Faculty Senate Meeting
August 28, 2008
3:00 -5:00 P.M.
Reitz Union Grand Ballroom
The meeting was called to order at 3:00 PM
State of the University Address Bernie Machen, President
Dr. Machen delivered the State of the University address.
Transcript is included at the end of this document.
2008-2009 Faculty Senate Agenda Frank Bova, Faculty Senate Chair
Dr. Bova reviewed last year's accomplishments and the upcoming year's Senate agenda.
Bova announced that the Senate will begin to utilize a slide show prior to each senate
meeting in order to recognize faculty achievements. Matt Fajack's office is exploring a
responsibility center management budget model. The Senate budget council will work with
Mr. Fajack to discuss the issue and bring information forward to the Senate. The Senate will
review the academic calendar beginning in September. In November Dianna Morgan, BoT
chair will speak to the Senate.
Agricultural and Life Sciences Graduate Degree Programs
Henry Frierson, Dean Graduate School
o Sunset the Master of Agriculture degree with a maj or in Botany
o Sunset the Master of Agriculture degree with a major in Soil and Water
o Sunset the Master of Agriculture degree with a major in Food and
o Sunset Master of Agriculture Degree with a maj or in Agricultural
Education and Communication
These items will be presented as an action item at the September Senate meeting.
The meeting adjourned at:
Attendees: Azra Bihorac
Chunrong Ai David Bloomquist
Wayne Archer Elizabeth Bolton
Steve Asare Jane Brockmann
Lorena Baccaglini Regina Bussing
Marylou Behnke Judy Butterfiled
Mary Beth Salisbury
Teresa Dolan Guests:
Henry Frierson Marc Heft
Pramod Khargonekar Ellis Greiner
Lucinda Lavelli Carol Kem
Bernie Machen Jackie Ayers
Micahel Perri Daniel Wubah
Winfred Phillips Christine Winget
Judith Russell Dylan Billiodeaux
Christopher Silver Yooni Yi
State of the University August 28, 2008
I am glad to be having the Senate meeting on a Thursday and not tomorrow because two
Friday ago, the state announced a $1.8 billion deficit and last Friday, we had to close the
university because of Tropical Storm Fay. I want to be able to shut the door to my office
tomorrow when the swarms of locusts arrive.
OK, so it might be a stretch to use the term "Biblical" for what is happening, but the
University of Florida has been through tough times this past year. We had to make hard
decisions. Inevitably, some decisions spurred disagreement and protest.
The disagreement over what to cut could be viewed as a weakness of our system. But
compared to what's happening in the public sector of our nation's economy, I believe we
acted responsibly and collegially. Ultimately, no matter the issue at hand, everyone was
sincerely interested in pursuing what was best for this university. It has not been personal
- it has been about how to shepherd UF through. I was, and still am, impressed by this
high sense of purpose throughout the campus and community.
Thanks to the souring economy, Florida expects more shortfalls. I am doing what I can
to convince Governor Crist to tap his rainy day fund and avoid cuts that will further
weaken Florida's stressed universities. We are also focusing on new revenues for the
future. We need to use the next few months to tell the story of what additional reductions
would do to the University of Florida. And, we need to consider our options for future
budget cuts, should they occur.
A lot of people are trying to do what's best for the University of Florida. That's a credit
to the members of the Faculty Senate, and to the greater university community.
Our U.S. News ranking remained the same this year. I know that this ranking is
important, but it is not all that we are concerned about. In these tough economic times,
my primary interest is to align the university's fiscal and academic priorities in support of
the University of Florida's continued status as a national research university and member
of the American Association of Universities.
One interesting ranking for UF is the Sierra Club Top-10 "Green" Schools. We are
ranked seventh among Middleburg College, Colorado at Boulder and Arizona State. We
should recognize and celebrate the work being done by Faculty, Students and
Administrators in the area of sustainability. We have approved an academic minor in
sustainability and I hope there will be more academic initiatives in this area.
