KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees today passed a $1.65 billion budget for fiscal year 2009 and increased undergraduate tuition rates at each campus by 6 percent.
At its annual meeting held in Knoxville, trustees heard a report from UT President John Petersen about plans going forward to address state appropriation shortfalls while advancing the university’s strategic initiatives.
The 2009 budget, which begins July 1, includes a $21.1 million, or a 4.1 percent, reduction in state appropriations for UT’s operating budget over last year. Petersen told trustees that lean economic times require leadership to be strategic by avoiding across the board cuts.
“This is a time to be strategic and not to just pass universal cuts across the board, but to think about what we are about as an institution,” he said. “We’re about the quality education of our students. We’re about building a base through our research and through other aspects of what we do for economic development in the state. And we’re about quality of life. Some of that comes through health care, some of that comes through what we do as a higher education institution.”
State mandated cuts required the Knoxville campus to cut $11.1 million. Chattanooga faced reduced appropriations of $2.6 million, and Martin made adjustments to deal with $1.9 million in reduced appropriations. For more specifics about the budget cuts and the overall budget, visit http://www.utk.edu/news/docs/FY2009-budget.pdf.
Petersen noted that fixed operational costs have increased by approximately 3 percent overall, and the lack of state raises causes the university to lose more ground in its goals for improving all faculty and staff salaries.
Although salary increases are not recommended, state employees with at least three years of service on or about Oct. 1 will receive a one-time, flat-rate salary bonus of $400.
No capital outlay funds will be disbursed from the state this year, but a total of $20 million will be received in additional appropriations to fund the state employee 401(k) match, increases in employee group health insurance, capital maintenance and advancing top university priorities. These priorities include the biofuels initiative, the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at the UT Health Science Center and the Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium, which will aid a specific UTHSC research effort.
The Knoxville campus administration is absorbing $6.7 million, or 60 percent, of the overall cut. A remainder of $4.4 million must be cut from academic units and vice chancellor areas. The proposal also calls for the elimination or continued vacancy of 44 unfilled faculty and staff positions and significant reductions in planned maintenance and repairs, contracted services, travel, and planned purchases of technology and other instructional resources. Interim Chancellor Jan Simek recommended the phase-out or closure of three academic departments or programs, including the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduate program in the College of Business Administration; and the dance program, a minor concentration in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. That proposal will be considered by the trustees at their fall meeting set for Oct. 24-25 in Knoxville. President Petersen requested the delay of the decision by the board this week to allow further faculty involvement and deliberations, noting that proposals were recommended within a relatively short time frame after the state budget cuts were announced.
“The important part of this is, where will we be when the economy turns around again, and how will we be poised to push the institution forward?” he said. “I think all of our administrators feel that if we do take across-the-board cuts, the recovery time will be a long recovery time. If we are selective and do what we think is the most responsible, we will have the opportunity to build back our core programs.”
Undergraduate tuition this fall for in-state and out-of-state students will increase by $308 to $5,428 a year in Knoxville, by $238 to $4,210 a year in Chattanooga and by $250 to $4,400 a year in Martin. Additional fees the board approved are:
-Knoxville: A new $10 international education fee for all undergraduates, as requested by the Student Government Association to provide more merit and need-based study- abroad scholarships.
-Chattanooga: A $10 increase in the Student Activity Fee to provide additional funds for Club Sports, entertainment programs and Greek Life.
To view the full schedule of tuition and fees for all campuses and professional programs, visit
In other business, the board:
• Elected a new vice chair of the board, Jim Murphy, a Nashville attorney who represents the 5th Congressional district. Board members and Petersen thanked trustee Andrea Loughry for the past two years of dedicated leadership and service as vice chair.
• Received an update on the system-wide cost management and reduction study that will allow the university to save resources, contain costs, optimize efficiencies and devote key resources to strategic efforts in the face of escalating operational and personnel costs and other needs. The study will set benchmarks and goals for measurement and balance strategic priorities.
• Heard updates from representatives of the Martin, Chattanooga and Knoxville campuses about efforts to enhance transfer agreements with colleges and universities of the Tennessee Board of Regents. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission passed a resolution this year asking institutions to solidify articulation agreements that will simplify transfer processes and encourage degree completion. Petersen asked the campuses to solidify policy recommendations by January 2009.
• Approved a request to formalize the relationship between the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences and the Knoxville Chancellor’s office by designating it a non-instructional unit and providing the framework for faculty and research scientists to support the $65 million National Science Foundation award for building a large-scale supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
• Approved a request by the state Department of Corrections to waive all fees other than tuition at the Martin campus for incarcerated youth for credit degree courses delivered from UTM’s Extended Campus and Continuing Education program.
• Approved the reorganization and renaming of several doctoral programs in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at Knoxville to accommodate changes in the fields and program advancements. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission will consider the changes at its July meeting that would separate out two doctoral programs into stand-alone major programs.
• Approved the naming of several campus facilities, including the Dr. Bob Barksdale Tennis Stadium in Knoxville in honor of the McMinnville, Tenn., native. A 1949 and 1952 graduate of UT, Barksdale has supported the UT intercollegiate tennis program as well as programs in agriculture and athletics.
• Approved the naming of the Brenda Lawson Student-Athlete Success Center at UTC for the Cleveland, Tenn., native whose support has been essential to its development. Lawson serves as co-chair for the university’s $1 billion Campaign for Tennessee and is a member of the University of Chattanooga Foundation Board. The board also approved the renaming of the New Village Apartments on the Chattanooga campus to Obear Apartments in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Frederick W. Obear; his first wife, the late Trisha Obear; and his second wife, Ruth Obear. Obear began his UTC career in 1981 and retired in 1997 but continued to work for the campus in development and external relations. In 2004 he stepped forward to serve as interim chancellor until Chancellor Roger Brown was hired in 2005. Obear’s service led to a rise in national rankings, a significant increase in the UC Foundation endowment and the establishment of several new undergraduate and graduate programs, the president noted.
Contact: Karen Collins (865-974-5186 or 865-216-6862)