UTA redefining image, Witt says
Charity donations, enrollment goals discussed at administrative meeting
by Susan Mooring
and Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff
The university is redefining its image as a state institution through successful initiatives that the UT System will want to support, University President Robert Witt said Tuesday afternoon at an Administrative Council meeting.
"People very much like to be associated with success and like to be associated with quality," Dr. Witt said.
Initiatives, such as efforts to boost enrollment, support local charities and plans for future infrastructure development, were discussed at the meeting comprising administrators and departmental heads. The meeting is held once a semester to update key administrators on departmental and campus initiatives.
Witt said Vice Provost Dana Dunn was instrumental in this semester's enrollment increase.
Dr. Dunn said she thinks this fall's increases in semester credit hours, minorities and traditional-age students and the success of distance education will help enrollment in future semesters.
She said that the university has reached its goal of having more than 19,000 students enrolled. Now, she said, it's time to set a higher goal, perhaps to surpass 20,000 mark by fall 2000.
Shawn Dumond, Human Resources training specialist, reported that this year's State Employee Charitable Campaign goal is set at $150,000. The campaign collects donations from faculty, staff and administrators that are distributed to statewide and local charities. With more than 4,000 employees here, Dumond said the university has the potential to exceed that goal.
Last year, about 500 employees here contributed $47,585. Witt said he hopes more employees give this year.
"I'd be the first to say that the dollars that go to the SECC are important," he said. "But from my personal perspective, there is a number or perhaps a ratio that is even more important to me - and that is the percentage of the campus that contributes."
Y2K compliancy was also discussed.
The university leads the UT components in making computer systems 2000-compliant, Witt said.
With fewer than 100 days until Jan. 1, 2000, almost all of the university's computer systems are compliant, said Chauncey Jackson, Year 2000 project coordinator.
He said a Business Contingency Committee was formed this month to devise a back up plan in the event that Y2K problems disrupt service from the 11 identified business units critical to the university, such as payroll.
He also announced that an on-site rapid response team would test the university's systems for problems during the Dec. 31, 1999 to Jan. 3, 2000 crossover period. The university will report the condition of its systems to UT Austin during the cross-over period.
Two hundred copies of the Campus Master Plan and Planning Guide 1999-2020 will be released in about two weeks, said Dan Williams, senior vice president for finance and administration. The 124-page report contains information on infrastructure additions and renovations planned for the campus during the next 20 years.
"The real key in the first 10 years is a new library and learning resources center," Williams said. The new library is expected to cost $66 million. Williams said funding for the library is still being planned.
Copies of the master plan will be distributed to academic heads and will also be on reserve in the library next month.
Williams and Witt say they plan to educate the community on Proposition 17, a Texas Constitutional Amendment relating to the investment of the Permanent University Fund, from which the university receives funds. Proposition 17 will be brought before voters this November. Witt said community members will receive information, which has been approved by the university's legal counsel, about the proposition.
PUF bonds are used to fund infrastructure development, such as projects designated in
the campus master plan, he said.
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