Chancellor Jack Lassiter encouraged new and returning faculty during the State of the University Address, “Together We Can Find Solutions to Challenges,” which took place Aug. 15 in the Fine Arts Center.
“There is, if you will, fame and fortune in teaching,” Lassiter said. “Students are looking to you to be a teaching faculty. We focus in teaching, and I commend you for it. Our university would not be where it is or where it is going without you.”
Lassiter discussed upcoming plans for the University including the adoption of a salary formula. The University set aside $50,000 to conduct a salary study on the Monticello campus. The McGehee and Crossett Colleges of Technology have the option of setting aside funds to conduct salary studies on their respective campuses.
“We feel confident we will be able to make announcements in October (on the salary study),” Lassiter said. “We have to take this a step at a time, and we will start this year by making by adjustments.”
Currently, the study has identified 49 people for salary adjustments. Lassiter said the committee will inform the figure heads, who will then pass the information on to the individuals. He also noted that no one will receive a downward adjustment because of the study.
Faculty will have the opportunity to challenge the salary formula in case of mistakes. According to Lassiter, the committee is still working on bringing all the records up to date. This information should be available by mid September.
Lassiter also discussed the progress of Phase I of the Master Plan, as well as future plans for Phase II.
Ideal Construction of Crossett estimates the completion of Wells and Sorrells halls to be in Sept. 2008. The costs of the renovations total approximately $4.2 million.
“I appreciate your patience and understanding,” Lassiter said, regarding the construction on campus.
According to Lassiter the bid process for the athletic and band practice facility will begin in mid October. Mid October also marks the beginning of discussion for Phase II of the Master Plan, which will include:
The state legislature promised $4 million for Phase II in addition to a $1 million gift from a donor, who has yet to be announced. Lassiter said they will also look at the possibility of adding another residence hall.
The University will dedicate the Weevil Pond fountain and Weevil Walk Oct. 12. By next summer, the campus community will be able to enjoy fishing in Weevil Pond. The Game and Fish Commission supplied the pond with 400 blue gill, 200 catfish and 481 largemouth bass. Security will enforce the no-fishing rule until next summer.
Lassiter also discussed technological changes on campus.
The Information and Technology Department announced a new e-mail policy to begin Oct. 1. The policy states that all e-mails left in the Inbox for 90 days will automatically delete. Students can save e-mails from being automatically deleted by creating folders.
Due to a build-up of undeleted and unread e-mails, the e-mail server takes longer to load information. Automatically deleting old e-mails will free up storage space on the server, which will in turn provide students with faster access.
Incorporating the community of Monticello into his address, Lassiter discussed the recent sales tax that passed by 64 percent. He said the new tax will benefit the area as well as UAM.
“We are very involved in economic development,” Lassiter said. “I know we are playing an important role in the life of this community.”
Lassiter encouraged faculty and professional staff to take an active role in, not only the town, but the campus community.
“I encourage you to participate in the committees of this campus,” he said.
Members of the campus community can still volunteer for the Centennial Committee, created to plan the celebration in 2009. The University will also have a special task force for reviewing recruitment, retention and orientation processes to see if improvements are needed.
Faculty also has a better opportunity for attending classes since a new tuition waiver passed. Full-time faculty pays 10 percent of the tuition rate and no fees, which is approximately $10.50 per credit hour. The University plans to look at the tuition structure during the summer terms as well, in order to reduce costs.
“We’ve got a great team and that makes such a difference,” Lassiter said. “I hope you enjoy, as I do every morning, coming to this campus. I appreciate you and applaud you for all that you’re doing.”
Lassiter discussed achievements for the first year of the Strategic Plan:
Lassiter ended the address by presenting a challenge to the faculty and staff present.
“I appreciate you and all you do, but I am going to give you a challenge … I want to see more failures. I think we need to take some risks and try new things. Let’s think outside the box.
I don’t criticize failure, but applaud your efforts. Let’s try new things and think about what this institution can do to improve what you already do.”
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ŠThe Voice 2007
Revised 01/13/2008 03:18:06 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/5_1/address.htm