given to the University Senate on January 28, 2008
submitted by President Leland
President Leland informed senators that the final Stakeholder’s Conference for the Strategic Focusing Initiative has been scheduled for March 21, 8:30-1:30. Options for implementing proposed “pillars of distinction” for the undergraduate learning experience at Georgia College will be presented for input and feedback. All senators were invited to attend.
The president also informed senators that the Faculty Affairs Committee endorsed the faculty compensation plan and that consequently implementation of that plan began in January.
President Leland reviewed matters of interest in the current session of the Georgia General Assembly. She noted that the Governor’s budget recommendation includes full-funding for the University System of Georgia formula—and that is good news. However, additional funding for the University System of Georgia STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives was not included in the Governor’s budget recommendation. The president stated that Georgia College would continue to pursue its STEM plan nonetheless. This plan, jointly produced by faculty in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Education, is central to the mission of the university.
President Leland also reported that the Governor’s budget recommendation included a 2.5% merit increase for state employees.
President Leland encouraged senators to remain informed about pending legislation that could impact the university. She noted in particular that concerns about intellectual diversity had resurfaced and stated that this has not emerged as an issue at Georgia College. The president also discussed efforts to overturn a state law banning guns on college campuses and ORP (Optional Retirement Plan) reform. She stated that she expected some of these issues to produce vigorous debate on and off campus.
The president updated senators on progress with respect to the Campus Theatre and stated that authorization to purchase the property and approval of the design-build team would be on the February Board of Regent’s agenda. The Campus Theatre project will provide a new performing space for the university and also support a retail bookstore and office space for Department of Theatre faculty.
President Leland also updated senators on several University System of Georgia presidential projects and taskforces. She noted that President Zaccari, who was responsible for the advising taskforce, had announced his retirement and that new leadership for this initiative would be identified by Chancellor Davis. She also reported that President Adams had presented a very comprehensive report on strategies for reducing energy costs during the January meeting of the Board of Regents. She noted that there was some possibility that the University System would provide “loans” to campuses to support actions needed to reduce energy consumption which would then be repaid through cost savings.
Finally, the president updated senators on the University System of Georgia Core Curriculum Initiative, which she is leading. She reported that in early February she would facilitate a two-day working retreat with faculty committees involved with this project. The goal of the retreat is to produce some preliminary conceptual models for the USG Core Curriculum Framework. Following this retreat, these preliminary models will be made available to faculty across the University System of Georgia for review and feedback.
President Leland reminded senators that information about the USG Core Curriculum Initiative is available on the USG homepage under the “Spotlight” section. The link is “Strong Foundations for a Global Future” (http://www.strongfoundations.usg.edu/).