Seeley Mudd Auditorium, College
Greetings Dr. Walters,
Intellectual and Scholarly Leadership of the Faculty
I spent some of my day yesterday with the National Board of Directors of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation initiative, including provosts and program directors from six other HBCUs. I serve as the principal investigator for this nationally recognized STEM initiative. The program is ably directed by Dr. Clarence M. Lee, professor of Biology. Among the provosts and other academic leaders, I was impressed to learn that ten of them received their doctoral degrees from Howard University.
Our faculty is helping to transform atmospheric research through the scholarly efforts of Professors Vernon Morris and Everett Joseph. They serve as principal investigators on two of the University’s major research awards for FY 2011. Their groundbreaking work encompasses transforming atmospheric research, particularly in the areas of climate observation and air-quality monitoring. Through their respective projects, funded by NASA and NOAA, they have been able to offer our students very unique mentoring and research opportunities.
We restated our commitment to the arts and humanities during
the Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal and academic program renewal
discourse. I am pleased to see that professors, such as Dr.
Caren Walwin, are providing scholarly leadership and laying a
foundation for us to achieve our goals. The John Hope Franklin Humanities
Institute at Duke University awarded Dr. Walwin a fellowship that permitted
her to travel to South Africa to interview and conduct research on Nelson
Mandela. She will compose a work commemorating President Mandela's
67 years of dedication to the improvement of humanity.
I am very proud of our connection to Washington, DC, and the immediate community surrounding Howard. Through the research and leadership of our faculty and the service of our students, Howard provides critical services to the community. Dr. Rodney Green, professor of Economics, is among the top ten funded researchers at the University. Through his sustained success during the past seven years in garnering over $15 million in grants and contracts for Howard's Center for Urban Progress, Dr. Green has helped the University address issues ranging from enhancing pre-kindergarten education to housing in the District of Columbia.
In addition to the achievements of individual members of our faculty, I am encouraged by the efforts of our general faculty, department chairs, and deans to generate funds to support endowed chairs and programs. This year, we are fortunate to receive a fully funded endowed chair in the Department of African-American Studies; as well, we have received an endowed chair in Alternative Medicine, only the second such chair of its kind in the nation. We received an endowed professorship in the School of Social Work, supported by a generous grant from John Jacobs, former university trustee. These are examples of the results of the hard work of our faculty and academic leaders. I thank you for your efforts.
The 2010–2011 academic year was one of transformation for the University. In January 2011, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved our historic academic program renewal recommendations, and, since then, we have moved forward with the implementation of renewal plans for the academic program, faculty, administration, staff, and facilities, with emphasis on our Students First Initiative.
Campus Master Plan to Support Our Academic Programs
At this point, we are also working on a Traffic Demand Management (TDM) Plan as part of our Master Plan approval process, which demonstrates that we can reduce the demand for cars that come to the University by between three and five percent over the next five to seven years. The TDM is due in November of 2011. After it is submitted, we will focus on developing a master plan for parking that incorporates TDM needs and our own development plans.
Investment in Academic and Administrative Infrastructure:
New Construction and Renovations
In support of our engineering programs, we are completing the renovation of several labs in Downing Hall and the lobby area. I appreciate the patience and sacrifice of the entire University community as we near completion of major renovations to Cramton Auditorium and Burr Gymnasium.
In addition, we will break ground for a new Interdisciplinary Science Building and two new residence halls in the early part of 2013, with the expected building openings in the fall of 2014.
Our strategic plan is to invest $300 million into the infrastructure of the University over the next five years. Some of those funds will be allocated for new buildings and others for required renovations. Through the renewal of our research, instructional, and residential facilities, we are making a tremendous investment in the future of the University. We will continue to assess campus facilities renovation and repair needs and establish renovation priorities. Of course, we will assign the highest priority to renovation and repairs that have health and safety implications.
Many senior faculty members and a faculty trustee reminded us of the need to ensure that the implementation of the PRP will not interrupt the University' s appointment, promotion, and tenure process during the phase-out period. To address this important concern, we asked the Board of Trustees to amend the PRP with the following provision:
“Subsequent to resigning from their tenured position, each faculty PRP participant, while serving full-time during the one- to five-year phase-out period, shall be eligible to serve on departmental and school/college appointment, promotion, and tenure committees with the full rights and responsibilities held prior to entering the PRP. Notwithstanding the above, faculty in the PRP are not subject to the Faculty Performance Evaluation System (FPES), and may not avail themselves of the faculty grievance process, nor participate in the review or adjudication of grievance cases.”
