Last month we welcomed another record freshman class to campus, increasing our total enrollment for a seventh straight year. Today we are educating more students than any time in the last two decades.
Expanding the opportunity for an education to reach as many students as we can is an important part of fulfilling our promise as a land-grant university. I also know we can’t do it without our faculty and graduate students.
As we grow enrollment, it is vital that we support the faculty and continue to improve the quality of our instruction. That means recruiting new faculty while retaining the talented instructors we already have. This is a multiyear process in which we’ve been engaged for a while, and I want to update you on these efforts.
- This year, we are adding 20 new faculty lines across the university. Last year, we added 27 new lines. We have set a goal of growing our faculty by 100 new lines over a five-year period, and this is the second year in that timeline. Whether we continue at this pace will largely depend on our gains in enrollment.
- We have invested in raising the starting salaries of lecturers on the lowest end of our pay scale. A total of 46 lecturers who have a terminal degree and a full-time appointment will receive a raise. I am committed to continuing to address the salaries of non-tenure-track faculty, who play a crucial role in educating our students.
- Likewise, graduate students are extremely important to the educational mission of our university. For the second year in a row, we are allocating funds to increase stipends for graduate teaching assistants. This year, we are committing $500,000 to the Graduate School to distribute to departments. The strategic distribution of these funds will make our stipends more competitive in high-impact areas. It’s important that we recognize the valuable work of our graduate students and continue to attract top applicants.
We often point to students as the heart of our university and the reason we do this work, and our faculty and graduate students are the lifeblood. Without you, our students would not have the same opportunities to grow and learn, and this university would not be what it is today.
Thank you for all you do.