Faculty, Staff, and Students,
President Boyd shared with us his enthusiasm for Governor Lee’s higher education budget proposal. He outlined that the proposal, when enacted by the legislature, will be the best ever for the University. When enacted, it will also be the best ever state budget for UTHSC.
UT and UTHSC, along with our Office of Government Relations and Advocacy, have worked throughout the year with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Governor’s Office, and the Tennessee General Assembly to call attention to our campus needs. We are very grateful our concerns are being addressed.
The current budget proposal contains several key items for UTHSC:
- Restores annual fund increases to fund UTHSC campus operational costs – an item in the budget that was removed five years ago. This includes the annual increased cost of maintaining our campus infrastructure of not only bricks and mortar, but the electronic backbone and the support services that keep our campus running.
- Funds the build-out of the top two floors of the Nash Building as state-of-the-art laboratory space for our research mission. This will complete our Historic Quadrangle renovation.
- Funds the renovations of the UTHSC Campus Police Building
- Provides essential maintenance funds for roof repairs and other core major building items on the UTHSC campus.
- Provides one-time funds for the Oak Ridge Institute, of which UTHSC is a member
- Proposes a 4% increase in the state (orange) portion of compensation. This goes a long way to restore the base salary support of our faculty and staff.
At the State of the University address last year, I described the UTHSC budget as being composed of three components – the state portion of appropriation and tuition, all source UTHSC grants and contracts (sponsored programs), and clinical revenue from our partner not for profit corporations – that together allowed our budget to be strong, but lean. That remains true. The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for higher education and it has had substantial effect on UTHSC. The pandemic created substantial increased operating costs for UTHSC to maintain safety and operation without increased revenue to offset these costs. This proposed budget, if enacted, is truly good news for UTHSC.
UTHSC is enthusiastic about the Governor’s budget proposal and we will work hard with the Tennessee General Assembly to see it enacted. Once it is written into law, I will communicate in detail about the UTHSC budget for the upcoming year.
Steve J Schwab, MD