received regarding the name of the group, I have decided to identify it as the "University Leadership Council.";

As promised, we have established an online forum which will help facilitate discussion among the members of this group on issues of importance to the University and its personnel. You may wish to utilize this opportunity for group discussion in the coming weeks as you review my end-of-the-year report on our Positioning the University for the Future Initiative, which I expect to release early next week. This report will provide the campus community with an update on our progress as it relates to the implementation of many of the recommendations that were identified in my May 21, 2009 final report.

As you well know, discussions regarding the overall economy as well as how MTSU will be impacted by future budget cuts and the end of stimulus funding continue to spark vigorous dialog and debate throughout the state. In a related issue, I have received a number of communications from faculty, staff and others over the past few days regarding comments made by individuals associated with the University who were quoted in a December 6 article in the Daily News Journal. Like many of you, I am concerned about the inaccurate perceptions that are now floating around about the average salary and responsibilities of MTSU professors. In an effort to reduce some of these negative perceptions, we provided the DNJ with more accurate information regarding the salaries of our faculty and attempted to provide additional clarity on the role and expectations of faculty at comprehensive universities.

Please know that I value our faculty and recognize how hard they work, especially during these times when we all have to do less with less and in some cases more with less. I acknowledge and support the diverse roles that faculty play here at MTSU and fully understand the importance of maintaining the proper balance between teaching, research and service. Unfortunately, the value and importance of these responsibilities are not impervious to the economic challenges that we will continue to face. We must all remain mindful that budget reductions and other sacrifices will have to be made which will impact the work load of our faculty and other critical aspects of our institutional operations.

Although the economic picture for the near future remains somewhat bleak and we must continue to face the current fiscal challenges head-on, as I have said before, I am confident that we are well prepared to emerge from this period of crisis with positive results. Your support and involvement as the University Leadership Council will be a critical factor in helping MTSU rise above these difficult times. I am extremely grateful to have each of you as a resource in the University's strategic planning efforts and will keep you apprised of ways in which you can actively help us position the University for the future.

Please feel free to share this information and other updates with your colleagues as appropriate, and best wishes to you for a safe and joyous holiday break.

DATE: November 2, 2009
TO: MTSU Faculty and Staff
FROM: Sidney A. McPhee, President
RE: MTSU Administrative Council

I am pleased to announce the establishment of the Middle Tennessee State University Administrative Council, a group of faculty, staff and administrators who will serve in an advisory capacity to the President and the executive administration in identifying and addressing issues of importance and concern to the University. Composed of 83 individuals from across the campus community, the Council will offer recommendations and perspectives on University policies and procedures and will serve as a sounding board for new ideas and institutional initiatives.

I am excited about the establishment of this Council because it provides University decision makers with direct access to the thoughts and opinions of a broader range of key personnel as we address issues that have the potential to impact the overall success and viability of MTSU. The feedback and guidance provided by this group, which will meet periodically, will be particularly important as we continue to implement the recommendations associated with our Positioning the University for the Future Initiative and as we work to address future economic challenges as anticipated by the State.

The Council's first meeting is scheduled for Monday, November, 16, 2009, at 2:00 p.m., in Cantrell Hall in the Tom Jackson Building. Shortly, we will send out some materials for your review prior to the meeting. We will also provide more information about the Council, along with its membership, in the next issue of the Record as well as on the MTSU Web site.