After recognizing the service of Interim Provost Arol Augsburger, who is leaving UAB to assume the presidency of Illinois College of Optometry, the Senate was addressed by UAB’s new president, Dr. Carol Garrison. Dr. Garrison said that over the next few weeks she will be meeting with many people in the university and the community. She reiterated the need to work on the issue of faculty salaries. Achieving this goal will require both identifying new revenues and looking carefully at how we spend money. While indicating that she can make hard decisions on these matters when required, Dr. Garrison said that she will be seeking a lot of input. Other topics mentioned by Dr. Garrison are: generating resources for new facilities, looking at academic programs, and looking at the student mix. There is, Dr. Garrison said, considerable support for UAB in the community, and this can be built upon both for academic programs and for athletics. Dr. Garrison concluded by saying that she wants to get to know people in the senate and that she has an open door policy.
Questions and comments concerned health benefits, including cost increases, the elimination of United Health, the priorities of VIVA, the Triton/VIVA relationship, and services at Kirklin. Dr. Garrison remarked that health care costs are almost a national crisis and that many things are being tried in order to reduce costs. She emphasized that her perspective on these matters is always to do the best for UAB faculty and staff.
Athletic Director and football coach Watson Brown spoke primarily about funding issues, acknowledging that the subsidy from UAB to the athletic programs is too high. It has now been reduced somewhat, but by reducing expenses (UAB’s are the lowest in C-USA), not by finding additional revenues (though an announcement regarding new revenues is expected shortly). There is also a problem with athletic facilities that must be dealt with. Despite problems, UAB’s teams have done very well in competition, and UAB’s football team had the second highest graduation rate in the country last year. In response to questions Coach Brown said that special attention will be given to increasing ticket sales in basketball, where UAB has the best opportunity to generate revenues, and that UAB would like to play Alabama and Auburn in football.
In other business the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution, prepared by Jeff Engler (Biochemistry) and Marie Weaver (Art and Art History), supporting constitutional reform in the state. Dr. Mark Hickson (Communication Studies; past president) gave a presentation on an approach to annual faculty evaluations and the determination of merit increases. Dr. Charles Falany (Pharmacology) introduced the “Report from the Graduate Student Stipend Task Force,” which documents the need for funding streams that will enable UAB to be competitive in attracting the best graduate students to our programs. Dr. Pat Greenup (Health Related Professions) reported that the Faculty Affairs Committee will have its proposed revisions of the Faculty Handbook dealing with faculty appointments, promotions, tenure, resignation, termination, and grievances, ready for the October Senate meeting. She also reported on a draft policy regarding the re-employment of UAB retirees.
For a more complete report see the Senate website: www.uab.edu/fsenate/home.html