The budget news did cast a dark shadow, but we had some exciting developments on
campus last year and expect more this coming year.
Let me begin with new faculty developments.
The hiring freeze we announced last summer remains in place, although we are making
exceptions as possible. But there is good news. Differential tuition, which adds a
surcharge to the statewide tuition hike, begins this year. We anticipate $1.8 million in
new dollars, enough to hire 17 to 22 new faculty members and several academic advisors.
Each new class will pay the differential, eventually adding $22 million to our hiring
budget. We promised we would spend this money on new faculty and advisors in areas
of great demand. We will certainly keep that promise. Provost Glover will announce the
new areas to be targeted very soon after getting student input.
The flip side of hiring is departures. Turnover is a natural part of academe. I am
concerned that our financial woes will prompt an unusual number of faculty to take jobs
at other institutions. It has not happened so far.
Our full-time faculty has declined by a net of 115. That is 2.9%. A larger percentage of
retirements contributes to this decline, along with slower hiring practices. Recently we
announced three percent merit raises. Three percent is not enough. But I hope the merit
raises -- and the two percent across-the-board raises for staff -- convey the message that
even when money is short, we recognize hard work and passion.
We are also devoting more resources and consideration to faculty enhancement. As you
know, we have a draft proposal for which we are seeking input. It is aimed at expanding
traditional sabbaticals and opening development opportunities to more faculty. We have
dedicated $2 million annually for three years toward this initiative. Hopefully, faculty
will view the expanded development opportunities as a significant benefit of working at
We are keeping in place all new human relations initiatives launched in recent years,
including domestic partner benefits and graduate student health care. In fact, we are
expanding mental health coverage for graduate students. We also do not expect to raise
health care insurance premiums for faculty or staff in 2009. This is the third year we
have been able to hold premiums steady which is a significant state-supported benefit!
Rick Yost did a terrific job as Faculty Senate Chair, and all signs are that current Chair
Frank Bova will continue his legacy, even if he does drive the world's smallest car. I
look forward to continuing to support the principles of shared governance in charting this
institution's path. The last 5 years have been a time of growth and maturation of shared
governance at UF. I met this morning with the new Senators. Welcome, we look forward
to your input.
To assist with leadership, we have made several important appointments to our
UF enters the new academic year with a new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences, Paul D'Anieri, and new dean of the College of Journalism, John Wright.
We are also pleased to have Interim Dean of the College of Medicine Michael Good on
board. Welcome, Paul, John and Michael.
We also gained Provost Joe Glover, Chief Financial Officer Matt Fajack and Interim CIO
Chuck Frazier. We are now much closer to the integrated CIO model that I view as the
most effective administrative structure for leading this university.
Also on board are Interim Vice President for Human Resource Services Paula Fussell and
Associate Provost Kathleen Long. Welcome to all. I look forward to working with you
in the months ahead.
Of course most new faces on campus are our incoming students. Although the official
number won't be available until after drop-add, our entering class of freshman currently
numbers 6,537 -- nearly identical, by design, to the size of last fall's class.
That said, what distinguishes this year's class from those of previous years is that it is
drawn from a record 28,121 applications, up over 16 percent from last year. That high
number forced us to be even more selective and the quality of our students continues to
rise. We accepted only 39 percent of applicants for this year's class, our smallest
percentage ever. It appears this year's entering students had an average GPA of 4.18 and
SAT of 1293, both up from last year.
With that level of achievement, it's obvious to me that this entering class -- and indeed all
of our undergraduates have the academic strength and the study skills to tackle a much
more ambitious course load than they do. We continue to seek ways to encourage
students to take more credits, with the goal of each student averaging 15 credit hours per
semester. If we could achieve that, it would allow the university to admit more students
and benefit from the tuition and state support that comes with them.
Last year, budget cuts forced UF to reduce the number of transfer admissions for this
year's class. Because of that, the university's total enrollment is about 800 fewer than last
year, at around 49,752.