The provision and approach do not violate the Faculty Handbook. Rather, they are very much within the spirit of the Faculty Handbook.
Faculty Retention and Recruitment
I met with the Senate leadership in August to discuss our strategy for addressing non-competitive faculty compensation. With my endorsement, the Board of Trustees Compensation and Succession Committee met with the Faculty Senate leadership during its September meeting to discuss faculty compensation. In collaboration with the Faculty Senate, I announced that, as part of a faculty retention initiative, I will appoint a subcommittee of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) to recommend a faculty compensation plan, based on faculty-member performance, rank, and discipline. I will ask the BAC and its faculty compensation subcommittee on October 31, 2011, to submit recommendations to me by February 17, 2012. In addition to providing the BAC subcommittee reasonable time to develop the plan, this timeline will afford me an opportunity to review the plan and make recommendations to the Board during its April 2012 meeting. The February 2012 deadline will permit adjusted faculty salaries to take effect at the start of the 2012–2013 academic year.
An important component of our general faculty renewal effort is faculty recruitment. As with aspects of faculty retention, strategies for this phase of faculty renewal are still in development.
Faculty Performance Evaluation System (FPES)
General Support for Faculty
I was asked to address whether all faculty (including lecturers) participating in the FPES were eligible to receive the three percent salary adjustment. Lecturers and part-time adjuncts were not eligible to receive the salary adjustment. Career-status, master-instructor, tenure-track, and tenured faculty received increases. Our current budget cannot support increases for temporary faculty, lecturers, and adjunct faculty members at this time.
I was also asked to explain what criteria are used for adjusting salaries when faculty members are promoted. There is a basic formula that awards $2,500 to individuals promoted from assistant to associate professor and $4,500 for those promoted from associate to full professor.
A final specific question submitted to me by the Faculty Senate leadership involved the establishment of search committees for the dean of the Graduate School and the senior vice president for Health Sciences (SVPHS). The provost, in collaboration with deans and members of the faculty, will continue the review the status of the Graduate School in the context the academic program renewal decisions that resulted from the PCAR process. We will determine how to proceed with the search for a permanent dean of the Graduate School following this review. I will wait for the assessment of Health Sciences at the end of the academic year before making a decision about a search committee for the SVPHS.
Progress and Challenges in Research Grants and Contract
Administrative Leadership Developments in the Health
I appreciate the willingness of Drs. Anthony Wutoh and Mary Hill to assume decanal leadership positions in the health sciences. One of the academic-program renewal recommendations was to separate Pharmacy from Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. In July of 2011, Dr. Wutoh assumed the role of interim dean of the new College of Pharmacy. After a long and distinguished career, Dr. Adderly Kelly retired from the dean’s position in Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. Dr. Mary Hill agreed to serve as the interim dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences.
Administrative costs have decreased by $25 million since
2009, primarily due to the Voluntarily Staff Incentive Retirement Program
and better financial management. Faculty compensation has been up $15
million since 2009—about half of this amount is attributable to
raises, the other half to hiring additional instructors. We have
very little flexibility in our ability to quickly add new revenue. Our
federal appropriation is not stable; tuition collections are strained;
healthcare fees are capped; and research is flat. Controlling costs
is job one for administrators. We have seen successes since 2009, but
we must be even more vigilant and disciplined going forward.
We are improving our business processes. In 2008, a significant number of faculty indicated that they had not been paid at the start of the academic year. Last year, we reduced that number, and, this year, I understand that every faculty member who had paperwork in the system at the start of the semester was paid on time. We continue, however, to have issues with getting our graduate students paid on time.
The challenge has been planning for graduate students when grants have not been loaded in our system prior to the start of the semester, or when our awards have not been received on time at the University. We are working to address these issues but we will need your help.
Another process issue that we are making progress on is building talent inside the University to reduce our dependence on consultants. When I arrived, our bookkeeping and PeopleSoft functions were largely managed by external vendors. We now have in-house talent doing this work. This improvement has resulted in a $20 million reduction in consultant fees between 2009 and 2011. Some of the savings have been reinvested in full-time equivalent employees in these areas. Our next step is to provide more PeopleSoft training to end users. We need your help as we continue working towards becoming more efficient and eliminating unnecessary administrative costs.
Thank you again for the opportunity to give the State of the University Address. I will now address any questions or concerns that you may have.
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