State of the University
August, 25, 2005
It is very enjoyable to see the new students enrolled and going to classes. If it
looks more crowded than last year, that's because it is. In spite of our
enrollment management system, there are about 400 more freshmen enrolled
than this time last year. We didn't really want this to happen and it will require
a coordinated effort by many to ensure they are fully incorporated into the
system and get the educational opportunities they deserve. Final enrollment
numbers will be forthcoming in several weeks and I will report back to you.
One piece of good news is that our credit hour production is on-budget or
ahead of budget so far this year. Last year UF finished about $2 million under
its budgeted credit hour production.
An area of real concern in our undergraduate enrollment is the number of
minority students. While the number of Hispanic students in the entering class
increased by 17% (150), the number of African-Americans decreased by 8%
(60). This trend also occurred at the majority of the state's public universities
and, as noted by Governor Bush, it is a statewide problem.
Here at UF we are going to address this in several ways. One, our recruitment
efforts will be expanded with more statewide coverage in an attempt to "sell"
Second, I am announcing today a new scholarship program at the University of
Florida. It will be entitled "Florida Opportunity Scholarships" and will target
students on the basis of economic need and on students who are the first in
their family to attend a 4-year college. The University will initially allocate $1
million and we will seek to raise additional private funds to supplement the
effort. I hope this will become a statewide program and would like to see the
Legislature help fund it. We believe there are significant numbers of students
who can be admitted to UF but who either don't apply or don't enroll because of
the costs associated with attending college away from home. These students
currently either don't go to college or go to a local community college. We
want them at the University of Florida!
In the area of fundraising, I have some positive information to share with you.
This last fiscal year we raised $42 million for the Faculty Challenge. This is
distributed as $16 million in faculty support, $7 million in graduate student
support, and $19 million in research support. Our goal is $150 million and we
will keep at it until we get there.
Last year UF's new endowment investment company (UFICO) grew our
endowment by 9.5% and, combined with new monies, the overall endowment
grew to $836 million. In addition to this growth we distributed $24 million to
endowment spending accounts. This is very important for the University and
our next benchmark is to get to the $1 billion mark.
For this to occur we must continue to increase our fundraising totals. I have
emphasized to the deans and development staff that we must do more and to
assist in the effort we are looking into adding fundraising staff at the college
The overall productivity of the faculty continues to set records. Last year, our
faculty received $493 million in new research awards. This is an amazing
accomplishment! With new research space coming on-line this year the future
looks very good, indeed!
This coming year you will see the launch of the University of Florida Water
Institute. This is a case study for our faculty. The concept emerged from a
group of faculty already doing research in this vital area. We funded this effort
with $1.2 million in start-up funds because it has an interdisciplinary focus,
addresses one of the state's major problems, and has the potential to receive
additional financial support. A $1.8 million endowed chair is dedicated to the
position of Institute Director and several other endowment supports are in the
I consider this a great example of a faculty-driven, strategic initiative. This is
how the University of Florida will move forward to capitalize on our unique
and strategic advantage from which is the large accumulation of academic
disciplines in one location, on one campus.
We will be examining other opportunities in the coming year and I hope we use
the Water Institute as a model.
Today we are posting the results of the 2005 Faculty Survey. They can be
accessed through either the President's Home Page or the Human Resources
Home Page. Kyle Cavanaugh will be distributing college results to the deans.
Remember, the survey is exactly the same as the one distributed last year.
Results are encouraging but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Here
are a few select findings:
------the response rate was 45% with 1784 surveys returned
------faculty confidence in the senior administration increased significantly.
In terms of fairness, treating faculty with respect, core values, decision-making
in strategic areas, improved working environment, and climate of acceptance.
------even the attitude towards benefits showed slight improvement in spite
of the problems we had with health coverage last year.
For sure, we have many areas in need of attention. Frankly, I did not expect
any positive movement this year. The Survey was administered before we
announced the salary program and the VP for Human Resources, Kyle
Cavanaugh, had not begun working at UF.
