U officials set to implement state funding

Erin Ghere

As students return to a new school calendar and classes, University officials are working behind the scenes on future changes.
The University received $116 million from the state Legislature last May, but only obtained the funding in July. The money will be used to hire 30 new faculty members over the next two years, increase pay for existing faculty, improve University technology and enhance off-campus study opportunities for students.
“We’ve only got July and half of August under our belt,” said Richard Pfutzenreuter, University chief financial officer. “Not much that can be seen (by students) has been done in a month and a half.”
But much planning has been done to get the ball rolling on next year’s projects. Part of the $55 million has already been allocated to fund a 3 percent staff pay raise and hire eight new faculty members next year.
The remaining funds will be used during the second year of the University’s biennium to hire 22 additional faculty members and continue advancing University programs.
Pfutzenreuter said the 3 percent raises were given to University faculty and staff in July. The raises accounted for 61 percent of the funds allocated for 1999-2000.
In addition, Pfutzenreuter said searches to hire new faculty are underway.
“The funds have been given to the different colleges to hire new faculty,” Pfutzenreuter said. “But it’s too early to see.”
He said several of the eight new teachers will be hired by the College of Liberal Arts.
The Medical School is also planning how to spend the legislative appropriations. The ball has begun rolling, said Chris Roberts, Academic Health Center spokeswoman, but the changes still might not be visible to students.
She said one of the center’s major goals was to replace clinical revenue with state funding. Although the center did not receive all the funding health center officials requested, they will now be able to pay faculty with state money.
But this change will not affect students, Roberts said.
However, another change also in its beginning stages will strongly affect future students, she added. Medical students will begin moving out of the classroom and into clinics and hospitals earlier.
Changes are expected to be visible in three months, Roberts said.
She said an advisory group of health providers has been organized by Frank Cerra, AHC senior vice president, to assist in the project. A position for a new assistant vice president for medical education has been opened.
“Once hired, that person would lead a national pilot program (at the University) for community-based health education,” she said.
Other changes around the University — such as classroom enhancements, library improvements, additional freshman seminars, more study abroad, research and internship opportunities — will become apparent to students in the near future.