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UMW board of visitors passes revised Six-Year Plan
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At their meeting Saturday, the University of Mary Washington board of visitors passed a revised version of their Six-Year Plan, which details academic and funding initiatives the school wants to undertake.
“The goal is to meet the university’s Strategic Plan goals and to meet the goals of the governor’s TJ21 [‘Top Jobs’ or the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 legislation],” said Rick Pearce, CFO and vice president for administration and finance.
According to the State Council for Higher Education, the purpose of the act is to significantly increase college attainment with a goal of 100,000 new undergraduate degrees by 2025.
It also seeks to address basic operational and instructional funding, per-student enrollment funding, need-based financial aid, targeted economic and innovation incentives, a higher-education “Rainy Day” fund, institutional six-year plans, and increasing high-demand degrees through public–private partnerships.
UMW’s Six-Year Plan was first passed in July 2011 and is revised each year to keep priorities and information on funds up to date.
The plan uses no state funds and relies only on money brought in through tuition and through reallocation of existing programs.
The 2014–15 academic year portion of the plan, which was affected by Saturday’s vote, contains $2,151,000 in internal funding for programs.
The resolution stated that the new Six-Year Plan continues to address the key enrollment, academic and financial priorities facing the institution.
“UMW’s Six-Year Plan flows from its Strategic Plan and affirms its commitment to increasing enrollment, degree completion and graduation rates, as well as new initiatives to support enrollment in STEM disciplines,” according to the passed resolution.
UMW’s plan also includes initiatives addressing admissions and enrollment, academic support and career services, grant writing, affordability, and operation and maintenance of new facilities.
The priorities of the plan include academic and financial initiatives.
In academics, the first priority is to continue the development of the First-Year Experience program.
“As a result of continued development of the First-Year Experience program, students will have a stronger foundation upon which to develop the skills necessary to be valued contributors to the 21st-century job market,” according to an elaboration of the plan handed out to the board at the meeting.
UMW also hopes to work on establishing a bachelor’s in nursing program, continue enhancements in the department of admissions, expand summer session enrollment, develop a graduate program in geospatial analysis, create programming for the under-construction Information and Technology Convergence Center, achieve accreditation for the college of business, sustain summer science initiatives, continue their “Domain of One’s Own” program, develop more online learning programs, achieve accreditation for the college of education, revitalize academic and career services, outsource grant writing, enhance economic development programs and support continuous review of reallocation.
The plan’s financial priorities are topped with increasing faculty salaries.
According to board materials about the plan, “The financial plan assumes a 3 percent salary increase for full-time teaching faculty in each year of the 2014–16 biennium. The 3 percent factor, however, is a placeholder until a specific increase recommendation is determined at the statewide level. Based on preliminary calculations by SCHEV staff, faculty salaries at UMW would need to increase by 11.9 percent in order to reach the 60th percentile of its peer group. UMW simply cannot afford to fund a faculty salary increase without additional general fund support.”
UMW has also prioritized operation and maintenance costs for their new facilities about to open, utility cost increases and a five-year computer replacement cycle.
Even though institutions are required to use only internal funds when developing the plans, the state opened up new budget requests for their priorities for the next budget cycle due to a surplus.
A letter to all executive branch agency heads and cabinet and deputy secretaries from the governor’s chief of staff that was included in the board’s packet said that the surplus is a result of conservative forecasting and cautious spending.
“Consequently, you should not expect to receive funding for discretionary new initiatives that do not directly support key policy objectives as stated by the Governor,” the letter stated. “While increases in discretionary spending are not likely to be funded, I recognize that there are some technical issues that must be considered.”
To help with the costs of programming and financial programs stated in the Six-Year Plan, Pearce sent a summary of budget submissions to the state. The top three submissions were additional funding to aid the First-Year Experience program, establish a bachelor’s of nursing program and support operation and maintenance costs for the school’s new facilities.
“We are committed to the objectives in TJ21,” said Judge Pamela White, board rector. “How we get there may sound incremental but is consistent with commitment.”
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