Witt Reviews Progress, Discusses Plans at Trustees’ Meeting
November 22nd, 2004 - Filed under: News
UA President Robert E. Witt reviewed the University’s progress over the last year and discussed plans for the future at the Board of Trustees’ meeting on campus recently.
Witt said the keys to success are twofold: balanced progress and process management. “All sectors of the University must move forward ‘in balance’,” he said. “It makes no sense to recruit the best and brightest students if faculty salaries are not sufficient to attract and retain excellent faculty.”
Citing UA’s record enrollment of 20,969 students this fall and the goal of reaching 28,000 by the fall of 2013, Witt said that sustained, quality enrollment growth will be at the core of the University’s plan for the future. (For a summary of fall enrollment and recruiting plans, see Dialog, Oct. 11, 2004 on the Web at http://www.dialog.ua.edu/dialog20041011.html.) He noted that The University of Alabama had become the leading university at most target Alabama high schools and that within two years UA would be the dominant recruiting force in all target high schools.
Scholarships are the University’s highest priority in generating external resources, Witt said. As evidence of the importance of scholarships, he noted that this year UA was able to offer scholarships to only 270 of 363 applicants with ACT scores over 30. Of those 270, 258 applicants (96 percent) enrolled; of the 93 not offered scholarships, only 12 (13 percent) enrolled.
Residence hall construction is well underway with three new facilities scheduled to open in fall 2005, and three more residence halls scheduled for completion by fall 2006. “If we stay on schedule in enrollment growth, we will come back with requests for more residence halls soon,” Witt told the trustees.
Witt said that process management at the University will include capturing incremental revenue generated by growth, managing course schedules, managing the curriculum and enhancing the revenue mix.
“Capturing revenue generated by growth will bring a substantial amount to the bottom line,” he said. “The University should be able to absorb a substantial percentage of its projected growth without building new academic facilities, except for a new science lab building and renovating Lloyd Hall as a classroom and office building. We must use our resources as effectively and as efficiently as possible.”
Growing out-of-state enrollment will enhance revenue, he noted. The University has generated an additional $1 million in tuition revenue this year because the percentage of out-of-state freshmen has grown from 22 percent of the class in 2002 to 26.2 percent in 2004. If the percentage of out-of-state enrollment in the overall student body rose from its current level of 22 percent to 25 percent, the University would see an increase of $6 million in revenue. Witt went on to say that serving Alabama students was and always will be the University’s number one priority.
Witt also mentioned distance education as an important area for growth. “Through distance education, we are providing a service to the state and generating revenue from students who are not placing demands on University facilities,” he said.
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