A periodic update for faculty from President Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong
June 20, 2007
Wednesday's Board of Trustees actions
During a lengthy meeting today, the Board of Trustees approved essentially the tuition increase that we originally requested—7 percent, plus a 1 percent utility surcharge for one year, and a $30 per semester increase to offset the shortfall in funding available for the ongoing Colvard Union renovation.
This level of tuition, along with our general support from state appropriations, will permit us to buy out our Tier 1 and Tier 2 initiatives for the coming year, along with part of Tier 3.
So, plan on merit pay raises averaging 5 percent, an additional 25 to 30 faculty members where we need them the most, help with our utility bills, and investments in our library, recruiting, need-based scholarships, and faculty research start-up packages.
The downside is that it will be more expensive for our students to attend MSU. I wish we did not have to raise tuition, but that is necessary in order for us to move the university forward. This revenue represents a significant step in improving our ability to demand the respect you deserve.
As you may recall from previous communiqués, our budget priorities for the coming year include:
- Merit pay raises averaging 5% for faculty and staff
- New faculty positions, phase I (We want to add at least 20 new positions in areas of critical need.)
- Start up packages for faculty research
- Library resources
- Recruiting and retention
- Faculty development
- New faculty positions, phase 2
- Start up packages for research, phase 2
- Repair and renovation. (We need to emphasize renovation and facility upgrades over the next several years, with limited new construction.)
FutureSTATE 2015 update
FutureSTATE 2015, our strategic plan for making MSU the region's most respected land-grant university, was adopted last fall after a summer's work by scores of faculty, staff and students. Last spring, we received initial progress reports from the individuals and offices with primary responsibility for almost 70 priority initiatives undertaken last year, and were pleased to note that virtually all of them have been implemented or are substantially under way.
Now, we have just completed the first annual review of the plan with a view to making necessary updates and course corrections. An updated and somewhat reorganized version will be available on the FutureSTATE website at https://ssl.msstate.edu/web/futurestate/ within the next several days.
But I can tell you that probably the most significant change is the addition of a fifth primary goal to the four that formed the core of the original document. The new primary goal, focused specifically on faculty, is to: Recruit and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty, providing them with an environment that supports excellent teaching, research, and service while offering opportunities for professional growth and pursuing salaries, benefits, and other rewards that recognize success.
Faculty advisor Marshall Molen led a team of our students to the top prize for designing a "green" hybrid SUV in national competition sponsored by General Motors and the Department of Energy. The undergraduate and graduate students beat out 17 other universities in the three-year Challenge X competition. MSU will receive more than $30,000 in prize money, including $15,000 from NSF for Dr. Molen.
Sarah A. Rajala, head of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. It is the society's highest level of recognition.
Ray Vaughn and his colleagues at the Center for Computer Security Research have won for the unit a designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. The honor by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security has been awarded to fewer than 100 colleges and universities. MSU was among the first 26 to be recognized and is being designated for the third time since 2001, this time for a five-year period.
An article by Jason Phillips, assistant professor of history, will be included in the Best American History Essays of 2008. The essay on "The Grape Vine Telegraph: Rumors and Confederate Persistence" was selected by the Organization of American Historians for the collection. The article first appeared in the Journal of Southern History.
Hope you are all having a productive and safe summer.