April 23, 2021: President Miller has released an update to the campus community.
We made it to the end of the Spring semester! I am so proud of our graduates, students, faculty and staff for getting us to this point! I am looking forward to this weekend’s in-person degree conferral ceremonies. It will be awesome to see the faces of our 2021 graduates as they cross the stage in Rent Auditorium! Thanks in advance to the countless volunteers who are assisting us with carrying out these ceremonies in a safe, physically distanced manner.
The campus is busy preparing for the future. Our Strategic Planning Committee has been busy the last couple of months developing the goals for the next 5 years. Campus-wide virtual listening sessions are scheduled for next week to get input on the further development of these goals and objectives. Our budget for FY 22 will be built using these goals as our budget priorities.
The Legislature appropriated the universities a 4.3% increase over our current year plus $534,143 in capital appropriations. We intend to use the 1% salary pool provided by the appropriations, along with funds generated by the 3.1% tuition increase, for faculty and staff salaries and fringe benefits. Next month we should receive the results of the staff compensation study, and will use that as a guide for determining staff raises. More information on how raises will be determined will be shared when budget requests have been analyzed to determine the available pool for faculty and staff raises. Budget forms and instructions will be sent to budget unit managers in the very near future. Summary budget information for the next year will be due to IHL in the beginning of June, so May will be a busy month for budgeting. Budgets will be on the agenda for approval at the June 17th IHL Board meeting.
Our Campus Renewal Taskforce will meet April 30 and will continue to monitor the guidelines established by the CDC and the Mississippi State Department of Health in determining our protocols going forward. We are excited about having more face-to-face classes and activities and to have more students living on campus. Decisions will be made with the health and safety of our campus community and providing the best academic experience for our students as our priorities. In addition to physical health, we are also concerned with the emotional and mental well-being of our campus community. For that, we need to have more opportunities for interaction and for active engagement.
The more people we have who are vaccinated – the closer we can get to a “normal” level of operations. If you have concerns about getting the vaccine, please share those concerns with a trusted health care provider, and heed their advice. To make things even easier for those locally, the Mississippi State Department of Health will be providing vaccinations on-site in Pohl Gymnasium in the months of May and June. The MSDH COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduler (covidvaccine.umc.edu) will be updated to include that site.
Faculty and staff – thank you for helping our students – and now graduates – to succeed. Thank you for doing your part to keep us moving forward. Students – and future students – keep up with information about summer and fall classes and operations. Congratulations to our graduates – the newest addition to our Long Blue Line. Have a great and safe Summer!
Nora R. Miller