Dean’s update

Dean Gregory J. Weidemann
Dean Gregory J. Weidemann

I am pleased to update you on several issues that we addressed during the spring semester.

As you know, we were asked to plan for a 6 percent rescission for FY16 on top of the 1.5 percent rescission we addressed for this year. In addition, we have been asked to plan for an additional 3 percent rescission for FY17. While we have dealt with a number of budget adjustments over the past several years, this is one of the largest reductions over a three-year period we have had to address. So far, we have managed to make the necessary adjustments through attrition and hope to be able to do so for FY17. This does mean that as vacancies occur, it is unlikely that we will be able to fill all but the most critical vacancies until budget pressures ease. As always, our highest priority is to protect our existing faculty and staff and to maintain our current programs.

Recently the University administration released new guidelines for faculty merit and workload in an attempt to provide more uniformity in how these issues are addressed across schools and colleges. While I think our merit policies are consistent with the new guidelines, I believe we need to better align our workload policies with campus guidance. I will work with a small task force of department heads and faculty to propose recommended changes in how we document and adjust workload in the College.

With the completion of the campus master plan, a new study is underway to examine all teaching and research space related to STEM on campus with the intent of assessing the quality of our existing space and the need for new or improved space. This study will help guide decision-making on how to stage renovations or the creation of new space in line with the master plan. The initial focus has been on how to accommodate faculty and programs in Gant and Torrey when Gant is renovated and Torrey demolished and to set the stage for programming for the new science buildings to be constructed.

As a college, we continue to benefit from modest investments by campus administration in deferred maintenance and renovations. Now that the W.B. Young Building interior has been renovated, a new project is underway to repair the envelope and roof. In addition, we were notified that improvements will be made to public spaces in Ratcliffe Hicks, George White, Roy E. Jones, Koons Hall and Merle S. Klinck. While all of these buildings are in need of major renovation, improvements in the public spaces should enhance the work environment.