So, I am satisfied with where we are today while I know we have much to do in
the years ahead.
Perhaps you saw the publication of the annual rankings last week. UF remains
in the same position as last year. While it is easy to make too much of them, I
am again struck by the one -- and only one -- area where we clearly don't fit
with the other top universities. That is in the area of "faculty resources." UF
ranks #120. Further, our faculty/student ratio is by far the highest of the top 50
institutions. So, it is no mystery what our problem is and it is equally clear
what has to be done. Compared to our peers UF operates annually with about
$200 million less. That's a big hardship and it highlights just how good we are
in the other measures of quality. We need $80 million to hire 500 additional
full-time faculty. We need $35 million to raise faculty salaries to the level of
our peers. And, we need $10 million for additional student support staff. It's
so simple and yet so difficult. Beginning the process of raising these funds
will be one of the top legislative priorities this year.
You will soon be seeing a new marketing-communications campaign designed
to highlight the accomplishments and successes of UF, its faculty, students, and
alumni. This effort began in the Spring with research, as our consultants met
with over 100 persons on campus, including many faculty members. The
information from this research forms the basis of our new communications
campaign. It pays tribute to UF students, faculty and alumni who develop a
lifelong commitment to the University. And, it acknowledges that these Gators
consider themselves part of a larger network of people who define by example
how a public research university can best serve the global community.
These students, faculty, staff and alumni are members of the Gator Nation. The
theme of the communications campaign is: The University of Florida:
Foundation for the Gator Nation. It celebrates that unique bond enjoyed by
Traditionally, the Gator Nation has been associated with athletics. We intend
to make it much more than that. It encompasses all who have used their UF
experience to accomplish great things. And it recognizes the faculty -- the
classes you teach, the research you conduct, the patient care and extension
services you provide, and the cultural opportunities you create.
Initially, the campaign will include print advertisements, television spots, on-
campus banners, and direct mail. Also, there will be a public relations
campaign that will focus media attention on the accomplishments of faculty.
More information is forthcoming in the weeks ahead.
Shared Faculty Governance
Kim Tanzer has a busy agenda this year and I am fully supportive of the
initiatives she will undertake. In particular, I will participate in helping ensure
that shared faculty governance is working at the college level. We have a joint
task force that will look at the principles needed to enact shared governance in
the units. This is the logical next step for shared faculty governance at UF.
Tony Brennan and Gene Larson have agreed to share leadership of the task
force. Members have been identified and list can be found on the faculty
Among the other priorities for this year I want to mention the concern we have
over binge or excessive drinking and underage drinking in our community. We
have been working on this for several months and the Alcohol Steering
Committee met this past Monday. This issue affects all of us and I hope you
will support our efforts. In particular, I encourage the students and student
organizations to get behind this effort.
Next to hurricanes, the one item from last year that has caused concern across
most of the University is our implementation of a new software system for
financial, human resources and contracts and grants management. Progress
was made last year and many units are using the systems well. However, there
remains a significant amount to be done to achieve full implementation and I
have asked for additional administrative leadership to get this done.
Accordingly, each of the senior vice presidents will assume oversight for one
of the Peoplesoft components. They will work in-tandem with other vice
presidents in attempting to identify and solve the remaining implementation
Janie Fouke will work with Kyle Cavanaugh on the HR system.
Jimmy Cheek will work with Ed Poppell on the accounting system and Doug
Barrett will work with Win Phillips on the contracts and grants system.
We want to get this done as soon as possible and I trust they can call on you for
input and support.
All of the initiatives I have discussed this afternoon have one common theme:
collaboration between the administration and faculty to advance the University
of Florida. Whether boosting minority enrollment, envisioning the next Water
Institute, persuading the legislature to provide additional resources or
broadcasting our accomplishments to the world, we are always more successful
acting together as partners.
Your involvement I the Faculty Senate is important. I commend you for
devoting your valuable time to it, and I look forward to working with you in the