President Bob Bell and other TTU administrators welcomed faculty back to campus at the fall Faculty Meeting in Derryberry Auditorium Wednesday.
It was the president’s last fall faculty meeting, as he will retire at the end of June.
“I am amazed that Tech has been able to accomplish some phenomienal things, even in these difficult circumstances, and that we have retained our national reputation for excellence,” he said. “As we begin the year, let’s remind ourselves of how great an impact we can personally have on the quality of a student’s experience here.”
Bobby Hodum, executive director of enrollment management, said he was fairly optimistic that enrollment numbers would hold steady this fall. The university has admitted approximately 1 percent more undergraduate students as of this date.
Interest in TTU remains strong; 2,700 families visited the campus last year.
Jeff Roberts, president of Faculty Senate, said the group of 40 elected faculty representatives was very involved in helping determine how faculty raises should be distributed.
Claire Stinson, vice president for business and planning, spoke to the assembly about the university budget and the changes to the state funding formula.
The state mandated that the university provide a 3 percent cost of living raise to its employees, but only provided funding to cover slightly more than half of that raise.
The Tennessee Board of Regents also allowed TTU to give raises to faculty and staff who were making less than 77 percent below the target in the faculty salary formula.
Those raises will go into effect Oct. 1.
Stinson also said that all university employees who have more than two years of service to the school will see a one-time bonus of $1,000 in their Oct. 31 paychecks.
In this year’s budget, TTU saw a 2 percent, or $825,900, reduction in state aid. University officials had planned for a 1 percent cut and set more than $400,000 aside out of last year’s tuition revenues, which left a smaller amount to be cut for this year’s budget.
This year is the first the college’s budget has been determined by the new outcome-based THEC formula. Because of the removal of the hold harmless clause, TTU will lose $992,000. The cut was unexpected and will be instituted gradually over three years.
TTU’s net loss under the new formula is estimated at $772,000, according to Stinson. That number includes the loss of the hold harmless money, as well as the benefits the school received under the weighted outcomes listed in the formula.
Stinson also said that the ratings agencies will likely make TTU, and other state institutions, address its dependence on federal funding.
Despite the difficult budget climate, TTU continues to distinguish itself regionally and nationally.
The campus is also expanding this year. The college recently acquired the former Prescott School, now known as the TTU Foundation Building and the former State Public Health Building.
Once again, the university was listed as a “Best College in the Southeast” by The Princeton Review and was also included in a survey by PayScale.com for students having the highest mid-career salary potential of any graduates of four-year public institutions in the state.
The meeting also included introduction of new faculty and administrators, as well as faculty who received promotions and tenure.