Among this year's entering students are 375 Florida Opportunity Scholars, bringing
participants in this three-year-old program to 1,050. We view this program as key to
holding open our door to academically qualified students from disadvantaged
backgrounds. Our belief when we launched this program was that these students can
succeed at UF if given proper support. The evidence bears us out. Pending drop-add, the
retention rate for last year's class topped 96 percent, with 60 percent of scholars
completing their first year with GPAs of 3.0 or better.
For the first two years of Florida Opportunity Scholars, African-American enrollment in
our overall freshmen class stood at about 13 percent. Unfortunately, that percentage fell
to about 10 percent in this year's class. One problem appears to be that other state
universities, located in their home city or much closer to where these students live, have
begun offering very competitive scholarship packages. We are working on strategies to
overcome our geographic disadvantage. As for Hispanic enrollment, it remained steady,
at 15 percent of the entering class.
In other student news, summer credit hour production is up to par this year, an important
contributor to our state appropriations.
While state budgets are suffering, we have made good progress on fundraising despite the
gloomy economy and unsteady stock market.
We launched the public phase of Florida Tomorrow last September with about $500
million already committed, and last year we raised over $200 million, for a campaign
total of over $700 million. Our endowment as of June 30 was $1.25 billion, up 2.6
percent from the previous fiscal year. We have raised nearly $300 million for the Faculty
Challenge Initiative, including the state match, before folding it into Florida Tomorrow.
The Humanities/Social Sciences Challenge has raised over 2 million dollars.
Another important source of funding is research. Research awards were down 3.7%
percent, with contracts and grants totaling $562 million. Several developments
demonstrate the quality of our current research efforts and bode well for future growth.
Last year we broke ground on the Emerging Pathogens Institute and initiated a
collaboration with the Moffitt Cancer Center. Also...
We received $15 million in state dollars to create the Florida Energy Systems
Consortium to bring together Florida's universities on renewable energy.
Our Ordway-Swisher Biological Station was designated a future site in the
National Science Foundation-sponsored National Ecological Observatory
Network, or NEON. It is a real feather in our cap to have a national NSF
laboratory and to be part of this 30-year project.
Faculty received several major grant awards, including $3 million from the
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for a pancreas bank and research center.
Math professor John Thompson shared the Abel Award, the highest award in
mathematics, with a professor in France.
Let me add that our technology transfer efforts are really coming into their own. We
licensed or optioned a record 75 faculty developed technologies this year. UF spinoff
companies received a record $100 million-plus in venture capital. With royalty income
from licensed UF technologies added to contracts and grants, UF received over $600
million in research funding last year.
We completed the Nanoscale Research Facility and Southwest Stadium Expansion this
month. That followed Steinbrennar Band Hall and Pugh Hall earlier this year. Over the
next year, we expect to finish and occupy the Shands at UF Cancer Center, the
Biomedical Sciences Building and the Pathogens Research Facility.
This coming year, we expect to break ground on the Business Graduate Studies Building,
otherwise known as Hough Hall. We will also begin the Ham Museum Asian Art Wing.
Much to commuters' relief, we will add the 950-space Southwest Parking Garage. Also,
among other projects, we will start work on the office building at our Eastside Campus on
Due to a change in the state funding formula, the PECO funding that has supported so
much construction on campus in recent years will plunge next fiscal year. So, I don't
expect this boom to continue, but I am pleased we were able to do so much in the past
That said, both Hough Hall and the Ham addition are donor funded. We anticipate
privately funded construction to continue at a good pace.
I have said very little in this speech about future budget cuts and their impact because we
know so little at this point. Eighteen months ago, I could have never predicted that this
university would face what amounts to a $100 million shortfall.
Certainly, however, there is a good possibility there will be further cuts. But even if we
do have to make more hard decisions, we will continue to invest in areas that support the
core academic and research enterprise.
Based on last year's experience, I also have faith in the leadership, faculty, staff and
students here, in their love for this university, and in the notion that any future differences
of opinion or conflict will be a sign not of division, but of progress.