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Budget cuts and the reorganization of higher education in Tennessee.

Toby Boulet, who became UT Knoxville Faculty Senate president on July 1, said those two issues will be his priorities for the coming year.

Significant budget cuts may be needed in two years when federal stimulus money is exhausted, Boulet said.

“Although the campus administration and the leadership of the Faculty Senate have already begun to address this issue, there is much work to be done in balancing the various options we have, such as raising more revenue, downsizing, etc.,” he said. “The entire campus will be affected by the decisions made over the next two years. Bringing this discussion to the faculty, understanding their concerns and articulating those concerns to the administration are among the most important tasks that I can pursue in the coming year.”

As for the possible reorganization of higher education, Boulet said UT has an important place at the discussion table.

“Gov. Bredesen seems eager to improve both the efficiency and the effectiveness of the somewhat byzantine administrative structure that we now have for higher education,” he said. “Through our representation in the recently formed Tennessee University Faculty Senates (TUFS) and in the joint UT/TBR Task Force on Higher Education, UTK is in good position to have our voice heard in this process.”

Boulet notes that John Nolt, immediate past president of the Faculty Senate, is the president of TUFS and represents the faculty of the entire UT system on the joint commission.

“I expect that the Faculty Senate, and the campus as a whole, will be watching with great interest to see what changes may occur,” Boulet said.

On the UT Knoxville faculty since 1985, Boulet is an associate professor in the mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering (MABE) department. He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Since 1996, he has served three terms on the Faculty Senate. He has served on the Budget Committee, the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Faculty Appeals Committee and the Executive Council.