Message from Interim President Martin
Dear Colleagues and Friends of the U of M:
When I assumed the interim presidency of the University of Memphis, I promised to focus upon a few significant priorities around the themes of growth and connection. I outlined our goals in August of 2013 and pledged that this interim period would not be one of inaction or lost momentum. With about a month to go in my tenure, I am pleased to report that the University of Memphis is indeed poised for significant growth and enhanced connection.
We will reverse a multi-year decline in enrollment at the U of M in the Fall of 2014. At this writing, applications for admission are up by more than 70% and represent, by a wide margin, the highest number of applicants in the history of the University of Memphis. Internal forecasts suggest a significant double-digit increase in freshman enrollment and transfer students, which, combined with strong student retention initiatives, should generate significant growth in enrollment, while maintaining high entrance standards.
As with student recruitment, the commitment of our faculty and staff to student success is generating outstanding growth. We expect to graduate 12% more students in May of 2014 than we did in May of 2013. With this student-centered focus and transparent accountability, I am comfortable the University of Memphis will exceed the national average of college completion rates by 2020.
Consistent with the focus on growth, financial resources are being strategically allocated and efficiencies realized. A multi-year structural budget deficit has been eliminated, and tuition will not increase in 2014-15 for the first time in 22 years.
The Student Services team has developed best-of-class service standards to better connect with our students in the areas of Admissions, Enrollment, Bursar, Financial Aid, Student Advising, and Student Housing. They have improved processes, regularly measure performance, and are creating a culture of service quality in these critical student-facing support areas.
To ensure the resources of the University are appropriately aligned with the needs of major employers in our core geographic market, we have built strategic partnerships focused on increased opportunities for student internships and employment, faculty research, and academic programming. This connection will help better meet the needs of the major enterprises in this region.
New capital investment will enhance our quality and our growth. We have received the largest gift to Athletics in the history of the University and will use it and other resources generated by a successful campaign to significantly enhance the Park Avenue campus and student athlete support facilities. And the U of M Student Government Association has voted to assess student fees to fund the construction of a new student recreation center and a pedestrian bridge across the Southern Avenue railroad tracks, confronting a physical access issue that has plagued the University of Memphis for decades.
The hard work of so many has laid a great foundation for the next phase of the University of Memphis. The trajectory is exciting, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work during this time with the U of M team and its friends.
R. Brad MartinInterim President