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President’s Letter
Spring 2009

Dr. Mabry
President Rodney Mabry (right) with Dr.Howard Patterson, vice president for student affairs, inside the new addition to the University Center.

We sometimes face various challenges in higher education – funding, curriculum and facilities. A downturn in the economy isn’t usually an overall challenge for us because, as the saying goes, “when the economy is down, enrollment is up.”

That’s true unless the economy touches all aspects of our institution, including enrollment.

Even though we still have the most affordable tuition in the region, other factors hinder students from proving that old saying to be true. Enrollment is even with last year because students haven’t been able to afford the fuel costs along with tuition and housing. As a result, we did not get full revenue for which we’d budgeted expenditures.

UT Tyler also faces other budget cuts from the state, our major source of funding. The state must address the damage to Galveston and elsewhere from Hurricane Ike, and the cost of that damage exceeds the surplus money in the Texas budget.

Finally, our investment portfolio is down in value – as is everyone else’s. We depend on those revenues for scholarship dollars and faculty salary money. We also rely heavily on the income dollars, which are down hundreds of thousands, we get from the intermediate term fund at the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO).

While UT Tyler is in good shape with our reserves, we’re dealing with this in a proactive and positive manner by utilizing contingency plans for cutting back, yet still offering the very best in teaching, facilities and academic opportunities.

Together we – administration, deans and faculty – are re-examining current and future expenditures to generate improved spending guidelines and priorities.

UT Tyler’s teaching and research functions—our core functions—will always be our priority, along with taking care of our University family.

The silver lining here is that we get to use these challenges as incentives to become an even stronger institution. This is an opportunity to reflect on our processes and activities and learn how to do the important things more efficiently—and get our resources allocated more effectively.

We’ll weather this storm, and the sun will shine again.

Rod Mabry

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