Leaving a Legacy

The annual “Lunch with Liz” lasted a little over an hour on Wed. April 15, 2009. Interim President Liz Hitch addressed a packed ballroom of faculty, students and the public. She reviewed the first year of the school’s university status and made projections for the upcoming year.

Using humor and a lot of numbers, Hitch explained the recent budget cuts as well as future growth for Utah Valley University. The presentation was broken down into four categories; university update, legislative session and budget impact, PBA decisions and university space decisions.

University update

During the university update, Hitch addressed academic, artistic and athletic successes. “This was a remarkable year at UVU,” Hitch said after the meeting.
“We saw some amazing triumphs, including university status to begin the academic year, UVU’s first master degrees, rising enrollment and our classification by the Carnegie Foundation as a ‘community engaged’ institution. We have grappled with the unfortunate circumstance of severe reductions in state funding that will affect the institution for some time, but we’ve responded appropriately and we’re optimistic about UVU’s bright future.”

Budget impact

In the review of the legislative session and budget impact, Hitch spoke about the many budget cuts that have taken and will take place since the recession began. While enrollment is increasing, the number of faculty and staff are decreasing. The spring 2009 headcount saw an increase of 1,783 students and UVU has become the second largest public university in Utah.

With a base budget of $5.6 million coming from non-tax funds such as student tuition, UVU will have some funding to complete strategic initiatives. Although the budget has been set for the year, there will continue to be tax reductions for the next two years. The legislature has cautioned UVU administration that there will be a continued 17 percent cut for the base budget for at least until the fiscal year 2011.

In response to the tax fund reduction, UVU has increased tuition by 5.66% for students, which is about $90 per semester, and increased medical premium by $19.42 per month for employees. While increasing costs to students and employees, sixty-five full time positions have been cut — four executives, twenty-seven faculty and thirty-four staff. “We wanted to deploy our resources to match student and program needs,” said Linda Makin, UVU’s executive director of Planning and Budget. “We’ve been very careful throughout the budgeting process to determine the best use of our resources to serve our growing student body and support the institution’s strategic directions.”

Resource and space allocation

Reviewing this year’s Planning, budgeting, and accountability [PBA] sessions, the administrators, faculty and staff decided how best to use the university’s resources. This is where funding requests were denied and approved. After eliminating sixty-five positions, new faculty positions needed to be built back up the student-advisor ratio.

While enrollment increases space and resources are decreasing. UVU currently has 122.5 square feet per student, which is the lowest mark among all colleges and universities in Utah’s System of Higher Education.

Hitch concluded the lunch by recounting the five things she learned while being Interim President:

1.The President’s job : meet, greet, eat.

2.The most common thing that you hear as President :
“.and now the President will say a few words.”

3.How quickly one can lose $10 million.and more!

4.How much of a “can do” university UVU is.

5.How many friends and supporters UVU has.

For more information the presentation can be found on the web at
Office of the President/Remarks/Speeches

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