With the opening of the new fiscal year on July 1, UGA administrators were able to address several important budget priorities through increased state funding and a tuition increase approved in the spring.
President Michael F. Adams and Provost Jere Morehead have made it a top institutional priority to continue to restore faculty positions lost in budget cuts over recent years. A third faculty hiring initiative will use $4.2 million to hire an additional 25 faculty to begin in fall 2013. This is on top of the 28 tenured or tenure-track faculty from the second initiative who will join the faculty this fall, and the 28 who were hired in the first initiative to begin work in fall 2011. An additional four searches are still under way.
“Restoring the flow of faculty hires at UGA allows the university to maintain a competitive position in teaching capacity and building credit hour growth, external research funding and accelerating students’ time to graduation,” Adams said. “This allows us to reverse the use of part-time instructors in the classroom and places our students with full-time, tenured faculty for an enhanced learning experience.”
“These faculty positions have and will continue to be allocated to the most critical, high demand and strategic programs at UGA,” added Morehead. “These include lower-division core arts and sciences courses, public health and the biomedical sciences, engineering, education, and public and international affairs.”
An additional $500,000 from the regents’ allocation will be added to institutional one-time funding and student technology fees that the university has targeted for implementation of the new Student Information System. The university is adopting a new Web-based system from SunGard Banner that is designed to save time, increase student access to their information and provide single sign-on access so that faculty, staff and students can access the data in a secure environment anytime, anywhere, from any kind of connected device. The system replaces a legacy system (of which OASIS is a part) built on what is now obsolete architecture, programmed in languages no longer used and with some components more than 35 years old.
Restoration of library materials will receive $600,000 in funding enhancements to staunch the ongoing cancellation of important journal subscriptions that has occurred over the budget cuts of recent years. Without the additional revenue available in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 for this project, it is estimated that UGA would have had some 40 percent fewer journal subscriptions than it had in fiscal year 2008.
A Center for Molecular Medicine will be created with a $1 million enhancement to leverage UGA’s existing expertise in complex carbohydrate science, stem cell biology and vaccine development. Another $1 million will be targeted to enhancing online learning at UGA, creating an Office of Online Learning that will work with faculty to develop such course offerings in select graduate and professional programs best-suited for online program delivery.
The university’s new Obesity Initiative will receive $500,000 to enhance its developing programs in obesity prevention and treatment across Georgia.